Dixie Peach: April 2006

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Sunday, April 30, 2006


Taken from Kara. I mean it. Put visiting her blog on your "to do" list.

Comment and I shall give you a letter. Go back to your site, and write ten words beginning with that letter, including an explanation what the word means to you and why.

Kara has bestowed upon me the letter S.

1. Shit - and its German brother, Scheisse. As is Heisse Scheisse. As much as I try to shun this word, it's a favorite. Fits so many situations and it has the advantage of being able to be said in a variety of ways.

2. Soccer - Likely I should call it football or Fussball but I can't seem to get the habit so my favorite sport to watch will continue to be called soccer by me. I love baseball and have since I was a child but it's nearly impossible for me to follow over here and so I adopted soccer as my substitute sport. Now I watch it more often than I ever did baseball and I believe I understand it more fully than I ever did baseball.

3. Sleep - I'd like to try getting more than 5 or 6 hours a night but I just can't stop living on US central time. The upside is I never get jet lag when I travel back home.

4. Satellite - Bless the people who developed them. They're what allows me to call Mississippi for less than 2 cents a minute.

5. Self - The older I get, the more I like her.

6. Siblings - I'm glad I can love and appreciate them more now that I'm an adult. Growing up I wanted to box them up and shove them out to sea.

7. Sugar - My crack. The monkey on my back. My worst addiction.

8. Symmetry - All of my ideas about what is beautiful begin with the symmetrical. I'm sure it has something to do with that "color within the lines" part of my personality.

9. Silk - Beautiful to wear, tricky for me to knit with.

10. Salsa - Chips' better half.

Let me know if you want to play too.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Danke, Claudio

Bayern-München wins the DFB cup for the 13th time.

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And that's why he's my boyfriend.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Friday Shuffle - Meme Edition

As seen on both Poppy and Kara's blogs.

By the way, if they're not on your daily blog reading list, they should be. Poppy takes the idea of mommy blogging and turns it on its head - there's nothing ordinary or dull about her life and if there is, she tells about it in a way that makes you think otherwise. Plus her daughter is not only adorable but a genius.

I think of Kara's blog as being the blogging version of the Mary Tyler Moore show. Clever, single working woman and her adventures in life. Her writing is witty and heartfelt and smart.

Put your music player on shuffle.
Press forward for each question.
Use the song title as the answer to the question even if it doesn't make sense.

1. How am I feeling today? Never My Love - The Association
2. Will I get far in life? Where You Lead - Carole King
3. How do my friends see me? Loving You - The Mavericks
4. Where will I get married? Needles and Pins - The Searchers
5. What is my best friend? Rad Gumbo - Little Feat
6. What is the story of my life? Take A Chance On Me - ABBA
7. What was high school like? Killer Queen - Queen
8. How can I get ahead in life? Angels - BoDeans
9. What is the best thing about me? You'll Never Know - Bette Midler
10. What is today going to be like? All Over You - Live
11. What is in store for this weekend? I'll Follow The Sun - The Beatles
12. What song describes my parents? Kiss - Dean Martin
13. To describe my grandparents? Seven Turns - Allman Brothers Band
14. How is my life going? Would You Believe? - The Mavericks
15. What song will they play at my funeral? I Believe - Diamond Rio I got chills when that song shuffled up for this question.
16. How does the world see me? Serenade in Blue - Glenn Miller Orchestra
17. Will I have a happy life? Get Dancin' - Disco Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes Does it get happier than that?
18. What do my friends really think of me? Porcelain - Better Than Ezra
19. Do people secretly lust after me? Words Of Love - The Beatles *sigh*
20. How can I make myself happy? Deutschland - Die Prinzen Looks like I'm living here for the long haul.
21. What should I do with my life? A Little Less Conversation - Elvis Presley
22. Will I ever have children? Die Letzte Version - Herbert Grönemeyer Fitting. It translates to "The Last Version".
23. What is some good advice for me? Knoxville Girl - The Lemonheads I assume the advice is not to walk along the river with a homicidal sociopath.
24. How will I be remembered? Woman - John Lennon
25. What is my signature dancing song? Tuxedo Junction - Glenn Miller Orchestra Wheeee! Yes!
26. What is my current theme song? American Idiot - Green Day
27. What does everyone else thing my current theme song is? Daysleeper - REM

Rock out on the weekend, folks.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Par for the course

Spring has taken its merry time coming to Germany and I'm well behind schedule planting my flower boxes. As my balcony faces east I plant geraniums because they always hold up under the strong morning sun.

The balcony rail for my new apartment is much different than for the previous one so I need a different way to secure the boxes. The flooring is also different - metal instead of cement - so I want to get a piece of indoor/outdoor carpet to cover it and make it a little nicer looking.

I made myself a list of what I need:

~ New flower boxes in a shorter length so I can fit three along the rail. I'll put the two I already have on a table I use on the balcony.

~ A hook system to secure the flower boxes to the balcony rail.

~ Potting soil.

~ Geraniums. Lots.

~ Carpet to fit balcony floor.

~ Trowel. My other seems to be hanging out with my camera's battery charger.

I wasn't quite sure of how wide the balcony floor is so I went out with a metal tape measure to find out.

B: Be careful. Don't cut yourself on that tape measure.

Me: I know. I've done that before. Hurts way worse than any papercut.

I have a rolled up awning on the floor of the balcony that runs nearly its whole length so I had to go to the very edge to find an empty spot to measure. I pulled out the tape measure, hooked its little edge over the back side of the balcony floor and proceeded to run it along the floor and get the measurement. 1.43 meters. I began to roll the measure back to where I had it hooked and it wouldn't unhook from the balcony floor. I shook it. It wouldn't budge. I shook it harder. No luck. I remembered B's admonishment to not let the tape measure cut my fingers so I let it go with the intention of letting it roll itself up and then I'd maneuver around the table and rolled up awning and pick it up.

It worked just fine. I let the measure go, it rolled up and when it reached the end it unhooked, flipped up high and then off the open side edge of the balcony. I could hear it bang against the side of the building and then land with a thud. Land in the area between my apartment building and the shops in front of the apartments. The area where I have no access.


Back inside to add "metal tape measure" to the shopping list.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

That train ticket

That ticket I've been keeping secret was used today. If you read the blogs from Christina or Ginnie then you know I was able to use that train ticket to go to Hannover to meet them both!

And if you don't read their blogs, then you're missing out on good stuff.

You know it has to be something big to get me up at 6:30am. I acknowledge only one 6:30 per day and that's not the one. Still after a night of little sleep I was up and on the train heading west. No camera in hand but still armed with a lot of excitement to meet two ladies I admire a great deal.

Ginnie was right there on the train platform to meet me. Not just waiting on the platform but her incredible intuition had her standing right there at the proper place so that when I stepped off the train she was right in front of me. And from that first hug the chatting started and it never let up again.

Let me pause here and say that if you're ever at the Hannover Hauptbahnhof and need to use the rest room, be sure to have 1,10€. Not quite as bad as Harrods' "pound a pee" but close.

A trip by bus took us to Christina's town and there she was faithfully there to meet us at the bus stop and to deliver more hugs. Now there were three voices to this never ending stream of chatter and it only got more enjoyable from there.

We walked the long route back to Christina's home, pausing from time to time to admire the gardens of her neighbors and to look at the other sights in her town. It's much hillier than were I live so it was nice to have such a good walk after being hemmed up in a train and then a bus for two hours.

All of us had treats to share with one another and the photos and conversation and the building of Kinder Egg toys only added to the enjoyment. We ended up giving all the toys to Ginnie because Christina and I can feed out need for Kinder Eggs any time we please.

Our gracious hostess treated us to a terrific lunch and those familiar with Christina's blog know that she enjoys cooking and likes to show photos of the various dishes she creates. I can now personally say that what she cooks tastes as good as it looks.

The rest of the time was spent in conversation that didn't let up for a moment. It was so easy to talk to both Ginnie and Christina and it felt as if I did it every day. Christina has a lovely, comfortable home and she made us feel so welcome.

And her two boys are terrific. Handsome, friendly, nice fellas. A wonderful reflection of their mum.

More conversation, more laughter, more getting to know each other better and then it was time to head back to the bus stop for the ride back to the train station. It was unbelievable how fast the afternoon passed.

Hugs were given with promises to meet up again soon. On the ride back to the train station Ginnie and I never let up on the conversation and then too soon it was time for me to board the train for home.

I don't often get the chance to get away from home. My primary responsibility and what I love best it taking care of B so it's hard for me to have a day off. When I do, I like to make sure it's something really special and this day lived up to my expectations. Christina and Ginnie were so gracious and generous and absolutely fun to be around. The kindness and positive outlook they project in their blogs is no facade - they're the real deal and I feel very lucky to have spent such a happy day with them.

Too bad my camera had to miss out on it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Unlucky stars

Remember a couple weeks back when I said I bought a train ticket? I'm going to use it tomorrow. I'll tell you later where I went.

Remember when I said that I can't for the life of me find the battery charger for my digital camera? I still can't find it. And I can't find my other digital camera either, likely because it's keeping my battery charger company.

Remember when I said that B ordered a new battery charger for the camera? That was two weeks ago and it's still not here.

Now what I want to know is who in the cosmos I've pissed off to have all these events coincide.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The design says it all

Expat Traveler loves pictures and really loves pictures of the places we live so I'm obliging her today. I will also ask that she pray that my new recharger for my camera arrives tomorrow because I've squeezed out the last bit of power I had in the last battery pack.

What had me out on a cloudy, cool Sunday afternoon was the chance to see the World Cup trophy in person. It's currently on tour and today it was at the Magdeburger Domplatz along with games and exhibitions by sponsors of the Cup. I wanted B to come with me but I couldn't find a soul to help me get him into his wheelchair.

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My token photo of the Magdeburger Dom. I must have over a hundred photos of this cathedral. I take one every time I'm near it and my camera is with me.

Before you see the trophy you get to see an eight minute 3D film depicting the "creation" of the trophy and then footage of previous World Cups - the ones since this particular trophy has been in use. The music was loud and thrilling and the film did just what it set out to do - get you hepped up for the tourament to begin. Afterwards you come out, line up, stand on an X with your hands down, get your photo snapped and you're on your way. No time to study the trophy and they don't let you very near it anyway.

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I look ten years older in the photo than I am but the trophy is pretty!

The crowds were less than I had expected but the kids were having fun.

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Goaleo the mascot was there but I got the hell out of there before I had to listen to Love Generation one more time.

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On the way home I took a few photos of the Grüne Zitadelle designed by Hundertwasser. I have a love/hate thing with this building. While I can appreciate it's unique design, I don't care for where it's located.

From the outside:

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From one of the courtyards:

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Also in one of the courtyards:

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Everything is sloping and round and uneven. B and I considered briefly moving there last fall but the design would have made me crazy. I do like, however, how the shops in the courtyards are open. I'm not sure how they get around the "Got to be closed on Sunday" law but maybe it's because this place is a hotel as well as an apartment building.

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A photo of Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen snapped just as I was about to jump on a streetcar. It's the oldest building in Magdeburg and another building of which I have dozens of photos.

All worth a dead camera battery.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Friday Shuffle - Quiz Edition

You ask the questions, I answer them.

Barefoot - I think next weekend I can swing a phone date. This weekend I may be a little tied up. Time difference stinks, doesn't it?

Expat Trav - This is how I ended up in Germany. Love'll do that to you. I won't go on vacation this year unless we happen to head to Australia for Christmas but my family will be here in five weeks and that'll be my vacation. Good time for me to take pictures of Magdeburg! You can see some other photos I've taken of Magdeburg here.

Lisa - You asked for a picture so here it is. Sorry it's not a better one but I'm not very good at taking photos of myself.

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Mr. Fab - I don't want to get rid of Wolfgang completely but I would like for him not to come over until he's invited - a rare enough event that I'd be effectively rid of him. But keep your associates on call, okay?

Trav One - What do I do when I'm feeling blue? Mostly talk to B. Or read. Or nap. I seldom listen to music when I'm blue - no answer for why that is.

Sari - Dix loves to haiku
But sudoku bores her much
It's all those numbers

My eye stays open
Ten to fourteen days is long
Thank God for Visene

cncz - People from Corinth are weird? I thought it was the rest of the state that was weird! Actually I think it may be just all those folks from Tennessee coming over the border.

Eric - You and the Barefooted One better come visit soon!

Mollie - This is hands down without a question the funniest thing that's ever happened to me at work. It's not the funniest thing that's happened to me ever (Susan...if you're lurking you know what that is!) but it's probably second and the number one the funniest thing that happened to me at work.

Okay folks, time to shuffle! Turn on that music maker, set it to shuffle, tell me the first ten it comes up with.
  1. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? - Chicago
  2. I Want To Know - The Mavericks
  3. When Will I Be Loved? - Everly Brothers
  4. Do You Want To Know A Secret? - The Beatles
  5. Where Did Our Love Go? - The Supremes
  6. Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow? - Rolling Stones
  7. What Can I Do? - The Corrs
  8. Who Are You? - The Who
  9. What New, Pussycat? - Tom Jones
  10. Why Does It Always Rain On Me? - Travis
Okay. That was a cheater's shuffle. But it fit the theme of the day. Bixente the iPod is amazing but he's not the miracle shuffler.

Question: What will I say next?

Answer: Have a great weekend, folks!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Thursday Lipstick Blogging

I've confessed before that I love lipstick and must at least scan over every lipstick display I see even if I don't buy anything or even have an intention of buying anything.

Traveller One asked to see my lipstick collection and as I have a camera battery still holding a charge (it was a new one I'd never unwrapped) I am happy to oblige.

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That's my current collection of lipstick I actually use on a regular basis - there are a few others that I seldom use. I used to have much more but when I moved last November I threw out every lipstick that was close to being empty, was ancient or was a color I'd never wear. I was brutal in my lipstick culling and this is what survived the cut.

Notice anything about them? That's correct! Give yourself a prize! They're all basically the same color. By golly when I find something I like, I stick with it! While they're all in the mauve/plum/brownish pink family, they're not all alike. Oh nooooo. Some are quite sheer. Some are opaque. Some have a strong matte finish and some are a bit shiny and sparkly. Some are long lasting and some have to be reapplied about three minutes after the initial application. Some are as moisturing as a lip balm and some are like applying painted sand to your lips. Some smell like sweet flowers or fruit and some smell like an oil refinery. Every outfit, situation, and mood deserves its own lipstick and dammit I'm going to keep working until I have all those outfits, situations and moods covered.

This is more than you wanted to know about my lipstick, right? Mr. Fabulous is either weirdly fascinated right now or the eyes have rolled to the back of his head.

On to other matters...

~ I have an appreciation for those to travel by bicycle. I encourage it and I try to be a courteous automobile driver when I'm sharing the road with them. However if I cross paths again with the guy on his racing bike during rush hour on the streets of the city when the empty bicycle only lane is not more than three feet to his side, he's going to take a hurting from me his helmet won't help.

~ My darling friend, Mollie, gave me an gift certificate for my birthday (generous as ever!) and I'd delayed in using it because I just couldn't decide on what I wanted to order. I placed my order last night and settled on Big Girl Knits and the His Dark Materials Trilogy, the latter because some of y'all recommended it. Sparky, I'm trusting your good taste in books!

~ Hair has been freshly colored today. I love going to the hair salon. Not just because I walk out with my hair styled and my roots gone but it's the one place I can sit and read uniterrupted for forty-five minutes.

I'm answering questions tomorrow. Get 'em in today if you've got a yen to be nosy.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Do it 'cause you know you want to

I still got nothin', folks. It's a blogger's drought around here.

I did, however, notice that at some point in the past couple of weeks I passed the 500 posts mark. That little milestone passed me right by, keen observer that I am. At one time I'd considered that when I reached my 500th post I'd wax nostalgic about my blog and how I've enjoyed my blogging time and what it's meant to my life over the past twenty months and how I'm glad to have gotten to know so many other bloggers but I believe I've lost that opportunity. I suppose I'll have to wait for magic post 1,000 to get all retrospective on y'all.

Okay, okay...y'all don't do the sigh of relief all at once. All that wind will mess up my pretty, pretty hair.

How 'bout this - I'll make y'all an offer. I'll give y'all the opportunity to ask me questions about myself. If you've ever wanted to ask me anything about me and my life, leave me a question in the comments and I'll answer them on Friday.

And if you don't want to leave a question or just normally lurk, leave me a comment anyway and just say hello. C'mon. I need the sugar, folks, 'cause I ain't got nothing this week.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Because I take requests

Check me out! I got double tagged! Same meme, tagged by two different ladies - I call that a recipe for saving me from having nothing to blog about. Tell me I'm not loved!

Anyway my tagging saviours are Sally and Traveller One. Both wonderful ladies who have both lived in various places around the world - mostly places the average person couldn't find on a map if their lives depended on it.

Six obscure things about me. And believe me this isn't easy. After writing this and this, I'm starting to run out.
  1. Every single time I've ever eaten a Manwich, I've thrown up afterwards. I'd go years between Manwich eating, think the next time will be different and still have the same results.
  2. The first grown-up song I learned the words to is I'll Follow The Sun by The Beatles.
  3. I can snap my fingers really loud. Like gunshot loud.
  4. I wish I could raise at will only one eyebrow and I secretly envy those who can.
  5. When I was in Kindergarten the teacher told a group of boys not to build too high the tower they were making with oversized wooden blocks because it could topple over and hurt someone. Just then it toppled over and a block hit me on the head. It didn't even hurt very much but I made a big deal out of it to get extra attention. I was treated like a princess for the rest of the day.
  6. I like the Dutch royal family better than the English royal family and believe Queen Beatrix could take Queen Elizabeth in a cage match.
No tagging from me but do feel free to steal if you need a meme to get you through an uneventful day. Will tag Brandi though if only to reinforce the idea that she cannot escape the reach of my meme tags. And because she's way cool and groovy.

Move along, folks...move along...

I got nothin' peeps. No new events. No stellar insights. No amusing anecdotes. No deep musings. Not even a wacky visitor.

The high point of the day was when my rental company manager called to say she was faxing a service request to the company that replaced the windows when our apartment building was renovated and they should be calling in the next week or two to arrange to come out and see the broken window.

Woooohoooo! I was so stoked after that bout of excitement I had to have a drink and lay down afterwards for a nap.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


In my home the crappy stuff seems to happen on holidays.

Once when it was Pfingsten (Pentecost to you non-German speaking folks...Pentecost is a two day holiday here) B was horribly ill with pneumonia and a fairly high fever. Luckily our doctor adores B and she made a housecall on Pfingsten Sunday afternoon when she had a house full of guests waiting on her.

There is the Good Friday broken window.

Today for Easter my disaster was named Wolfgang. For newer readers, Wolfgang is a buddy of B's. He broke up with his wife a couple years ago and we went from seeing him four or five times a year to four or five times a week because he decided to move into our apartment building on the floor above ours. Leaving him behind when we moved to our new apartment caused me to shed no tears. He's not really a bad guy but he tends to annoy me no end. He believes that if I'm unfamiliar with a word in German, repeating the word to me at a shout will give me instant understanding. He'll tell me to speak German if I say two words to B in English which has caused me to say to him on more than once occasion "Fella, when you start paying the rent around here you can tell me what language to speak. Don't tell me what to do in my home.". He has BO on occasion - something I can barely tolerate. He likes to tease me. He creeped out my friend Mollie within five minutes of meeting him. He drops in without warning. He calls our apartment and says to know, the homebound quadriplegic..."Hey, are you home?". And when he kisses me hello or goodbye his lips are just a leeeetle too open for my comfort.

So when Wolfgang called Saturday afternoon and invited himself over for coffee and cake on Easter Sunday afternoon, I didn't take it well. As a matter of fact as it turns out the snapping and disagreeable talk between B and I on Friday turned out to be mere warm-up to what I let loose with when B hung up the phone.

There was a time when I would sit in silence when we had guests in our home because I couldn't understand what anyone was saying. Today I sat in relative silence because if I'd bothered to listen to Wolfgang's blatherings my brain would have dripped out of my head and onto my lap. It turns out that the good stuff was saved for when I took the dog out for a walk and I left B and Wolfgang alone. That's when then manly man talk cranked up. That's when Wolfgang told B that he took some new woman that he met a few weeks ago to a Pink Floyd tribute laser show that lasted for three hours and then they went back to his apartment where they listened to Pink Floyd CDs for another three hours before retiring to his bedroom for...and B swears he used these words..."sexual gymnastics". I was told all this when Wolfgang went home.

I don't know what repulses me more. A grown man saying "sexual gymnastics" or the idea of people listening to Pink Floyd for six straight hours without the benefit of any doobie, Cap'n Crunch or Doritos.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Friday Shuffle - Bad Vibes Edition

You can start the day with all good intentions and have it hit the ground in flames before you even get going good.

Mine started when I raised the window shades in the livingroom. I was anticipating glorious sunshine streaming in but what greeted my eyes first were the two huge cracks running through my plate glass window.


The window is pretty big - about a meter across and a little over two meters long. On the right side of the window approximately in the middle right where the window meets the rubber seal the cracks begin - two cracks starting from the same point. Long, swooping cracks. One goes across and then curves down and the other dips lower and then curves across, threatening to meet up with the other crack. There wasn't an impact anywhere - it's just some sort of stress break. B said he heard something while he was sleeping - a sort of loud pop - but he figured someone dropped something on the floor above us.

Of course this has happened on a holiday. Tomorrow isn't a holiday but our building super doesn't work on the weekend and then Monday is a holiday as well. I'm hoping the window will stay intact until then. It's double pane glass and the cracked on is the inner pane so should it break further and fall apart I still have a pane of glass between us and the cold spring wind. It's likely going to be drawn out repair job though. Since it's double pane glass with a vacuum seal inbetween they can't just replace the single pane of glass and the whole thing - frame, glass, seal - will have to be replaced.

The day didn't improve from there. Something about that broken glass has let some funk in here because the rest of the day saw B and I snapping at each other and misunderstanding the meaning of everything the other said. By the time I had to leave to go to my MILs for her second birthday party - this one for her cousins and her brother and his wife to attend - I was ready to stuff B into a sack and hang him on a hook somewhere.

I got home from the birthday party to find that my downstairs neighbor was doing his karaoke thing again. I don't know if it's actual karaoke but he sings quiet loudly and he does it for hours. It's not that it's loud because compared to the hellish neighbors at my old apartment he's a silent movie. It's the fact that this guy can't sing for toffee. Everything come out as a horrible, tuneless warble and it works one's nerves to no end.

The day is almost over. Kissing and making up has been done. Karaoke has ended. Window hasn't fallen out of the frame yet. It's time to switch on Bixente the iPod and see what he'll shuffle up for me. Make it good, Bixente...make it good.
  1. I Got Loaded - Los Lobos
  2. I Am A Rock - Simon & Garfunkel
  3. Magic Woman Touch - The Hollies
  4. Every Little Thing - The Beatles
  5. Mr. Brown - Glow
  6. You Belong To Me Now - Candy Butchers
  7. That Song - Big Wreck
  8. Little Sister - Dwight Yoakam
  9. Mensch - Herbert Grönemeyer
  10. Bargan - The Who
I love a reliable iPod.

Hope y'all have a weekend that positively oozes good vibes.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Stray things

The assorted happenings of the day...

~ Dear Kaufland. I can now declare you as my favorite grocery store. I dig Lidl a lot, even though I no longer live across the street from one, but you've got it all over them when it comes to customer service. It's the day before Good Friday. It's normally a hellish day for grocery shopping but you've learned to make the day easier for your customers. You opened at 6am. You kept the aisles as clear as possible while still trying to keep them as stocked as possible. You actually had baggers at the checkout stands. Baggers! Real humans who would bag your stuff for you or at least put it back in the cart if you didn't want it bagged. I didn't have to stand in line to check out any longer than I would have had to on a normal day. And you were giving plastic grocery sacks for free! I also have to say that your employees are very polite and friendly. Always helpful, always asking me if I found my shopping experience to be good. I didn't even get the cross eyed look when I once forgot to get a price tag for some bell peppers that I bought.

You don't have every brand I like but you're close enough that I seldom have to visit other grocery stores. You've got it all over Marktkauf and Real. They can bite me.

~ Cozy has been saved. My MIL is the best. I love her better than Kaufland.

~ Speaking of love and Kaufland, they had a photographer there today taking baby pictures. A common sight in W@lmart but I've never seen it in a German store. Anyway as I walked past there was a five or six month old baby having her (I think it was a her...she looked like a her) photo taken as she sat in a zinc tub. Sweet Lord, that baby was so gorgeous. The cutest, cutest baby I've seen in ages. That baby was so precious looking that people were running over each other as they stopped to get a look at her. That baby made my day.

~ I'm rather glad that people can't see me from the street when I'm in my kitchen. I suppose that since the curtains come only halfway down the window they could see if if they stood far enough back and looked at just the right angle but I still think I'm too far up for them to see in clearly and I don't think that people in other buildings can see in from their angle. I'm completely free to turn on Bixente the iPod and dance in my kitchen as I make supper.

The neighbors, however, are probably wondering what all the loud singing is about.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Music to my ears

This afternoon found me walking down the street to Karstadt to get another cord for one of our phones. Karstadt likely isn't the most economical place to purchase phone cords but I didn't feel like walking further down the block to Saturn. After my purchase I came out with the intention to walk across the street to the market square to go to the ATM machine and buy some grilled chicken from the chicken lady. She is not this chicken lady.

There's something about being one of the few Americans in Magdeburg. I can hear English, especially North American English from yards and yards away and such was the case as I stood in front of Karstadt making sure I had my wallet in my handbag. I could see an older man and woman walking along with a younger man who seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the bratwurst he was eating and the older man was fiddling with a camera and saying something to the woman. In English! At least at that moment it sounded like English.

I wasn't 100% sure because a couple streetcars happened to be passing at that moment so as they approached I circled back behind trying to hear them but also trying not to look like a nosy freak. They discussed the camera's batteries (their being dead is probably the fault of me not being able to locate my camera's battery charger) and I debated whether or not to speak to them. Surely they'd get a kick out of meeting another American, wouldn't they? I went ahead and made the assumption that they were American instead of Canadian. I'm presumptuous like that.

The younger man mentioned to them that batteries could be bought right there at Karstadt and I wanted to add "Yeah, up on the third floor - turn right when you get off the escalator!" but I kept hesitating. I'm just not good at approaching strangers for any reason. I kept facing the street, trying to steal glances now and then, still not making a move towards them. Finally they moved along towards the store's door and my chance was gone. Rats. What would have been so bad with approaching them and asking where they're from and what they're doing? Their type are so rare around here - I could go years before I found another American tourist on the street.

Wait! They didn't go in. They're walking this way!

So I did it. I smiled and walked up to them and said "Excuse me. Y'all wouldn't happen to be American, would you? I heard you speaking English.".

They smiled back and said they were and I must be too judging by my English. They told me they were from Minnesota (heh...guessed right that they were American) visiting their grandson, the bratwurst eating younger man who is studying at the university in Magdeburg on an exchange program with his university in the US. I told them that I just don't hear native English very often and when I heard them speaking it I really wanted to find out who would be here from America. Magdeburg isn't exactly a tourist magnet.

We talked a bit longer - I told them why I was in Germany and how I met my husband and they told me they were enjoying their visit to Magdeburg and found it to be a very nice town and then it was time to let them go on with their sightseeing. The grandmother gave me a hug (who knew I could be so charming so quickly?) and they were on their way and I went off in search of the chicken lady.

See? What passes for laziness in me not wanting to walk futher down the block to Saturn to save a few bucks on a phone cable turned out to be a fortuitous occasion. I spent more money but I got a grandma hug out of it and they get to tell their friends back home about the lady from Mississippi they met on a street in Magdeburg.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


All boxes have been unpacked. Camera charger not found. Head banged on wall. Repeatedly.

Husband has delivered mad face look. Husband ordered new camera charger. Have promised not to piss off husband again this week.

Cozy still bollocksed up. MIL has taken home to unknit in peace. Shall be brave if she has to give up and I need to frog it and start again.


I think most folks have something that speaks to their soul. That certain thing or things that they enjoy that they really get and that really gets them. It's the thing they seek out when they need cheering up or calming down or centering their self. For someone like Poppy, it's music. My friend, Candy, loves film in that way. My friend, Mollie, relates to art and photography. For me it's books. I love music and film and art and technology as well but books are the thing that I seek out when I need that thing to fill my soul. Books are my escape and my entertainment and I've always said that if I have something to read, I'll never be bored.

So it's natural that when Traveller One posted a meme about books, I had to swipe it. By the way, go check out her blog. She's a lovely lady, has lived all over, visted the rest and has great pictures to prove it.

Meme instructions: Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you've read, italicize the ones you might read, cross out the ones you won't, underline the ones on your book shelf, and place parentheses around (or strike through) the ones you've never even heard of. Extra commentary by me on select novels.

The DaVinci Code
- Dan Brown...Good but not great.
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger...I read this book every year at the holidays.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald...I started it once and just never finished it.
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee...One of my alltime favorite books. It gets an annual reread from me as well.
The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger...Recommended to me by a lot of friends and lived up to the recommendations.
(His Dark Materials) - Philip Pullman
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling...I heart HP.
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Animal Farm - George Orwell
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien...Great adventure!
(The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time) - Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies - William Golding...Junior high isn't complete without reading it.
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austin...I own it, now I should finally read it.
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling...I heart him very much.
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden...A fascinating story.
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold...A difficult read but wonderful.
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut...Classic craziness. I loved it.
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte...Read it so long ago that it would nearly be like a new book to me now.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis...Loved it as a kid, loved it again when I reread it as an adult.
(Middlesex) - Jeffrey Eugenides
(Cloud Atlas) - David Mitchell
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
(Atonement) - Ian McEwan
(The Shadow of the Wind) - Carlos Ruiz Safon
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway...Bored the shit out of me. I'd rather take a slapping than reread this crap.
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood...Started it, never finished it. Same with every other Margaret Atwood book I've ever picked up.
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert

No tagging but I'll extend an invitation to you literary types to steal it. Especially you, Katya. And you too, Sari. And Brandi, of course, because the law says I must always tag Brandi.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Spurred into action

I don't know if it's the longer daylight hours or the better sleep I've been getting (I've been plagued with nightmares for the past few days, the latest one was a sort of mix between The Amityville Horror and The Exorcist and I was jolted awake as I dreamed I was screaming "Fuck you, Satan!" over and over) but I've been much more motivated to get stuff done around here that I've been putting off for a painfully long time. Remember those eight boxes from my move that have remained unpacked? Three unpacked today - two were even boxes containing my teacup collection and the eleventy-thousand schnapps and cordial glasses we have and every one of them was wrapped up in a sheet of newspaper. I even got the old newspaper carted off. Tomorrow I have it planned to finish unpacking the rest of the boxes. Some friends of ours are moving at the end of the month and I offered to give them the boxes. I get rid of the cartons I didn't want to keep anyway and they get sturdy cartons to move with. My head is postively popping with the utter "win-win!" of it all.

Another good reason for me to finally get these last few boxes unpacked is the fact that I'm relatively sure the battery charger for my camera is located in one of them and currently all of my camera batteries are dead. How can I treat you to Thursday Kinder Egg Blogging if I don't have a functioning camera?

I approached B with the idea that there's a slight possibility that the battery charger is lost for good. Wow. He really didn't take that well. It seems that since it's a Canon camera the charger is one of those brand unique items and therefore costs a lot to buy separately. Yikes. Not what I wanted to hear. I am so going to get the mad face look from him if I can't find this charger.

As for other accomplishments of the day, I went to the train station this afternoon and bought a ticket. Not telling you where I'm headed though. Let the suspense tingle your toes for a while.

And since I was so driven by ambition today I wasn't going to be satisfied until I managed to royally screw up my Cozy wrap. When I screw up, I want to do it with flair! I've tried to be very careful and I try to remember to count the stitches after I finish every wrong side row but it didn't stop me from getting a stitch off somewhere. I found myself about to finish the seventh row of an eight row pattern and found that I had only 84 stitches on my needles instead of 85. A row that involves stitches passed over other stitches knitted together. Way to complicated for me to tackle in terms of unknitting the row so I turned it over to my MIL, the master knitter. My heroine in sensible shoes.

I was in the kitchen slicing and chopping meat and vegetables for tonight's dinner and in the livingroom I could hear the occasional "Scheisse!" out of her. It seems this row isn't so simple for her to unknit and after a half hour she declared that she'd start on it again tomorrow - she predicted it would take another hour to finish unknitting. I am going to owe her a flower shop worth of flowers when she gets done with it, even if it can't be saved and has to be unraveled.

Rats. I was hoping I could get it finished soon. I wanted to wear it on the train.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

(Im)possible Dream

This afternoon just after lunch B and I called his cousin, Wayne, in Australia. Wayne's the one who sent us our cheesy Austrailian souvenir package and we wanted to let him know we got it and thank him for sending it.

By the way, let me stop here for a moment and say that I don't quite understand a world where I can call Australia for less money per minute than I spend to call my MIL who lives so close to me I can actually see her apartment building from my balcony.

Anyway, my suspicions were correct. This package of goodies wasn't just to bring us cheer and give us a giggle but instead was a blatant bribe. Wayne and his wife, Robyn, were shopping, saw the souvenir shop and they got the idea that if they sent us an enticement - bait, if you will - then we'd come visit them.

They have no shame. Using a boxing kangaroo pen in an attempt to get us to board a plane and fly to the other end of the planet. No shame whatsoever.

I have to say though, it worked. Sort of, anyway. The desire to go to Australia is there. B went there with his parents in 1989 for nearly three months and they loved it. Had the time of their lives. They still talk about visiting Australia. The package of souvenirs only served to remind them of how much they loved Australia and to get them to retell their stories.

No, it's not lack of desire that keeps us from hopping on a plane. It's not even what to do with B once we're in Australia because they've done it before, I'd have way more help with B than is available to me now and these people don't give up. They believe nothing is impossible without trying first. No, what holds us back is the flight itself. Airplanes aren't especially accomodating to the handicapped and the more profound your injury is and the greater your physical limitations are, the more difficult it is. B doesn't take to flying very well - it's very hard on him physically. The last time he flew was in 1999 when we flew back from our visit to Mississippi and he ended up with a raging bladder infection from the catheter we used on him. He was horribly sick for weeks.

Still, the idea of going to Australia is something we have talked about ever since I moved here. Wayne, who honestly should be a motivational speaker, is convinced that what we need is just good planning. Other handicapped people travel - we just have to research how a person with the degree of disability B has can make this trip.

Can we do this? Can we really pull off getting B to Australia? Can we somehow work things out so that this trip doesn't kill him? It would be so worth it because I want to see Australia. I want to see all the things the cousins would show us. We'd be camping and sightseeing and shopping and touring and have every day filled with something to do. I could have a Foster's in a non touristy pub. I'd pick up saying "tea" instead of "supper". I'd get to find out how truly scary Vegemite tastes. I'd get to spend Christmas in capri pants and a cotton blouse, grilling in the back yard and watching the Christmas parade with its Santa in shorts. I'd get to groove with cool Australian people - the coolest being B's cousins who truly must be the friendliest people on earth.

So we'll look into it and see if we can make this dream a reality. Who knows? Maybe we'll be spending next Christmas in Adelaide. And if all fails maybe the package of German goodies I send will entice them to come visit us.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Friday Shuffle - Good and Bad Edition

I'll let you decide on which of these is good or bad.
  1. Because The Night - Patti Smith
  2. Badlands - Bruce Springsteen
  3. Fast Car - Tracy Chapman
  4. Push The Button - Sugababes
  5. Meds - Placebo
  6. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) - Marvin Gaye
  7. Mack The Knife - Bobby Darin
  8. Walking On Broken Glass - Annie Lennox
  9. Mercury Blues - Alan Jackson
  10. Strange & Beautiful (I'll Put A Spell On You) - Aqualung
I pronounce it all good. Even the Sugababes because that song makes me dance.

On with more good and bad...

~ Dear Klinsi. It's official. You are no longer one of my boyfriends. I may never get over this mad. Bring me back my key and the terrycloth bathrobe you stuffed into your gym bag. And tell that girl Oliver Bierhoff that I never liked him anyway.

~ It's a good thing I have no problem with wearing drugstore lipstick - you know from brands featured in drugstores the world over - as I am addicted to buying lipstick and can at least buy lipstick without going into debt. I can scarcely walk by a display of lipstick without checking it out and there's a fair chance I'll walk away with at least one tube, especially if it's something new. Hey, I need mauve/plum lipstick in as many brands and varities as I can get!

My new favorite? Maybelline Moisture Extreme. Nice colors, very smooth, doesn't make my lips dry. And it smells so good. I put on lipstick when I got into the car to go shopping and gave it a little farewell sniff before I put it back into my bag. I think our building superintendent saw me. And here I had him convinced that I was normal.

~ I don't know who invented Blend-A-Med Citrus Fresh toothpaste (which I'm sure is this in America) but that person may get to be my new boyfriend. Lemon-mint toothpaste. I think I'm in L-U-V!

~ Either I have a stomach bug that simply won't get the hint that I don't want it as my new boyfriend or my gallbladder is acting up. Again with too much time spent in the bathroom and you know throwing up isn't good for my brand new lipstick.

~ Our downstairs doorbell rang around 9:30pm and I was convinced it was B's friend and my personal headache, Wolfgang. I'd called Mollie last night and she'd asked me if he'd been around to bug us lately and I'd said no and as it typical with Mollie and me, if we discuss someone it's like summoning the devil. This afternoon as I was trying to take a nap and get the stomach cramps to subside long enough for me to give B a bath, Wolfgang called wanting to know where my MIL was - he'd called there and she didn't answer her phone. God forbid this adult woman leave her apartment, eh? At any rate, Wolfgang said "Oh I'm going to be downtown this afternoon - how 'bout I drop in on you two?". I gave the frantic "No! No!" wave and B said today was rather busy for us and a drop in visit wasn't convenient for us today. I have him well trained.

Anyway, when the doorbell rang so late I was convinced that it was Wolfgang as time, "sorry, we're busy", and the idea that I may already be in my jammies means nothing to him. I buzzed him in and looked through the peephole in the door for him to come out of the elevator. Instead it was a young man holding a Gerbera daisy. He looked at my doorbell and then at the doorbell of my next door neighbor (I have a nodding acquaintence with her - she works as a nurse so she's in and out at weird hours) and then proceeded to whip out a roll of duct tape and taped the flower to her door and then left. When I was sure he was gone I opened the door to see his handiwork and sure enough he'd taped the daisy with a little bit of fern and baby's breath added to it with colorful tissue wrapped at the bottom to her door with a little note. Awwww! Isn't romance swell?

By swell I mean "Nice young man wants to woo her!" and not "Freakish pyscho is stalking her!". I hope.

Hope your weekend has lots of good and not even the merest hint of bad.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

So wrong in so many ways

I had myself braced for the lecture I was sure to get from my doctor this afternoon. I was certain that she'd start off with "Well your numbers have slipped. Is there a problem?" and after my tear filled confession that I have not always watched what I eat and I sometimes even forget to take my medication (I take it twice a day and sometime I forget a pill) and my exercise plan has a few holes in it we'd switch to her sternly reminding me that I need to watch these things and that if I don't I'll be damned to hell and another visit from the boring ass dietician.

Instead she breezed in, took my blood pressure (120/80. It's always 120/80.) and then said "Well like I told you on the phone your white cell count came down so I doubt it's something terrible but to be sure it's really better, come in the week after Easter and let me take your blood again and then when I come back in four weeks (she sees B every four weeks so she sees me at the same time) I'll do another big blood draw.". Hmmm. Okay. Stand down on the white cell count panic. Now here comes the hammer.

"And as for the rest of your numbers, they're very good! Everything is very good! Keep up with what you're doing!"

Wait. This can't be right. What I'm too often doing is this. And this. And even a bit of this. Much too little of this. And this. And entirely too little of this. Left to my devices I'll soon be partaking of this.

In reality, I'm not all that bad but I could stand to be a whole lot better. I get away with my bad side because of my medication and because of the exercise I do get but if I would be better with both food and exercise then I could take less medication or stop it completely. I do eat sensibly most of the time - fresh fruits and vegetables, watch my sugar and fat intake, and I do eat a lot of fiber and drink a lot of water. It's the cheating I should avoid and don't try hard enough to avoid. I'll skip a day of exercise here and there. Eat that cookie when I should be having an apple. And of course there's the nacho monkey on my back.

I have to keep shunning the Whoppers though. Thank goodness the nearest BK is nowhere near me and I've cut my fast food fixes to about three times a year. Otherwise it would be like living in Requiem for a Dream, minus the infected track marks and prostitution.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


I believe I could use a good threatening. There's nothing like scaring the living hell out of me to get me to do what I'm supposed to be doing.

Gah. I'm dreading the doctor showing up tomorrow and yet I know what she's going to say is inevitable. And necessary.

Hope by the time she leaves I'm pale, shaking, and saucer-eyed. I could use it.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Stabbed and sleepy

Despite being roughly 5000 miles away from me, the Barefooted One knows instantly if I'm too quiet. Maybe it was her former job as a law enforcement officer that's done it to her but if I'm too quiet for too long, she gets into search mode and tracks me down.

I'm here, darlin'. Put the bloodhounds back into their pens.

The primary reason for my short absence was the lack of anything to say. I didn't even have any knitting stories to tell so you know I was at rock bottom (although I have to now say that I started to knit Clapotis and I must be doing something wrong because I can't get past the third row...I'm somehow not adding enough stitches with the third row so I'm stuck with a fourth row I can't finish).

The secondary reason is that I've been awfully tired the last few days. The weekend had me busy with chores and whatnot and then for the past couple of nights I simply haven't had enough sleep. I had to be at the doctor on Monday as soon as she opened up at 8am so I could have my blood drawn again. This time she wanted a bunch so I sat patiently while first the nurse and then the doctor searched for a viable vein. Jimmy Hoffa wasn't searched for with as much care as these two took to find a vein that wasn't too thin. Finally the doctor gave it the "Oh screw it. Let's just go for broke!" treatment, stuck in the needle and we all waited with baited breath for the blood to flow.

You know it hurts like a bitch for someone to wiggle that needle around as they try to strike oil in your arm.

The doctor got one vial before the vein collapsed but she declared it would be enough. Later on the nurse called and said my white cell count was much better so any panic has been postponed and she said the doctor would discuss the rest of the results with me when she comes by my apartment on Thursday. In this case I believe "discuss" can be loosely translated to "bitches me out about not taking my medication like I should and for eating too much crap.". It sucks to have a decidedly anti-nacho physician.

Today saw me get up early again for my semi-annual gyn appointment. All things - the parts I still have anyway - are where they belong and my gyn seems honestly disappointed that I don't complain of being wracked with hot flashes. She doesn't get that I could have hot flashes that are comparable to having my head on fire while lounging in a sauna and I still wouldn't take hormone replacement therapy. I tried it twice, spent weeks so depressed that I could barely move and merely looking in my direction could cause me to sob for hours and I would rather not revisit that experience, thanks. If I want to cry, I'll start trying to figure out what in the hell I'm doing wrong with knitting Clapotis.

Had a lovely nap this afternoon. All seems to be right with the world again. Someone should talk me back from the nachos ledge though.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

As I watch Toto on TV

If I had a random, pointless wish be granted I think I'd choose to go back into time for a day to when I was twenty or twenty-one years old. Be young and go out and have all the fun I did back then but have the smarts and experience I have now.

Perhaps then I could dance all night without having someone vomit all over my new Coach handbag or being carried out of the bar over the shoulders of a guy I'd met just an hour earlier.