Dixie Peach: September 2006

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday Shuffle - No Control Edition

So as y'all have by now gathered I have purchased (and even received as a gift from Ginnie) an insane amount of sock yarn in the past two weeks. To be fair, some of it was purchased for me to make a hat for myself but I'm likely just kidding myself. I hate to wear hats so those skeins will probably turn into socks as well. And I'm drooling over Rowan Tapestry in the Whirlpool colorway I purchased today that I'm going to use to make a scarf for myself. And did I mention the cashmerino I bought to make more Fetching handwarmers for myself?

Out of control, impulse buying at its best and it didn't stop there.

Yesterday after I met my yarn dealer and knitting pimp visiting friend, Laura, in Karstadt and we got our morning wool fix we went down to the basement floor so I could get some trashbags...'cause you know when you need trashbags what better place to get them than in a four story department store?...and we passed the tiny American foods section. That's when I heard the siren's song.

Two years ago when I was last home for a visit, Darling Mollie got me turned on to kettle corn. If crack has a junk food equivilent, it's kettle corn. Sweet, salty, popcorny, completely irresistable and off the irony chart with how tasty it is with a cold Diet Coke. There to tempt me was its microwavable equivalent right there on the shelves.

I understand that one needs to practice self denial to achieve enlightenment and if the amount of yarn and microwavable kettle corn purchased is any indication as to how I'm doing in that department, it's pretty well certain that I am doomed. And picking popcorn hulls from my teeth.

Time for Bixente the iPod to shuffle. His self control is amazing.
  1. People Get Ready - Aaron Neville
  2. Sundown - Gordon Lightfoot
  3. Isn't It A Pity - George Harrison
  4. Live Forever - Oasis
  5. This Is It - The Strokes
  6. Naked As We Came - Iron & Wine
  7. In The Mood - Glenn Miller Orchestra
  8. Seven Year Ache - Rosanne Cash
  9. You're All I Have - Snow Patrol
  10. Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) - Edison Lighthouse
Have a great weekend. Do something impulsive.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Return Engagement

I haven't done any Haiku Thursday in a while and I'm feelin' in the mood. You know how that goes. When you're feelin' it, you gotta go with it. Can't say no to the Muse.

Gryffindor sock yarn
Hand painted by Belinda
Just incredible.

Don't need any more
and yet I buy - can't resist
I'm worthless and weak.

Silk. Cashmerino.
Soft, dense with dazzling colors
Wildly sensual.

Four skeins this morning
And four more this afternoon
Need intervention.

Enough of all this
My addiction knows no end
I'm hopeless, that's all.

No more about yarn
Temptation wound in a ball
Focus mind elsewhere.

Don't cringe, could be worse
My haiku could be different
All about nachos.

Y'all are going to drive away my muse, aren't you?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Potentially Shuffle-able

Groovy Kind Of Love - The Mindbenders
Bend Me, Shape Me - The American Breed
Happy Together - The Turtles

I believe that many of us have a love for something that's somewhat uncool, somewhat embarrassing, a little bit geeky but we love it anyway. A passion for Star Trek. Stuffed animal collections. A love for Danielle Steele novels. Cartoons. Brat Pack movies.

With me it's cheesy pop music of the 60s and 70s - and folks, it can't get cheesy enough for my tastes.

Downtown - Petula Clark
The Rain, The Park & Other Things - The Cowsills
Kicks - Paul Revere and The Raiders

As with many of my quirks, I blame my sister for getting me started. She's seven years older than me and by the time my musical world was ready to expand beyond Jesus Loves Me and whatever was being offered on Captain Kangaroo, she was in early puberty and plunged well into AM radio.

I'm Telling You Now - Freddie & The Dreamers
Five O'Clock World - The Vogues
Dizzy - Tommy Rowe

Some of my early memories surround the bedroom my sister and I shared and her record player. When I was very young she taught me how to put on a 45 or an LP and how to get the needle on the record without scratching it to pieces. While she was at school I was allowed to play her records as long as I didn't break them or get them disorganized. While she was in school learning algebra I was in our bedroom learning what music was immortal (The Beatles and the Stones) and what was more disposable (The Troggs and Tommy James and the Shondells) but loving it all.

Build Me Up, Buttercup - The Foundations
Easy Come, Easy Go - Bobby Sherman
Good Morning, Starshine - Oliver

When I was about eight years old and I had my own bedroom I inherited an old, white plastic tabletop radio from my sister. It was an AM only radio but back then FM hardly exsisted anyway. I remember turning it on and having to wait until the tubes inside warmed up before its scratchy, tinny speaker would give any sound and would be so anxious for it to start playing. For the rest of the day until early evening when the stations would sign off for the day I'd be tuned into the likes of WEAM and WEEL and, a few years later, WPGC in hopes that they'd be playing my current favorites.

Run, Joey, Run - David Geddes
The Night Chicago Died - Paper Lace
I'd Love You To Want Me - Lobo

Once I got to my teenage years my musical tastes had expanded. I loved The Who and The Allman Brothers Band and Led Zeppelin. The first album I ever bought for myself was David Bowie's Hunky Dory. Still I had an affection for cheesy pop. My friends and I would play our transistor radios and sing along and call the radio stations over and over requesting that they play the songs we loved. We bought and swapped 45s and religiously watched American Bandstand every Saturday. We thought of the cute boys we liked while listening to the very sappy song and flailed around to the up tempo ones.

Love Will Keep Us Together - The Captain & Tennille
Magnet and Steel - Walter Egan
Kiss You All Over - Exile

All of this is thirty years and more in the past and my affection for cheesy pop is as fresh as ever. Like loving junk food, it's a hard habit to break and like junk food, not all of it's completely awful. Clever turns of phrases, hook filled choruses and some excellent vocals makes cheesy pop just as enjoyable for me now as it was back then and it has the added advantage of bringing back memories - sometimes long forgotten ones if the song is one I haven't heard in many years. I still listen to Vicki Lawrence sing The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia or No Milk Today from Herman's Hermits and still love every note, every word. There's very little in the way of cheesy pop that I can't stand.

Except Terry Jacks' Seasons In The Sun. It's my cheesy pop Camembert - pop music that stinks like feet.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Last Knit

Watch this and you'll know why I've grown my hair out long.

We knitters are a resourceful bunch.

Monday, September 25, 2006


1 train met.

15 hugs delivered.

7.14 kilometers walked.

86 photos taken.

3, 249 calories consumed.

4 streetcars ridden.

487,945 words spoken.

1 exhausted Peach.


1 terrific, fun-filled day with Ginnie.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Points of Nothing

Poppy's been doing a few bulleted lists as of late and as I'm in a bits-and-pieces sort of mood myself I'm taking a cue from her. Don't bother connecting the dots as there will be no cute bunny picture resulting from it.
  • Yesterday found B and I going out in the afternoon with Laura and her husband. They swooped in and within moments both had a hold of B and had him in his wheelchair like they did it every day of the world. Actually Laura has put people in their wheelchairs lots since she's a nurse but I was still amazed at how well they got him out of bed and in his chair. I felt a little bad that all I really did was look at them in amazement but they insisted on doing it. I'm guessing they felt as though I'm stuck picking him up myself all the time so they may as well give me a break. Yay! We spent the remainder of the afternoon at our favorite outdoor cafe (complete with the owner coming out to personally greet us - how's that for looking all popular with guests?) and then they came back to our apartment and while Laura and I knitted, the guys spent a few hours getting the security set up on our new wireless internet connection and then I ordered some supper to be delivered (how's that for looking all too-lazy-to-cook with guests?). All in all a great day with very lovely people.
  • Ginnie's coming to visit me tomorrow for the day. I'm feeling so very popular and in demand these days. I go years without any visitors from the States and the next thing you know I've gotten three in a year... touch me! We're going to be doing the touristy sort of thing with some ladies luncheoning tossed in as well.
  • We're having freakishly good weather here for September. Freakishly. So freakishly good that I'm afraid that come winter we'll have to pay for it with pissy ice coated days. Think I whined in July when it was hot? That ain't nuttin' compared to how I whine for pissy ice coated days. You have been warned.
  • Belinda is sending me some yarn that she dyed. Hand painted yarn custom made for me. Dyed it knowing it was for me. I wonder if that makes it easier or harder for her? She's dying lots of pretty yarns these days in some great blends and weights so check her out if you want some - she'll be glad to sell it to you!
  • While grocery shopping yesterday I felt all decedent and bought some Nesquick cereal. I don't even eat normal non-sugary cereals so getting this felt very daring. Stuff like this was a huge treat when I was a kid - we were normally stuck with cereals like Grape Nuts and Cheerios. I just ate some and it was very disappointing...rather like eating a burned devil's food cupcake with milk and the stuff bruised the roof of my mouth to boot. Now I'm feeling all Thomas-Wolfe-You-Can't-Go-Home-Again. I must have had such a taste for crap when I was a kid.
  • I'm not normally a big fan of things like Willow Tree Angels. Not knocking them - they're just something I'd normally resist. Then I saw this in Wernigerode and bought it and now I imagine Susan Lordi's sitting back and saying "Got ya, sucka!". Hey! I was defenseless! The angel is holding a teapot! How am I supposed to walk by that?
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If I come home tomorrow with anything out of the ordinary, I'm blaming Ginnie.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday Shuffle - Rest and Rejuvinate Edition

As I am someone who is normally a rather quiet person in the throes of a calm, contented life, having the opportunity to have lots of girlfriend time all at once has been both enormous fun and enormously exhausting.

Yesterday saw Laura and I taking a train to Wernigerode. It's a small town at the base of the Harz mountains and is so incredibly adorable that you can hardly bear it. There's a castle way up on a high hill overlooking the town and the town itself looks exactly like how you imagine towns in fairy tales look. See?

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After lunch we went into shop after shop in search of things that Laura might like to bring home from Germany as a souvenir of her trip. She became fascinated by the witches that one sees all over the town due to Wernigerode's close approximation to where Walpurgis Night is held and got a few things depicting them.

And since our finely tuned fiber radar was in high gear we found the only yarn shop tucked in the artisans quarter. We pawed through all the lovely sock yarn for sale, Laura asked questions with me translating and by the time we left with more yarn (don't say it!) the shop owner was completely charmed by us and was fascinated to see Laura knitting two socks at the same time on two circular needles. The shop owner didn't even know such a thing was possible so I may need to go back sometime and give her a lesson in two socks on two circs. Any excuse to go back there will do.

Ice cream was consumed, knitting in public was done and chatting was virtually non-stop. We were having such a great time that we ended up taking a train home an hour later than we had planned. By the time we limped out of the train station towards Laura's hotel, we were dragging and she still had a birthday party to attend that evening. I spent the rest of the evening virtually unable to move, legs twitching with exhaustion.

I'd like to say that we bounced back today and kept the girly-girl festivities going but Laura had one too many Mojitos last night at the party. I don't even have a good too-many-Mojitos excuse - I was just dead tired. I spent the day instead doing laundry and trying my own socks on circular needles very first. Once you cast on, make the join and knit the first row it all makes sense.

Tomorrow Laura and her husband are going to go out with B and me for the afternoon. More fun. More knitting in public. Lots of fish eye from the husbands if we even look at a yarn store.

Bixente the iPod is quite rested and ready to shuffle:
  1. Don't Smoke In Bed - Nina Simone
  2. The Guns of Brixton - The Clash
  3. Angel of Harlem - U2
  4. Racing In The Street - Bruce Springsteen
  5. What's The Matter Here? - 10,000 Maniacs
  6. Suffragette City - David Bowie
  7. Rumble In Brighton - Stray Cats
  8. Sail Away - David Gray
  9. Amanda - Don Williams
  10. Rock And Roll Never Forgets - Bob Seger
Have a great weekend. Rest lots. Play even more.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Yarn and Glossy Lips

Know what you happens if you're very, very good? A lovely friend comes to visit and brings presents! Who doesn't love presents?

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Not just pressies - knitting pressies! The newest edition of Vogue Knitting. Sock patterns. Booklet on knitting two socks on two circulars. Booklet on knitting with the Magic Loop method. Think I'm overboard on socks? Not to worry...I now have the pattern book Not Just Socks so I can knit other stuff from sock yarn. And what else there do I see? A gauge counter - hold it up to your swatch and it tells you the gauge without you having to count the stitches. Stitch holders. Addi double point needles - teensy ones. A row counter that hangs from your circular needle. Darning needles in a case so you're not digging for the damn things at the bottom of your accessory bag. Can't remember how to do grafting? No problem! That and other knitting must-knows are on ring bound cards - no more having to drag out your copy of Stitch 'n Bitch when you need a reminder. And what is that there gleaming in their little plastic pouches? Could that be?....yes it is!! Onetwothreefourfivesix pairs of Addi Turbos! The grooviest knitting needles in the world and I have a bunch of them! My sweet friend Laura came bearing the greatest gifts a knitting gal could wish for and we're not even getting into the great bunch of lip glosses she brought as well. Lip gloss and knitting stuff. If she'd brought strawberry Twizzlers as well I may have fallen in love.

So what do you do when you've got a great bunch of knitting accessories? Go expand your yarn stash, of course! We waved buh-bye to B and walked down the street in search of yarn and since the knitting gods were smiling upon us we were able to not just find some lovely Regia sock yarn but find it on sale for 2€ per 50 gram skein. I kept my purchases to the minor side but since this yarn sells in the US for much more, Laura grabbed a pile and I know tomorrow will have us going back for more.

We shopped. We talked. We knitted. We talked more. We shopped and then went for coffee and cake and talked. We came back home and knitted and talked and it went on and on until we were in such a frenzy of girly-girl action that we nearly burst into flames. Glittery, glossy ones.

And we're gonna do it again tomorrow. Keep the fire extinguisher handy.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Secret Slob

Remember last March when I met up with an American lady visiting Magdeburg? She and her husband are back in town and since Laura and I love to knit and love to chat, we'll be getting together during the day in the couple weeks she's here to do just that.

I've known for a couple weeks now that she'll be in Germany and have been anticipating this visit with great excitement. Laura's so fun to hang out with and we're going to be knitting socks with great abandon. Add in the good weather we've been having and it's likely we're going to get into all sorts of adventures.

The only drawback is that I've had a pissy cold for a few days now and my once tidy-for-company apartment is looking worse for wear because I can't seem to summon up the energy to get it back in shape. This means that before I meet up with Laura tomorrow I'll have to do one of those whirlwind tidy-ups so she doesn't think I'm a complete hairbrain with junk laying around. This also means that should Laura be reading this, she's just found out that I'm doing the stash-the-trash cleanup.

Laura, do yourself a favor dear. Don't open any doors anywhere in my home. God only knows what will fall out and clunk you on the head.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Science Fiction

It's mid-September and by now in Germany we should be well into autumn weather. I'm sure when I mention autumn weather I'm conduring up for many of you images of crisp air, golden sun, deep blue skies, leaves turning red and every other image that makes you want to visit a You-Pick-'Em pumpkin farm for a go at a hayride and barnyard animal petting zoo. Unfortunately that's not an apt description of a German autumn. Yeah, we do get some days that gloriously conform to the good autumn image but a lot of our autumns are filled with gray, dreary skies, chilly breezes and drizzly rain...the sort of rain that makes you want to scream at the skies "Either rain properly or knock it the hell off!".

After an August that seemed more like a typical October, we're being treated to weather that rivals July. A real July, not that we're-roasting-our-asses-off-here July that we had this year. Bright sunshine, warm breezes, the works. The only thing that reminds someone as to the real time of year is that it's dark by 8pm.

This afternoon as I was taking Bonnie for a long walk - a walk in which she did not bark at every other dog we encountered and did not drag me all over in search of bits of paper on the sidewalk for her to eat and what have you pod people done with my dog because this one can't possibly be mine - I was a little surprised at the amount of people out. I live in the center of the city - what's mainly a shopping area - and it looked more like a Saturday when all the shops are open instead of a Sunday when everything but restaurants are closed. Families with frolicking children were having a stroll, outdoor cafes were bursting with patrons, park benches filled with people sunning themselves or eating sticky, melting ice cream cones. And everyone was smiling. Smiling Germans as far as the eye could see. Laughing! Utterly thrilled to be out enjoying the good weather. They all had looks on their faces that said "Look! The golden orb is present in the sky! It is...the sun!! It shines in September as well! Look at us! We can sit and enjoy it's warm rays! We need not be pissed on by the rain as we normally are on Sundays! More ice cream! More beer! We are celebrating!".

Okay, what have you pod people done with my Germans because these can't possibly be mine.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday Shuffle - Trust But Verify Edition

B has decided to have a new computer built by a computer store that's across the street from us. They've given us a good price and should it need servicing they'll fetch it and tote it back to their shop.

B called them up this morning to add one more thing to his wish list and said I would be coming right over to sign the order contract. The salesman asked that we make a down payment as this is a custom order and said "It's not that we don't trust you, Herr G, but we have done custom work before and then delivery wasn't taken.". B assured them it wasn't offensive at all to ask for a down payment. There's trust and then there's just being sensible.

Later in the afternoon as I drove to the grocery store I stopped at a car wash to relieve my car of it's crust of filthy crud. It was one of those automatic ones where you sit in the car and the little traction thingy drags you through. I know of people that get freaked out with this sort of car wash with all the brushes and rags and sprayers flapping around them but that doesn't bother me. What does make me sit up and pay attention is the traction thingy itself. I know it's not likely but I can't help feeling sometimes that I'm going to smack into the back of the BMW ahead of me - the one I can't see because of all the brushes and rags and sprayers flapping around me. I just have to put trust in the fact that this car wash runs all day, every day and if cars went careening into each other they wouldn't be in business.

Trust is probably the thing that allows humans to live with others. I'm not talking about living as various nations or various religions but living together as a group instead of everyone being a hermit. If we didn't have the most basic trust in others, we'd constantly be out for ourselves alone.

Our days are filled with tests of our trust. We drive down the street trusting that the guy on the other side of the road won't decide to drive down our lane. We trust friends with our confidences. We trust that when we operate something mechanical that it will work and won't injure us. We trust that our family members will fulfill their roles. We trust that when we eat we won't be poisoned.

Babies have the most trust. They rely on someone to care for their every need and that's what convinces me that basic trust is inborn.

Of course trust can be broken. The crazy or drunk driver is out there. Machines break and foods are impure. Friends and family vow that they are trustworthy and betray us. A broken trust within a family may be the worst. The family is our trust core and damage there is lasting.

I was thinking about trust vs. faith and decided that they're not quite the same. Trust is given when we've experienced evidence that someone or something will give the results we expect. Faith is when we know we'll get the expected results but have no evidence to back it up. I trust my husband with my life because I know him so well but it was a leap of faith that made me move to Germany to marry him.

Time to shuffle.
  1. Jessica - Allman Brothers Band
  2. Still - Alanis Morrissette
  3. Another Sunny Day - Belle & Sebastian
  4. Cigarette Dangles - Pursuit of Happiness
  5. O What A Thrill - The Mavericks
  6. You Belong To Me Now - Candy Butchers
  7. Locomotive Breath - Jethro Tull
  8. Fool In The Rain - Led Zeppelin
  9. Sympathy For The Devil - Rolling Stones
  10. Here Comes My Baby - Cat Stevens
And that's why I trust Bixente the iPod.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Out of Order

Dear Sari,

I don't know how to break this to you. I know you'll come here because it's Thursday and you will go away sorely disappointed.

It's Thursday and I can't haiku. I don't know what happened. I want to haiku. I dig the haiku. I sit to do the haiku and it's a no can do.

It should be simple. It's just 5-7-5. One would think that anyone with a life as wildly exciting and filled with thrills-a-minute normal and yet not-quite-down-to-being-dead-boring as mine is should be able to toss together a few three line poems summing up her daily activities. I mean I should be able to at least come up with some bad haiku. Even bad haiku is still pretty good. Those charming syllable patterns and all that get readers to count them out on their fingers.

And it's not from lack of effort. I'm trying here. My brain is smoking.

I've let you down, haven't I?

Begging your pardon,


P.S. As for the rest of you - if you so much as breathe "Whew! Another week with no haiku! Dodged another bullet!", I'm going to know. Oh I will know.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


As much as enjoy getting B outside when the weather is nice, it's exhausting. I have no idea why shopping with him takes more out of me than shopping along but it does.

Oh yeah. I forgot the part about picking up a 160 pound man to get him in and out of his wheelchair.

Know the best part about living in the same place where you do your shopping? You get to know your local merchants so much better. You walk in and get greeted like a rock star. And if it happens to be the local Asian carry-out they'll give you an extra order of spring rolls for free.

I doubt I have much creativity left in me today so let's get all cheap and meme. A food one swiped from Jemima. Even her URL goes great with a club sandwich.

How do you like your eggs?
In a way that disguises the taste of the yolk. Enough Hellmann's and salt on a hard boiled egg sandwich usually does the trick.

How do you take your coffee/tea?
Black tea: With artificial sweetner and evaporated milk. Green tea: Just a little sweetner. Maybe a little lemon. White tea: Plain. Coffee is taken only under duress.

Favorite breakfast foods:
Pancakes. Grits. Biscuits. Bacon. All those things I save to eat until I get back to the US.

Peanut butter:
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When in a peanut butter, banana and mayonnaise sandwich it's divine.

What kind of dressing on your salad?
I'm not much of a salad person - I'd rather just eat the individual vegetables in their natural, nekkid state. Chilled, please. However if I'm in a salad situation I'll eat ranch or yogurt dressing.

Coke or Pepsi?
Never Pepsi.

You're feeling lazy. What do you make? Jam on toast?
A lazy dinner for me would be a couple tuna steaks sprinkled with lemon juice and a good dousing of Tony's creole seasoning tossed into a pan until they're just done. A little pasta on the side tossed with olive oil, sauteed bell peppers and grated parmesan with some sliced tomatoes and cucumbers on the side.

You're feeling really lazy? What kind of pizza do you order?
The only sort of pizza I eat in Germany are frozen ones.

You feel like cooking. What do you make?
Beef stew. Goulash - the kind you find in Hungary, not that ground beef and tomatoes over macaroni stuff people in the US call goulash. Roasted chicken. Geschnetzeltes. Chicken and dumplings. Pie. My cousin Wanda's chocolate pie. Long drawn out fights, bad moods and long held grudges have occured because of that heavenly pie. I'd cut you over that pie.

Do any foods bring back good memories?
My cousin Wanda's chocolate pie. Eating barbecue in Memphis. Angel biscuits. Fried catfish and hushpuppies. My mother's fried chicken. Peanut Buster Parfaits from Dairy Queen.

Do any foods bring back bad memories?
Beef rouladen. It happened to be the last thing I ate just before I had a massive gallbladder attack.

Do any foods remind you of someone?
Mexican food reminds me of my dear friend Susan. Peanut Buster Parfaits remind me of Lisa:
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And of course there's that chocolate pie.

Is there a food you refuse to eat?
Hominy. Yellow squash. Eggplant. Capers.

What was your favorite food as a child?
Steak. Baked potatoes. Steamed spinach. Tomatoes. Okra.

Is there a food you hated as a child but now love?
Broccoli. Cauliflower.

Is there a food you loved as a child but now hate?
When I was a kid it was an enormous treat to get stuff like Spaghetti-Os or Chef Boy-ar-dee Beefaroni. I loved it. I didn't eat it for many years and not terribly long after moving to Germany I saw Chef Boy-ar-dee spaghetti and meatballs on one of those American foods websites and on a whim and flushed with the glow of nostalga I ordered a can.

That was some vile, vile shit.

Favorite fruit and vegetable:
Peaches, natch. Watermelon. Tomatoes. Broccoli. Spinach. Okra.

Favorite junk food:
Nachos. Popcorn. And I love those truly awful Hostess Sno-Ball things.

Favorite between meal snack:

Do you have any weird food habits?
I'm one of those certain-foods-cannot-touch-other-foods people that annoys everyone else. I also tend to eat things in order of preference with my favorite item going last or at the very least being the last bite of the meal.

You're on a diet. What food(s) do you fill up on?
I would eat what I normally do and cut out the junky stuff.

You're off your diet. Now what would you like?
Everything from Sonic that I could cram into my mouth before I burst.

How spicy do you order Indian/Thai?
I can be a bit of a weenie when it comes to spicy food. Spicy enough for me to feel it but weenie enough for it to stop burning when I stop eating.

Can I get you a drink?
Water. No carbonation. Fizzy water tastes salty to me.

May I get you a drink?
Or an iced tea would be nice. Lemon, please.

Red wine or white?
Red makes prettier popsicles.

We only have beer.
Then make it an Erdinger.

Favorite dessert:
Red velvet cake. Peach cobbler. And that damn chocolate pie that shall tempt me to the end of my days.

The perfect nightcap?
White tea.

Admit it. You cringed when you saw mention of the peanut butter, banana and mayonnaise sandwich.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Next Day

It was the last Saturday in March, 1991. Easter was around the corner but it was still too cool and too rainy to feel like spring. The phone rang and my parents' neighbor asked to speak to my now ex-husband so my ex would be able to break the news to me. My father was being taken to the hospital and maybe he had suffered a heart attack.

On the twenty minute ride to the hospital I remember sitting in the passenger seat and thinking that there must be a mistake. This couldn't be happening. There's no way that my father could be suffering from anything that could potentially take his life. As it turned out it wasn't a heart attack but instead was a cerebrial aneurysm. He was on life support and it was likely that he wouldn't survive.

I spent the day numb and confused. I couldn't wrap my mind around the idea that something this bad was happening to my family. This sort of thing doesn't happen to us! Friends of mine had tragedy visit them and their family but not mine. Surely things weren't as bad as the doctors made them sound because this sort of thing just couldn't be happening to my family.

I felt so hurt. So bruised inside. I wanted it all to stop. I wanted my dad healthy again. I wanted my family like it had been twenty-four hours earlier. I wanted to crawl into my mother's lap and have her comfort me and tell me things would be alright again and to not worry. I wanted to feel safe from tragedy. All I got was the gnawing feeling that my life, my world wouldn't be the same again.

September 11, 2001 was another day where the weather didn't match the date. Again it was a too cool, too rainy day and I recall going to the outdoor market that day to buy lace curtains for my livingroom. I'd just had new carpet and new paint put there in anticipation of Darling Mollie's visit a few days later and I wanted to have new curtains as well.

I'd gotten home from my shopping just as the tragic events of that day were happening. B was trying to explain to me that a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center and just then the second plane hit. I stared in stunned silence not believing what I was seeing. There was no denying that it was a terror attack but how could that be? Things this big, this dramatic are so rare in the United could my homeland be under attack? Surely this wouldn't be so horrible when all was said and done.

The rest of the afternoon was spent trying to take in and understand the reality of it all. A friend's daughter, home sick from school, called B and me. She was home alone, unable to speak to her mother at work and she needed comfort from someone. Someone grown up and someone who could tell her everything would be alright. As the towers fell and Freya became almost hysterical at was she was seeing, I tried to soothe her nerves but mine needed soothing just as much. I needed my own reassurance. I wanted to speak to family and friends and know that they were safe. I wanted things to be the way they were twenty-four hours earlier. And I knew my world wouldn't be the same again.

1991 - I went back to work a few days after my father's aneurysm. He was still on life support and the feeling of fear and unease was still with me. I wasn't sure how I was going to be able to work because my mind was in a jumble and surely no one could understand how I felt. The feeling that I would burst into tears at any moment was always present.

My friends and supervisors and co-workers at work had been told what was going on with me and their outpouring of sympathy stunned me. They didn't know all the details and didn't know how things would progress with my father but they knew I needed comfort and they stepped up to provide it. If it hadn't been for them I may not have been able to get through the coming months. My father was removed from life support but instead of him passing he suddenly began to breathe on his own. He remained in a persistent vegetative state for the nine months he had left to live and even though it was a difficult time for me and my family, the people who cared about me never failed to support me and it forged a deeper bond between us.

2001 - The morning after the terror attacks I started the day wishing that the previous day had been only a terrible dream. While it hurt, I tried to keep my day as ordinary as possible. After all, we still had to keep living.

I walked across the street to the bakery and on top of the bakery case were newspapers for sale. The photo on the front was of the WTC towers enrobed in smoke and flames and the headline said "God Help Us All" and as I read it my eyes instantly filled with tears and the heart crushing feeling was back.

Just then the bakery lady came from behind the counter. I'd been a customer of hers for years and she knew I am American and knew how I must be feeling the day after such a disaster. Even though Germans can be quite strict about who they touch, especially between those who aren't friends, the lady hugged me and shyly said to me in probably some of the very few English words she even knows, "I help hold you up.".

If there's anything good that came from these sad events in my life it is the knowledge that people will help hold me up. Friends and strangers alike. Even when it seems as though humanity is on a downhill slide, there are still more good and caring people than ones that mean you harm. And they will help hold you up.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Do It Yourself

B is searching now in ernest for a new computer. We could get mine fixed, of course, but we were planning on him getting a new one anyway within the next few months so mine acting like an ass has only speeded up the process by a few weeks.

Yesterday and most of today have been spent knitting, mostly while lounging on my balcony and considering how much longer I'll wait until I pull up those dead ass geraniums and plant some pansies. When technology gives me its middle finger, I turn to the joy in things handmade.

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Isn't that pretty? And this yarn is some sweet stuff to knit with - I wish I had a dozen hanks of this dreamy yarn. Soft and easy on my hands. My hands that don't let me down like this cranky computer is bound to do.

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Look at those colors! I love them! I call these my Harry Potter socks because they're Gryffindor colors.

Can't get a computer to make anything this groovy.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Friday Shuffle - Incredibly Furious Edition

I warn you now. If you tell me "That's why you should periodically save your work!" I will track you down and subject you to a myriad of unpleasant things, many of them involving sharp instruments, organ meats and Brady Bunch re-runs and glue. That being said, please allow me to whine and bitch about this piece of shit I laughingly call my computer.

We're a two computer family. Roughly every 18 to 24 months we buy a new one. I get the older computer, B gets the new one (he's the gamer in the family so he gets the one with the better graphic capability) and whatever I've been using gets passed on to anyone we know needing a computer.

The computer that is designated as mine is falling apart. Barely 2 1/2 years old, it's already had a new DVD ROM and a new harddrive while it was still under warranty and now either the memory is shot or the motherboard is going belly up.

And it hates me.

When B uses this computer it's a dream. Nothing ever goes wrong. Put it back in my hands and it's pissier than a fourteeen year old with PMS.

It's no secret that I've been a little dry on the blog content lately. I've been desperate to get out of my dry spell and tonight seemed to be a night where I could write and not have fifteen false starts, incomplete thoughts and general lack of writing ability.

I write. Bixente the iPod shuffles. All is good. And just before I'm about to publish the post, Pissy the Computer has an attack that involves dozens of windows suddenly opening and my inability to save my work before I have to abandon ship and reboot.

Insert string of expletives here that would have had my grandmother saying "You stop that damn cussing or I'll knock your ass off!".

I'm not asking for much. All I want is for this mechanical bitch to function for just a couple more months until the computer with the components we want is a price that I am willing to pay without feeling as though I'm being asked to bend over first.

Bixente, shuffle for me again, baby.
  1. Brimful Of Asha - Cornershop
  2. Holiday - Green Day
  3. Rosealia - Better Than Ezra
  4. Shit Towne - Live
  5. (Just Like) Starting Over - John Lennon
  6. The Finish Line - Snow Patrol
  7. Dancing Queen - ABBA
  8. Love It When You Call - The Feeling
  9. Mrs. Robinson - The Lemonheads
  10. Cliffs Of Dover - Eric Johnson
Number four proves that all techology hates me today.

Y'all have a serenity filled weekend.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Cleaning My Memories

I've made good on my words and have gotten started on getting my apartment tidied up. I like to mix little tasks with larger jobs so after I gave the kitchen a washdown and before I started another load of laundry I decided to clean off the grease and fuzz that gets built up on my refrigerator magnet collection. I'm very uptight on the verge of being anal particular about how my magnets are arranged so to assist me in putting them back in their proper places I took a picture of the magnetic board on which I display my collection.

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All of them are special to me and I remember where I got every one of them.

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Here you can see my magnet of Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore. Yes, I am an O's fan...and you keep that snickering to yourself, Mr. Fab! Two magnets are of old British adverts, both of which I bought in London. One is a magnet a buddy in New Zealand sent to me and the photo is of me and some of my best friends in the world taken when we visited Graceland together in November, 2004. I treasure the heart shaped magnet for no other reason than it was given to me by my Aunt Cora and there's nothing about her I don't treasure.

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These magnets of old film posters are some of the first magnets I collected. The teensy square ones are miniatures of Van Gogh and Monet paintings and of course I couldn't have visited Amsterdam without bringing home the little blue wooden shoe magnet.

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I think of this as my identity corner. The American flag composed of Campbell soup cans and the round one that says "Some people are married to Germans and still go on to lead normal lives" was given to me by friends when I first moved to Germany. The little girls depicted on the card remind me of my dear friends back in America and that even though we're far apart, we're still as close together as these little friends. And the birdhouse magnet? It reminds me that home is indeed where the heart is.

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I think of this as my travel corner. The house magnet was bought to me by Wolfgang when he made a trip to Sylt. There are a couple magnets from Berlin, including the sign for the Kurfürstendamm, the first street I ever walked on in Berlin. There's the obligatory Harrod's teapot (along with tea and coffee cups sent to me by friends in the US) and because I'm all about the cheesy stuff in life, a corny "Mind The Gap" magnet from London. The Bird's Custard magnet goes with the other British advert magnets I bought while visiting there and during that trip I bought the peach pie slice magnet. And the Wizard of Oz magnet? They were travelers too.

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The magnet on the bottom is of the Charles Bridge in Prague, a souvenir from a visit there by my MIL. I love to get quirky, funny cards and my favorites get displayed with my fridge magnet collection.

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Darling Mollie sent me the nun card. Moll and I have the same sort of humor and we both love this nun. She seems to be an interesting combination of beatific and psychotic.

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This is my latest favorite card, sent to me by the wonderfully quirky and hilarious Poppy. She loves monkeys. I love monkeys. She's actually hung out with my sock monkey, Lottie. But this isn't just a photo of a sock monkey - it's a sock monkey surrounded by condoms. It's perfect.

And now that I'm getting my apartment whipped back into shape I'll be able to uncover the new magnet board I've purchased so I can get the rest of my memories displayed. My reward for being diligent.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

If I Were An Animal's quite possible that I'd be a sloth.

For two weeks now I've been planning on taking a trip. Just an outing by myself. The plan was to get on a train to Quedlinburg and just look around and take photos and shop a little and have lunch and shop some more before getting the train back home. I was supposed to go last Thursday but I begged off because it wasn't the right weather, so I said. I rescheduled for tomorrow and I'm begging off again. Not because of the weather. I can't use that lame excuse again plus it's going to be a nice day tomorrow. I'm postponing my trip because of my MIL. That's who I'm blaming it on anyway.

When I have to be away from home for more than a couple hours my MIL comes to stay with B. She does a fine job substituting for me and I don't worry about his care. It should be the same this time around except for one thing - my apartment isn't absolutely clean. I mean it's not filthy but it's a little on the cluttered side. Some stuff needs to be gone though an put into its proper place and I haven't done it yet. I have cardboard boxes that need to be cut up and taken down to be thrown away in the recycling bin. I haven't yet finished washing my windows. My kitchen could use a good wash down and the worse thing of all, my yarn stash is all over the place. I promised myself last week after putting off my trip that I would spend this week getting things the way they should be. Instead I spent the week sitting around and knitting with the ocassional nap thrown in tied up with other things and the week was over before I had the chance to get things put right.

What does this have to do with my MIL? The answer should be "nothing" but that's not the case. I'm hesitating to leave my MIL here unattended because she my do the actual de-cluttering and organizing that I should be doing and the idea of her doing it makes me crazy. I should be doing this myself. I shouldn't be letting someone come in and do what I need to be taking care of personally.

I'm angry with myself. I'm angry that I'm letting opportunities pass me by because I won't let someone come in and do things for me and I've been too wrapped up in my own malaise to get it done myself. I've spent days thinking that nothing will happen today that didn't happen yesterday and won't happen tomorrow and therefore I can keep putting off my responsibilities until I've ground myself into the worst sort of rut.

Contentment can be a trap. Get too contented and you'll find you're letting things get away from you because you can't bothered to wrench yourself away from all the bliss.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Forgive Me

Folks, you have my heartfelt apology. Some of you may be visiting for the first time looking for a bit of amusement - or maybe you found me through your Googling of either "gory shit" or "giant pimple on neck" wouldn't be the first. Some of you are my regular readers who pop in to see what's new and exciting in my life. Okay, so you pop in to see if I've broken anything or gotten my ass stuck somewhere. In either case, you're looking for something new to read.

And I ain't got a thing for you, people.

All living things need rest and some time to rejuvinate. I like to think of my inspiration, my muse to be living as well and evidently my inspiration is not only taking a little time off but has gotten waylayed somewhere.

It's not from lack of effort. During the day various thoughts and ideas come my way but I can't seem to assemble them into something interesting. It's like those times when you have all sorts of stuff if your pantry and refrigerator and you can't make a meal out of it for love or money. For now instead of me treating you to a satisfying meal you'll have to survive on cinnamon toast, cocktail onions and salami.

So forgive me, folks. And don't give up on me. Surely I'll be able to pull it together again soon.

By the way, if you see my muse anywhere, send it home. And it better bring souvenirs.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday Shuffle - Bride and Groom Edition

I went to a wedding this morning. Some friends of ours who have lived together for about ten years decided that they'd take the plunge. They have a seven year old son, Mark, and since next week he'll start first grade they decided that it would be a good idea for Mama and Papa to be married and everyone all share the same last name - up until now Mark had his mother's last name.

My MIL went with me and we got to the marriage bureau where the required civil ceremonies are held shortly before it was time for their scheduled ceremony to begin. The bride wore a cream colored pantsuit and the groom wore...well, he had on jeans and sneakers but you gotta know Ingo. He's the most laid-back person on the planet. I mean he wore shorts to my wedding reception and at the time we all commented "Wow! He dressed up! No holes in his shorts!".

We all went into one of the rooms where the ceremonies are held, took our seats, listened to the canned romantic music and waited for the marriage celebrant to begin. I'd like to say that in Germany you're married by a judge or something but it's just a bureaucrat. She began the ceremony, Ingo, Tina and Mark sitting together up front listening to how significant it was that they were legally joining together their little family, and it wasn't long before I was remembering my own wedding ceremony that had been held in the very same room. And it wasn't long after that when my eyes began to well up. There wasn't a dry eye in the room actually.

The image and significance of marriage has changed over the decades. I grew up at a time when it was still fairly rare that couples would live together without marrying first and even more rare that they would have kids but now it's so common that it barely raises an eyebrow. There are people that feel that they don't need marriage to have a legitimate relationship and there was a time when Ingo and Tina were felt the same. Even after their son was born, they didn't feel any burning need to marry and it wasn't until it was time for Mark to enter school that they decided to marry. That event has prompted them to marry because they want to show to the world that they are a single family. It's not Ingo with one last name and Tina and Mark with another last name - from now on it's going to be all three sharing the same family name. Sharing that name is their way of showing their bond.

I have to admit that while I don't object to unmarried people living together, I'm a bit of a sucker for marriage. There's something about it that's special. Yeah, technically it's a formality - a piece of paper - but in reality it's more than that. It's two people saying to all the world that they are committed to one another. That they believe in their relationship so much that they wish to be legally bound to one another. There's that leap of faith that couples take when they decide to marry and I admire those who take leaps of faith.

As the ceremony was winding down the marriage celebrant was saying how they would all have the same last name now and she said to Mark "Are you happy that now you'll be Mark Bunk?". Mark took a second to think and then said "No! Schräder sounds better than Bunk!".

We tried later to convince him that he'll soon appreciate having the last name of Bunk since it'll be less writing and he'll have to spell it for others a lot less. I think he bought it but then again at that moment he was pretty into throwing rice around on everyone. He really liked the rice part.

So let's shuffle for the happy bride and groom. Rice throwing optional.
  1. Pressing Lips - Pursuit of Happiness
  2. Stardust - Glenn Miller Orchestra
  3. Wind In The Willows - Blackmore's Night
  4. Somebody To Love - Queen
  5. To Be With You - The Mavericks
  6. Kiss - Dean Martin
  7. Stand By Me - John Lennon
  8. Mull of Kintyre - Paul McCartney
  9. Never My Love - The Association
  10. ('Til) I Kissed You - Everly Brothers
Evidently the shuffle is a sucker for a wedding too.

Have a love filled weekend.