Dixie Peach: November 2006

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Crossing the Finish Line

Not to make too big a deal out of it but I've done it. I've posted every single day in November for NaBloPoMo. And a pile of others have as well, I'm sure. While I bitched my share about having to post each day even when I didn't feel like it, looking back over it all I can say it really wasn't all that bad. Bad enough, however, that I wouldn't want to turn around and start on Holidailies, even if they do cut you a slackburger and only require that you post a minimum of twenty times in a month. I may be a bandwagon jumping sort of person but that's one bandwagon that's going to go down the trail without me. While Holidailies is a fine thing to do, for me last year when I participated it was even more pressure than NaBloPoMo was. I kept feeling as though I needed to perform to a certain level all the time and I think it made my writing feel, at times, contrived. Somehow this month's focus on quantity has made me feel more comfortable with what I was churning out. Not all of it was brilliant prose but it felt more natural to me.

Even though I was determined to post during all of November, I toyed briefly with the idea of not posting for the last day. No reason really - just to break bad I guess. I wonder what it would have said about me if I'd really not posted today. Would it make me a maverick or a dimwit (Don't go there!)? Would I wake up tomorrow and think "What was I thinking?!"?

No, I figured that if I'd come this far I may as well finish. Even though I would have quit on my own terms instead of quitting just because I couldn't hack the task at hand I believe I would have a feeling that something wasn't complete - that something was out of balance. As a person who craves symmetry, it would have driven me crazy in the end.

On to other things. More bulleted points! I said yesterday that I'd write in whole paragraphs today but I didn't say that I'd do the whole post that way. Such a tease I am.
  • My new Christmas gift laptop arrived today. I opened it so we could check if all is right with it and found out that it doesn't have wlan. Cue head banging on brick wall. I wasn't upset that B didn't check on this a little better than he did and that it would have to be returned. What was making me grind my teeth was the idea of getting it all tucked back into the three boxes it was shipped in so I could send it back. This thing was packed like the Matryoshka doll of laptop computers. Having a few Matryoshka dolls myself is what I credit with enabling me to get it all put back together just right. Another one with wlan has been ordered. Christmas is saved.
  • Okay, that's an overstatement. My enjoyment of Christmas and its meaning to me has nothing to do with the receiving of gifts. But a good gift does add an extra sparkle to it all.
  • I had my hair done today and I have to say that while it looks great, it reeks from the forty-five gallons of hairspray on it. If there's a new hole in the ozone layer, you know who to blame.
  • No, not me. My hairdresser!
  • I've been to the Christmas market three times now. Well, one time was really to go to the bank to get some cash - my bank is in the old market square where the Christmas market is located and I had to go through part of it to get there. Anyway, not until this evening on my third visit did I go through the whole thing and see what all is there. Up until now I was basing my idea of what would be there on visits in previous years. Tonight B and I wanted grilled chicken for supper so I went down there at prime supper serving hour to get one. Most of the stands are in the same places they are every year. I went to where the chicken lady should be (no, not this Chicken Lady) and she wasn't there. I walked further down into the market. No chicken lady. I walked through the whole market square. No chicken lady. I walked down the part of the market that extends down the main street. No chi...well, you get the idea. No grilled chicken at the Christmas market. Grilled chicken is a Christmas market and city fair staple. Grilled chicken is always there! Okay, who's jerking my chain here? Who decided there will be fourteen places for me to buy French crepes and no place for me to get grilled chicken?
  • And come to think of it, there wasn't any place selling Kartoffelpuffer. Not that I buy them but that's another market/fair staple that wasn't there. This is wrong is so many ways. I hope I just missed it while trying to scan for the chicken lady and not bash into the 50 jillion people around me. I'm going back during the day so I can get a full picture of the scene.
  • Poppy mentioned it on her blog and it made me think "Yeah! That's right!". Part of NaBloPoMo was for people to delurk and comment on blogs, especially if you aren't posting on your own every day. Folks, I'm not getting the delurking love here. If you're lurking here, c'mon out and say hey and I'll return the favor. And bring a grilled chicken, please.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Last Chance For Dots

As this is the next to last day of NaBloPoMo we can't miss this opportunity to reduce the goings on in my life to a bulleted list, can we?
  • I should get some major credit for only posting one photo of sock knitting in November. I have barely written about knitting at all, socks or no socks.
  • I heard that "And thank God for that!" from over here.
  • I'm getting a laptop for Christmas after all. Yeah, it's not a surprise anymore but B ordered it already and I have to open it up to check it when it arrives. No playing with it though until Christmas.
  • Now I feel slightly guilty about getting the laptop because I kept saying I wanted one for Christmas and he can't ever say no to me. I really would have understood if he wanted to wait and save some more money for it first but he decided it was okay after all to get it now.
  • There may be an option available to us to get B a new switch for his remote transmitter through a company in the US that makes living assistance items for the disabled. I kid you not, I could get five switches from this US firm for less than one switch in Germany. I need to call them though and make sure it'll be a fit for what we need and ask them if they will ship directly to us or if they need to send it to my sister for her to send to me.
  • And since we're on the topic, let me thank y'all for the support and suggestions given to me yesterday in the comments. Knowing that there are people out there that really do care about us makes all the difference in the world.
  • I have the most fierce craving for coconut right now.
Full paragraphs tomorrow. Mark it on your calendars.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

At Least Kiss Me Before You Screw Me

Let's say you wanted, for whatever reason, to buy a one button mouse. No second button, no wheel - just one button. Would you pay 108€ (roughly $140) for it?

B has a infrared transmitter that allows him to answer the phone, dial a number on it, turn the TV on and operate the channels and volume, and operate the digital TV decoder box. This is not new technology - he's had this system for about ten years. He's able to operate the transmitter by using a flat disk that contains a tiny switch inside - the exact same sort of switch that's under the buttons on your mouse. The disk covers the tiny switch and by him pressing the disk with the side of his wrist he's able to engage the switch mechanism. The disk switch is connected to the transmitter via a thin wire. Depending on how fast and how often he presses the switch determines what operations will be conducted. It's hard to explain but bottom line is what B directly uses is a tiny switch that costs a few cents that's covered by a two disk shaped pieces of plastic, one of which has a foam rubber no-skid bottom and it's all connected to the transmitter by a thin piece of insulated wire. And this button thing is just about to crap out. I have repaired it as best I can but my bubble gum and baling wire tricks are about at their end. I'd need MacGyver to fix this thing again.

This is the thing that's going to cost us 108€ to replace. A switch that has way fewer parts than the computer mouse that's sitting in front of you now.

The whole things-to-make-the-lives-of-the-disabled-better racket drives me crazy. While I'm certainly grateful that they exsist, I can't help but feel as though we're being ripped off. People with usually the least ability to buy specialized equipment are charged the most for it. The telephone we have? To replace it would cost us in the neighborhood of 885€. Now I'm not in the market for a new phone since ours works fine but there's a little problem with ours. The phone cord is frayed and is about to break off the handset. So just buy another cord and replace it, right? Wrong. The cord is directly connected into the phone. The end of the cord that goes into the handset has a connector inbetween but the part that's connected to the phone itself is directly joined inside the phone, just like phone cords were 25 years ago. Once that cord tears away completely the handset will be useless and while the speakerphone part would work, sometimes we have to use the handset. Tell me that's not a planned way to get you to replace a phone.

It's hard not to feel cheated about this whole thing. I understand that there isn't a huge market for speicalized equipment that quadriplegics can use but what irks me is that we're not talking about space age technology. We're not talking about some shit that Stephen Hawking uses - stuff that allows him to talk by him doing God knows what - we're talking about stuff that's not much of a step up from a Clapper. Your cell phone is probably more sophisticated technology-wise than this stuff. The components themselves aren't expensive but they're selling it to a limited market and not too many companies are in the business of making this stuff and so they charge as high a price as they can. And this goes for virtually every piece of equipment that a disabled person uses - from wheelchairs to shower chairs to hospital-type beds. Even things like the hard plastic basin I use to wash B's hair cost us over 100€. It's a plastic basin with a drain in the bottom and a hose that carries the rinse water away to the jug I catch it in...but it's made to be used with a bedridden person and so the makers will charge a high price and wait for people to buy it.

Sometimes insurance will cover the cost of these things but many times they only pay a part of the cost or they pay nothing at all. If I had to replace the whole transmitter/switch/phone contraption thing we have now I'd pay roughly 2000€ out of my own pocket. This is one of the cheaper systems available.

And I'd hope we wouldn't have to replace the foam rubber no-skid pad on the bottom of the transmitter button. A new one costs 25€.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Theraputic Meme

There are few better ways to greet a visitor to your home than by saying hello, warming shaking his or her hand and then dashing to the bathroom just two steps away so you can throw up. Luckily B's physiotherapist knows us very, very well and she didn't bat an eye exept to say "Take your time! If you're not finished by the time I finish his arms, I'll pour the coffee.".

I like to pretend that my wonky gut should be blamed on something I ate or even a virus but I'm afraid it's actually that inner time bomb my gallbladder. The one I like to ignore.

So let's ignore it and take the lazy way out of coming up with any actual content that doesn't involve me purging the contents of my stomach and do a meme. Swiped from Angry Black Bitch. And don't fuss about it making you purge the contents of your stomach.

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
Amazing how my hair can make two devil horns on top as I sleep...
2. How much cash do you have on you?
375€. Y'all are wondering how much that is in American dollars, aren't you?
3. What’s a word that rhymes with “DOOR?”
4. Favorite planet?
Earth. I like planets where I can breathe the atmosphere. And I already have a place to stay here.
5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?
I don't suppose I have one since the only people who have my cell phone number are B and my MIL and they seldom call me.
6. What is your favorite ring tone on your phone?
The one that tells me that someone is calling me? Seriously, I don't get into that ringtone crap. Just let me know someone's calling and that's fine. I can skip being entertained for the 10 seconds it takes for me to acknowledge a phone call.
7. What shirt are you wearing?
A white cotton v-neck longsleeved t-shirt with flowers embroidered around the neckline.
8. Do you “label” yourself?
No. It's been a long time since I got lost and couldn't find my way home.
9. Name the brand of the shoes you’re currently wearing?
10. Bright or Dark Room?
I'm a night person but I prefer bright rooms.
11. What do you think about the person who took this survey before you?
I love any woman like this who can express herself honestly.
12. What does your watch look like? straps around my arm and has flat space with numbers on it and on that are two pointy things that show me what time it is.
13. What were you doing at midnight last night?
I was looking at a knitter's online bulletin board and then throwing up. The two events were in no way connected and no connection between them should be inferred.
14. What did your last text message you received on your cell say?
Just some SMS spam.
15. Where is your nearest 7-11?
Somewhere on the east coast of North American I reckon.
16. What's a word that you say a lot?
Bitte. The classic German multi-purpose word.
17. Who told you he/she loved you last?
My husband.
18. Last furry thing you touched?
My dog, Bonnie.
19. How many drugs have you done in the last three days?
My diabetes medication and some anti-spasm pain reliever for my gallbladder.
20. How many rolls of film do you need developed?
You have heard of digital cameras, right?
21. Favorite age you have been so far?
Thirty-five was pretty good.
22. Your worst enemy?
Currently it's my wonky gut.
23. What is your current desktop picture?
That standard Windows fall foliage thing.
24. What was the last thing you said to someone?
Is that good?
25. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly what would it be?
The money. That "able to fly" isn't quite specific enough. Are we talking about Superman can fly flying or some lame-ass arm flapping and I-can-fly-ten-feet-before-collapsing-into-an-exhausted-heap flying?
26. Do you like someone?
Oh yeah! The guy that sits next to me in geometry class is so fine! Maybe he'll ask me to the prom!
27. The last song you listened to?
Ordinary Day by Great Big Sea
28. What time of day were you born?
Straight up noon.
29. What’s your favorite number?
30. Where did you live in 1987?
Manassas, Virginia.
31. Are you jealous of anyone?
32. Is anyone jealous of you?
Well now who wouldn't be jealous of my wonky gut?
33. Where were you when 9/11 happened?
Hanging new curtains in my livingroom.
34. What do you do when vending machines steal your money?
Send it bad, bad cosmic vibes.
35. Do you consider yourself kind?
I certainly try to be.
36. If you had to get a tattoo, where would it be?
On my foot.
37. If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be?
I'd say German but then I'd miss the snickering over my dodgy grammar. I'll pick Spanish.
38. Would you move for the person you loved?
What? You mean other than the time I up and moved myself from the USA to Germany for the person I loved? How much more moving y'all want out of me?
39. Are you touchy feely?
No, right now I'm crampy bloaty.
40. What’s your life motto?
Love yourself as others love you.
41. Name three things that you have on you at all times?
Lipstick, TicTacs, my passport.
42. What’s your favourite town/city?
Memphis, Tennessee.
43. What was the last thing you paid for with cash?
Bread from the bakery.
44. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?
Maybe a month ago.
45. Can you change the oil on a car?
I can and have.
46. Your first love: what is the last thing you heard about him/her?
I heard the gal he dumped me for divorced his skinny ass.
47. How far back do you know about your ancestry?
I can trace back to 17th century Scotland and Wales.
48. The last time you dressed fancy, what did you wear and why did you dress fancy?
I wore a wine colored suit to the 50th anniversary party for one of B's relatives.
49. Does anything hurt on your body right now?
You mean I haven't mentioned my wonky gut enough today?
50. Have you been burned by love?
See Number 46.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

And Yet Here I Am

I am blaming it on something I ate. That's the culprit that has left me today feeling like unbridled hell. That has left me feeling as though someone has reached inside of me, taken a large handful of my innards and is in the process of folding and twisting them like a hired clown with a questionable background and smelling vaguely of Pabst Blue Ribbon making balloon animals at a seven-year-old's birthday party.

And whatever it was, the last bite of it was poisoned. I'm certain of it.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


I'm not in a bad mood but I feel as though today I'm acting like I am. I think my problem is a lack of restful sleep, B being sick again and the ten zillionth day in a row that it's been cloudy with pissy rain.

Know what would make me feel better? To be sitting in a diner right now with a couple good friends having pie and coffee (or tea in my case) and talking until we're spent. And I'd leave an outrageous tip for the waitress.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Friday Shuffle - Christmas Market is Open Edition

I, being a bona fide Christmas freak, naturally have my year revolve around the holiday and while if I lived in the US my personal kick-off for the season would be the day after Thanksgiving, in Germany it's when the Christmas market opens in Magdeburg. It's merely coincidence that this year it happens to be the same day. Magdeburg doesn't have the largest Christmas market - the last time I checked that honor belonged to Leipzig. It doesn't have the grandest and most famous market - that would be Nuremburg. But what Magdeburg has that these others don't is prime location - just two hundred meters from my front door.

And what better way to start my Christmas market revelry than with a visit there this evening to pick up grilled bratwurst for supper? Straight off the fire, wrapped in foil and by the time I walk home they're exactly the right temperature for eating. The Indian flute players were there - in fact they were packing up for the evening, one of their CDs playing in the background as they loaded up their van just in case they could entice one more person to buy one. I didn't take a look at much more while I was there as I didn't venture past the food vendors but there's plenty of time for that yet. And as long as B has a taste for junky Christmas market food, I'll be down there often to explore.

Bixente the iPod's calendar revolves around the Friday's shuffle. Let's go.
  1. Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin
  2. Femme Fatale - The Velvet Underground & Nico
  3. Death Or Glory - The Clash
  4. Adalida - George Strait
  5. Crystal Ball - Keane
  6. Store Bought Bones - The Raconteurs
  7. New York Mining Desaster 1941 - The BeeGees
  8. The Look Of Love - Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66
  9. We'll Sing In The Sunshine - Gale Garnett
  10. Oh Atlanta - Little Feat
May your weekend be kicked off just right.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


I slept poorly last night, it rained all day with a brisk, chilly wind and I had a searing headache.

But I had a place to sleep last night and my home is warm and dry and I have easy, affordable access to medicine to cure my ills. Add to it that I have plenty to eat and I live in a land where I don't constanly fear for my safety and am not persecuted for being who I am.

And that's much, much more than many, many others in the world have.

For all I have I give my heartfelt gratitude and thanks.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Envy Your Bread

Dreading that holiday shopping already? Need a gift that's guaranteed not to be a duplicate? Want a treat for yourself that will make your holiday preparations even more fun? Then you need to groove on over to Poppymom's Home Eccentricities for some tasty, tasty stuff. Homemade delights like lavender jelly, key lime jelly, whole berry cranberry jelly and for the adventurous (and for those who want to have something a little different on their holiday buffet table), Thai hot pepper jelly. Muffin and apple crisp mixes too - everyone will think you can bake even if you can't.

Poppy can make your bread the envy of all in town!

Itty Bitty

I credit the mother of a school friend for starting me on my love of miniatures. She had a printer's drawer full of wee bitty things that I just loved to look at and I began my own collection of all things tiny.

When I lived in the US I had an antique printer's drawer to display my collection but I didn't bring it with me to Germany. Instead I have two plain shadow boxes - this is one of them:

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Some of my favorites in my collection were purchased at craft and artisan fairs. When I lived in Virginia, autumn was a favorite time for three of my friends and me because we liked to prowl through these fairs, carefully searching through every stall and booth for things we just had to have. I always tried to find new miniatures for my collection such as these:

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Susan, Gwen and Heidi were my craft fair friends. We met at work and were very close with one another. From September until Christmas you could find us together on many weekends searching for new items for our homes.

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I found all these little apples in Clifton, Virginia. The part of Virginia where I lived was right next to apple country.

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I credit Gwen for finding this Gond With The Wind pin made from a postage stamp at the craft fair in Manassas, Virginia. She picked it up and admired it but I was the one who collected Gone With The Wind stuff and I nabbed it from her. Gwen let me get away with it though. My friends were very good to me.

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I found all of these at a fair in Leesburg, Virginia. The tiny brass spittoon just slays me.

Susan, Gwen, Heidi and I would walk around these fairs until we were worn out. We'd search through them and then go back for things we really loved and it wasn't unheard of that we'd all buy one of the same thing. I'm fairly certain that we all had these stoneware candle holders that held these giant 3 foot long tapers that all ended up bending in the heat once summer rolled around. We dubbed them the "penis candles". Don't ask.

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These weren't found by me at any craft fair but were gifts to me from Susan. She's got an incredible eye for home decor and can spot the most perfect gifts from a mile away. The miniature milk bottle is my first Rowe Pottery piece - I blame Susan for starting me on my Rowe Pottery collection. I am crazy for Rowe Pottery.

Out of my entire collection of miniatures, this is my very favorite piece. It was made by a metal artisan from San Francisco and I bought it at the craft fair in Manassas. I remember that day with my dear friends so clearly. That was a perfect day.

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It's a tooth fairy box. The idea is to put a child's tooth in the box for a keepsake.

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It's not easy to see, but behind the fairy is a loop so one can wear the tooth fairy box around one's neck on a chain.

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Even the inside of the lid is finished.

By this time of the year the fairs are over and Susan, Gwen, Heidi and I would be turning our focus to shopping for Christmas decorations. We're all big fans of Christmas and we had certain shops that carried unique decorations that we had to visit each year.

I miss my friends all the time but it's this time of year when I miss them most. I love that I have tiny keepsakes tied to big memories.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I'm afraid I don't have much to offer today. I'm in one of those listless periods that has had me longing to curl up on the sofa with tea and cinnamon toast and watch Blondie & Dagwood and Shirley Temple movies. Of course I can only indulge myself with the tea and toast part in this part of the world so instead after my daily chores were done I knitted and made chili and had a nap until the postman woke me up to deliver to me some trousers that don't fit worth a damn.

I'll be livelier tomorrow. I blame today on the weather and the fact that my bangs look really, really bad today.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Dots and Loops

My life is becoming a bulleted list.
  • Said to me by Darling Mollie in reference to a chore she's been dreading and putting off: "Holy crap, I want to do this as much as I want to go to a vomitorium for a free enema!". Want to know why I knit her socks? Because she never fails to amuse me with lines like this!
  • Project for the week: Take my vast collection of Christmas CDs, rip them and then sort through the Christmas mp3s I already have to remove duplicates and get them loaded on Bixente the iPod. Come Friday he's going to be an all Christmas, all the time carol playing machine.
  • My new mission in shopping is to find a curling iron with a large barrel. So far I've been SOL. Is stringy and limp straight hair still in?
  • My mother called around 10:45pm and scared me to death. She very seldom calls so late and when she did I assumed there was some sort of problem. So I could pay for the call I told her to hang up and called her back. She answered and I blurted out "Mama! What's wrong? Who's sick?". "Oh! No one's sick," she replied. "I just wanted to know if you want a fruitcake for Christmas!". You know I'd like to blame this on her Alzheimer's disease but she did the same sort of thing twenty years ago.
  • I flirted briefly with the idea of making twenty bulleted points since this is day twenty of NaBloPoMo - being as I'm such a showoff - and then I pulled my head out of my rear and remembered how it made my brain hurt to do fourteen.
  • Six seems to be my dot limit so let's switch to loops. Knitting is merely making interconnecting loops with string and a couple sticks. Here's my latest batch of loops still on sticks:
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These socks are going to be so adorable! They're for Darling Mollie knitted from Regia Silk - 55% merino wool, 20% silk, 25% polyacrylic. I had started to make her Snicket Socks but this yarn's bad for splitting so I switched to this basketweave ribbing pattern. Fun pattern to knit and would you just look at the cuteness of these socks? I could just cry over how precious this pattern is with this yarn! Look!

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Darling Mollie's gonna have to come up with some seriously hilarious lines to pay for these babies.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Lull

When you fly from the US to Europe you reach a part of the flight where you nearly go mad from the anticipation of finally arriving at your destination. You've had your dinner, watched a couple movies and you flip through the in-flight music stations over and over and over. You're somewhere over Iceland and there's a good three hours until you land. You're sick of reading, you're antsy from sitting still for so long, the drone of the engines has bored into your brain and you can't see a thing outside because it's still dark. You'd like to get up and maybe wash your face and pee but the guy sitting next to you is still asleep and you're just hoping he'll wake up on his own any minute now and let you out as he didn't seem to be the sort that would relish being awakened by you.

And that, my friends, is the point we've reached with NaBloPoMo. That holy-shit-is-this-ever-going-to-end-?-point where bailing looks tempting but it's too late now because you'd never survive that 35,000 foot drop. And skipping a day of posting is that plunge you can't overcome.

I'm hoping that in the coming week something - anything! - will happen to give me something about which to write. It would be like finally getting breakfast served to you two hours before landing. It's not great but it's destracting and it helps kill some time.

In a week it'll be that time when the flight attendents collect the blankets and the headphones. Damn near home free.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

That Which Amuses

Today has found me engaged in two of my favorite hobbies - watching classic films (today it was Shadow of a Doubt and Rear Window - it's a Hitchcock sort of day) and knitting.

Some of y'all like to good-naturedly tease me about my near constant talk of knitting and I'll admit that I do tend to go on and on about it. But knitting is pretty much the only hobby I've had where I felt not just entertained but really fulfilled by it. I have other hobbies and interests but instead of it being something passive like watching films or reading - two of my other hobbies - this hobby is active. It's something that I get better at the more I do it. It's something that challenges me and I need the challenge. Too often I get a little too comfortable with being content. I forget to push myself to do something that's not going to be easy for me right away. I need that nudge once in a while to set a goal - something currently beyond my reach - and then attempt to accomplish it. While not everything I knit is a challenge, knitting gives me the opportunity to try a new skill or attempt to make something that I'm not certain will turn out but will at least be a learning experience.

I think any of us who have active hobbies - knitting or cooking or photography or painting or writing - have one added bonus that passive hobbies don't usually give. We have the opportunity to see a garment or a meal or a picture or poem and say "I made this. This exsists because of me.".

Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday Shuffle - Two Treats in One Edition

I made it to day seventeen of NaBloPoMo before resorting to a meme but it's a music shuffle meme and I shuffle on Friday anyway so it's really more like a Friday Shuffle with a theme! Yeah, that's it!

I'll rationalize any way I see fit.

Meme nicked from hamblog.

If Your Life Had a Soundtrack What Would the Music Be?

How this works:

1. Open your music library.
2. Set to shuffle and press play.
3. For every event, list what song is playing.
4. Next event, shuffle to the next song.
5. Don't lie - go with what comes up, just like life.

Opening Credits:
Never Be Lonely - The Feeling

Waking Up:
There She Goes Again - Marshall Crenshaw

First Day at School:
On A Carousel - The Hollies

Falling in Love:
Magical World - Blackmore's Night

Breaking Up:
Grazed Knees - Snow Patrol

Caught Up In You - .38 Special

Life's Okay:
Where You Lead - Carole King

Mental Breakdown:
Woo Hoo - The's [Which caused the mental breakdown]

What's The Frequency, Kenneth? - REM

Welcome To Paradise - Green Day

Getting Back Together:
Stardust - Glenn Miller Orchestra

Stand And Deliver - Adam Ant

Birth of Child:
Every Little Thing - The Beatles

Final Battle:
I'm Here To Get My Baby Out Of Jail - Everly Brothers

Death Scene:
All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down - The Mavericks (feat. Flaco Jimenez) [Mmmm... the yummy Raul Malo as I die...]

Funeral Song:
Instant Karma! - John Lennon

End Credits:
Mrs. Robinson - The Lemonheads

Y'all enjoy your weekend. Have lots of treats of every variety.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Lesson As Fresh As Ever

A year ago today I moved into this apartment. We were desperate to get away from the freakish family living above us and moved to what has turned out to be a very enjoyable place to live.

This time last year I was surrounded by moving boxes, so tired that I was twitching and unable to find so much as a fork with which to eat supper. A year later has found me comfortable and happy and instead of being surrounded by the confusion and noise of movers and cable installers I spent the day playing games on the computer with B. That's it. That's all I've done today. Not enough to even write about.

But since you'd like to read at least a little something and in an effort to demonstrate how hectic that moving time was, here's an entry from that time describing the day after our move in. Pay close attention - there's a warning in there for all of us to heed. Step into the time machine and follow me back a year.

After going to bed the night before just before midnight - and anyone who knows me knows I don't ever wake up and go to bed on the same day - B and I woke up early to a quiet apartment full of stuff I couldn't find. Thankfully for B my MIL had some instant coffee, an old electric kettle and a cup bought at the dollar store sitting on the kitchen windowsill so breakfast consisted of water for me, instant coffee for B and leftover cookies from the afternoon moving day coffee break the day before.

I still had a few things at my old apartment - cleaning supplies and whatnot - and so I found some clean clothes to put on and headed uptown to fetch those items and to borrow some silverware and a couple plates from my MIL until I could locate my own. While I had the car out I had the idea to drop by the grocery to get a few needed items and decided that frozen pizza would serve us well for supper. No need to find pesky pots and pans - just throw pizzas on the oven rack, bake and on to the plates. Dinner is served.

It wasn't until I got home from the store that I realized that frozen pizza was going to be impossible until I found the rack for the oven. And when I got home from the store I also realized that I'd made another horrible error.

On Tuesday night while packing my kitchen I took things from my freezer to store in my MIL's until my refrigerator was moved, plugged in and working. There were some pretty ancient items in the freezer featuring two plastic containers of beef rouladen and sauce that I'd planned on throwing away. Evidently I'd become sidetracked during this portion of my moving preparation because those freezer items were never removed from the freezer and they had in the meantime melted, leaked (the freezer portion of my refrigerator consists of three large drawers that sit below the fridge part) and refroze. It was like a frozen rouladen bloodbath.

I did have a few things going my way. First, it was cold outside so I could keep the refrigerator stuff out on the balcony while I defrosted and cleaned my refrigerator/freezer. Second, I found the oven rack so the dinner pizza was on.

After cleaning and turning back on the refrigerator/freezer I noticed that #1 I was getting frozen condensation on the freezer drawers and #2 the freezer didn't sound right when I closed the door. Turns out the freezer door was out of alignment and while the cabinet door would closed (the refrigerator is built into a kitchen cabinet), the actual seal on the freezer door wouldn't meet. It was too late in the day to call the Kitchen Guy so I planned on making that the first thing I'd do on Friday.

Things continued to go okay. Unpacking was done. Essential things like TV/harddrive recorder/digital TV service decoder box remote controls were found. Pizza was eaten. I could finally get some time to myself to take a bath and wash my filthy hair.

In my old apartment I didn't have a bathtub. Instead I had a shower whose size approximated a large phonebooth. Therefore for my new apartment I had no shower curtain, no rod on which to hang a shower curtain and no no-slip tub liner...just one for a teeny shower stall. I thought I'd take a bath, wash my hair and then over the next day or two I'd go buy these essential items so I could safely shower without falling down and hosing the bathroom down with water.

I haven't had a bath in years. I honestly couldn't remember the last time I'd actually taken a bath. Even when I had a bathtub, I only took showers. There's something about sitting in water that now contains the dirt I'm washing from my body that creeps me out. Still I was achy from hefting boxes and the like and I was looking forward to relaxing in some nice, hot water.

Germans, despite whatever stereotype Augustus Gloop may condure up for you, aren't really fat people. Sure, they have fat people but Germans aren't nearly as fat as Americans. I am American. I have an American ass. I was sitting in a German bathtub. Now the fun starts.

It was definitely a snug fit in this tub. Still, I was enjoying the bath and it made my aching feet feel wonderful to be soaking in hot water. I bathed and washed my hair and pulled out the drain plug and as the tub was emptying I thought to myself "You know, I don't think I can stand up without slipping.". I was using the small, square shower liner that I had but what I needed was a long tub liner to ensure that I wasn't going to take a header while getting out of the tub. If I scooched the liner down to my feet to give myself some grip my ass might slide down the tub. If I sit on the liner then my feet might slip out from under me.

I thought that my feet getting some grip was a better alternative so I lifted my butt up slightly to scrooch the mat down towards my feet.

Call me ample. Call me plump. Call me well rounded. Call me fat if you wish. Go ahead, use whatever adjective you wish. Personally I've begun to call my ass "Hoover Dam" because when I lifted myself off the mat, a river of water dammed up behind my butt rushed towards the drain. This, of course, did nothing to help my grip.

I got the mat down towards my feet and realized that it didn't really matter. I simply didn't have the power to heft myself up from that narrow, steep sided bathtub. I reached for the grab bar and made the discovery that one side wasn't screwed down too well and that any strenuous pulling may cause it to come out from the wall and cause me to go flying into the washing machine on the other side of the room.

At this point I thought I should call out a warning to B that I was having some trouble getting out of the tub. Ever the cool one he just replied "Okay!".

I had the idea that if maybe I turned onto my stomach I could draw my knees up under me, get in a kneeling position and then I'd be home free to grab the sides of the tub and stand up. With a bit of effort I did get myself turned over but the bottom of the tub is so narrow that I couldn't freely move to draw my knees up under me.

It was at this point I contemplated having my MIL get on a streetcar, come to our apartment and to help me get out of that tub. I had actual thoughts of having a skinny 71 year old woman help lift a wet, naked 43 year woman twice her size from a bathtub.

Desperation makes you think some strange things.

I figured that for maximum maneuverability I needed to get myself as narrow as possible in that tub and that means getting on my side - I'd think of the next step after that. With a bit more effort I was now on my right side, wet, cold and panicking.

"Please God. Please. You know what I need. Please help me get out of this tub without injuring myself. Please. I have to take care of B. He needs me. Please God, help me get out of this tub."

I tucked my arm under me, pushed myself up into a semi-sitting position and by some miracle - and I do indeed call it a miracle - I was able to sling my left leg over the side of the tub and somehow scrooch myself over until my foot hit solid ground. I was home free after that.

I dried myself and dressed myself in some warm pajamas and went into the livingroom to let B see that I was indeed fine.

"Don't you ever sit down in that bathtub again. Ever. For any reason. All I could think was me having to call the rescue squad and having to say 'Hi, I'm a quadriplegic and my wife is stuck naked and wet in our bathtub and she's unable to get out.'. All I could imagine is them breaking down the door to get in and the next day the TV stations showing up to interview the wacky American lady who got her ass stuck in the bathtub!".

Damn. And I've always wanted to be on TV too.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Black Haired Doll

A couple weeks ago when B and I were watching a show about Tahiti I mentioned to him that when I was little my father went to Tahiti a couple times on business. On one of the trips he brought back for me a Tahitian doll - one of a Tahitian dancer. She had long, black hair with a white flower tucked in it, a perfect figure, a grass skirt and a little bra-like top to match, and a necklace of real wee tiny shells. I adored that doll and I often wonder what happened to her after I moved away from my parents' home and left my childhood things behind there.

Until I was about eleven years old my father traveled on long business trips for the engineering company for which he worked and he would often bring me back small gifts. After the Vietnam war was over he went there for about three months to aid in finding downed American planes and when he returned he gave my mother, my sister and me jade pendents. On one trip he brought me back a miniature porcelain tea set that I played with for years. The teapot had written on it in gold "Atlanta" and it had a picture of what I assume is the state capital building. I know now that he must have picked it up in the airport in Atlanta and I can picture him rushing into a gift shop to get it for me on his way back home, not wanting to disappoint me when I asked him the inevitable "Didja bring me something, Daddy?".

This was all before the time when our relationship grew more fragile. Before the days when he went on drinking binges that made him surly and argumentative. Before the days when he grew more distant and disapproving and I often saw him only as being demanding. It was before I would go out of my way to avoid him in order to avoid his harsh rebukes.

I never enjoyed the close relationship that I saw my friends have with their own fathers. I longed for that and had no idea of how to obtain it from my father. It seems as if I didn't know him very well and I was scared to try. Scared to open myself to the possibility of rejection. Instead our relationship turned into one of confrontations and disagreements and I'm afraid I spent more time screaming ugly words to him than not or else avoiding him completely.

Years later when my nephews were born a slow change started with my dad. He could still be harsh and distant but he was crazy about my brother's boys. One day when coming by my parents' home on my way home from work I found my dad up on a step ladder hanging Christmas lights on the porch. He hadn't done it in at least fifteen years and when I asked my mother about it (notice that I didn't bother to ask my dad even though I passed right by him) she said that he'd told her "The boys (meaning my nephews) need to have Christmas lights.". I was touched by this even though there was a slight pang of envy. How come me and my siblings didn't rate outdoor Christmas lights after I'd reached the age of eight years old?

There's a popular story in my family about the time in early 1991 when my father and mother went to Los Angeles to visit my oldest brother and his family. They'd all driven down to San Diego to visit Sea World and sometime during the visit my brother had his two oldest boys with him looking at something and my mother and sister-in-law were with the youngest boy, Stephen, in his stroller and my father was nowhere to be seen. My SIL left Stephen with my mom and went off to look for my dad. A few minutes later she returned and said "You won't believe what I've just seen.".

My father was famous for hating long lines. Waiting in line made him wildly impatient and he would simply leave and do without something if the line to get it was more than maybe three deep. My SIL found my dad in a gift shop in an extremely long line so he could purchase for Stephen a ball cap that said on the front "I (heart) Baby Shamu". They were all - my mother, my brother and my SIL - incredulous that my father would wait in a long line just to buy that cap.

When my dad caught up with them and put the cap on Stephen's head one of them asked "Why would you wait in such a long line to get that thing?" and my dad replied simply "Stevie needed it.".

And there he was again. There was the man that brought me back a jade pendent from Vietnam. A snowglobe from Canada. A stuffed bear from California. The man who rushed into an airport gift shop in Atlanta to buy me a miniature tea set. The man who brought me back a black haired doll from Tahiti.

A couple months after that day at Sea World my father had a cerebral aneurysm that left him in a persistant vegetative state. For the next nine months until he died he was cared for us by our family at home. I'd like to think that during those last months of his life the harsh, judgemental, distant father I had for most of my life was gone and in his place was the daddy I had when I was five years old. The granddaddy my nephews had.

Today is my daddy's birthday. He'd have been eighty-one years old. We lost him when he was only sixty-six. I'd like to say that I think of him every day but I'm afraid that I don't. I loved him dearly but I didn't really know him like I wanted to know him. I don't always have the best memories of him but I'm learning to put them in their proper place. I'm learning how to forgive those old hurts that left me with scars and put me on the path to make some very unwise decision over the years. I'm starting to think less often about those long, hurtful years and remember more often the sweet moments when I had a daddy that would wait in a line for me to get me something just because he thought I needed it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Fourteen Dots

It's day fourteen of NaBloPoMo and while I haven't yet had to resort to a meme or knitting photos (don't cheer - the month ain't over yet), I'm breaking out the bulleted list. But I'll do fourteen of them so it'll be all theme-y and stuff.

  • I'm a little concerned about the cook at the Chinese take-out place I frequent. Since the day a couple months ago when it was closed for no apparent reason he's been gone. His wife is doing the cooking now and while she's good, he was better. She makes her sauces thinner than he does and doesn't put enough bean sprouts in the lo-mein but she does always give me extra spring rolls so I don't complain.
  • I don't even know that the cook and the wife are married - I just always assumed they were. She was able to chew his ass out in Vietnamese in a way only a wife can.
  • To the players and coaches of Bayern-München: Could you please stop sucking? Look, I know you won on Saturday and you're still in the DFB Cup and you've made it into the next round of the Champion's League but it's not enough. You're simply going to have to do better. Special note to my boyfriend, Claudio Pizarro: Just a few more goals, okay? I don't ask for much.
  • I was thinking that perhaps B was going to surprise me for Christmas this year and get me a laptop. He's asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said "Well, I'd love a laptop!" but we just bought him a new computer two months ago so I said "But I know we have to wait.". Still, I was hopeful but today he asked me again what I wanted for Christmas. And I don't even know what I want. A laptop is all I really want. Looks like I ask for books again this year!
  • Ask me how pissed I was to finish the second in a pair of Fetching handwarmers and to run out of yarn before I could put in the thumb. This is the sixth pair I've knit and I've always had enough in a skein to finish them plus a couple yards to spare and this time I run out. I was so pissed I threw the unfinished glove in a cabinet and cast on for a pair of Snicket Socks for Darling Mollie. Thin merino and silk blend yarn on 2mm needles. This ought to be fun!
  • It disappointed me that the nail salon that's next to my apartment building has its Christmas decorations up already. I was even more disappointed to see that the giant plastic Santa face in the window looks like the face of a homicidal maniac. Ho, ho, ho!
  • I have decided to take advantage of the predicted warm weather that will be here for a few days and clean the inside of my car. If I spun the dog hair currently covering its seats I would have enough yarn to knit an Irish Wolfhound.
  • Betcha Belinda would tell me that my next dog should be a poodle and then I wouldn't have this problem.
  • I'm at the point in my Babylon 5 box set where the story is especially intense and I am positively wallowing in all it's geeky glory.
  • Okay, I've been at this for over an hour now. Fourteen bulleted points may have been a bit too ambitious.
  • What better proof is there that I've had a most uneventful day?
  • I just got email from my sister with an attached video of a man evidently trying to remove his pubic hair by taking a Bic lighter to it and yes, we both found it to be hilarious. You can just imagine what holiday dinners with us around were like.
  • I need to call my mother and I'm sort of dreading it. I haven't talked to her in about three weeks and she's going to chew me about about it. Nevermind that I've tried to call and would only get voice mail. Her memory problems keeps her from remembering that I left her messages but she has no problem remembering when the last time it was that I called her.
  • Fourteen. Over the finish line. Done. Now get me a Gatorade and point me to the showers.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Monday Kinder Egg Blogging

With magic changing photo! I know y'all dig the magic changing photo.

I've been a little disappointed in the toys I've been receiving lately in my Kinder Surprise Eggs. I haven't hit upon any good figurine collections and the toys aren't quite as cute as they once were. Maybe my egg picking abilities are off.

Well anyway, let's see what this little pile of plastic made. As ever, run your cursor over the photo to see it change.

A car. My umteen zillionth car. And my disappointment deepens.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

They Don't Let No Angels Out At Night

Yesterday I confessed that I'm intrigued by the 11:11 thing and at the same time I confessed that I believe that we're surrounded by angels and I realized that to some I now sound like a world class flake.

Hey, I met my husband online and moved to Germany nine years ago to marry him. If that didn't make you think I'm flakey then I guess a little belief in angels shouldn't shake you up any.

I know to some belief in angels is akin to believing in fairies and elves and fairy godmothers and competent politicians but as a Christian I believe in their exsistance because they're mentioned in the Bible. I know other religions such as Islam and Judaism embrace belief in angels as well.

I don't believe angels are the souls of departed humans. I don't believe angels ever were or ever will be human. I believe they are spirits that are messengers and helpers of God and I believe they are around us all the time. I believe that angels observe our lives on earth and can hear our thoughts without judgement or interference. Since they don't judge us, I don't believe they are happy or sad about the things we humans do but they do know our emotions and have the ability to comfort us without us necessarily knowing it because their observations of us have allowed them to learn when we're upset or angry or frightened. I believe that angels have always been in exsistance - they observed Earth before humans lived on Earth - and I believe they never die. I believe that angels have no free will of their own and will not interfere in the free will of humans unless directed to do so by God. Angels serve God by protecting us, helping us and giving us messages from God that can exsist in many forms and all is done at the direction of God. I believe that angels can take human form and perform feats that humans are unable to perform but for the most part they are simply around us observing and waiting for God to direct them to have contact with humans.

I'm comforted with the idea of being surrounded by angels. I like the feeling that I am never alone and am always watched but the watcher doesn't judge me for my actions or thoughts. I also elicit the help of angels and if it is God's will that they help me, they'll do so. Every time I have to lift B I always say "Help me angels!" and if they're able to, they will.

I know that as I sleep I have angels around me. As B and I say goodnight to each other we say to one another "Angels on your pillow.". I find it interesting that B is sometimes a doubting believer of God but he's much more accepting of the idea of angels.

I think many people don't necessarily fear being dead but fear the process of dying and one of their biggest fears is dying alone. I had the same fear until I began to accept more my belief in angels. Now I believe that as I take my last breaths on earth I will not be alone as angels will be with me and when my spirit returns to its creator, angels will be there to greet me.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Today's date is 11/11. It reminds me of my friend, Zoe, because it's her birthday. It reminds me that it's Veteren's Day in the US and the UK and Canada. It also reminds me that the Karneval season in Germany begins on 11/11 at 11:11.

A few years ago I noticed that I was seeing the numerals 11:11 quite often - sometimes three or four times a week. I mentioned it to friends and some reported the same - that they see 11:11 frequently enough that they take special notice of it when they do.

I looked up to see if there was any meaning behind 11:11 and on a few websites I read that it was a sort of cosmic alarm clock - that when one sees the numbers frequently - and there are people more likely to see 11:11 than others - something in the universe is trying to get one's attention. One is suppose to then be more in-tune with their surroundings because one is to learn something or become more aware of something.

It's a nice thought but then I wondered about the time before the advent of digital clocks and other things that show numbers. Was there another cosmic alarm clock for the "tuned in" or did the cosmos not choose to wake us up until technology advanced to the point of having digits constantly around us?

I've decided to put my own spin on it and I have my own little routine. I will often keep looking at the 11:11 until it changes to 11:12 - though not if I see it while I'm driving. I believe angels are all around us observing our lives, a la Der Himmel über Berlin or City of Angels and so I take that moment to think of the angels. I also think of my dad, think of Zoe and think of Sundra, a mutual friend of mine and Zoe's who also gets into the 11:11 thing.

I don't know of the cosmos is trying to get my attention or if I'm supposed to tune in to something great and powerful but I know that the frequency of my seeing 11:11 has only increased over the years. Maybe I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing - thinking of dear people and angels. I know it makes me happy to spend that minute having those thoughts and perhaps that's what the cosmos wants - for me to be happy.

And happy birthday, Zoe. Hope it was a sweet day for you.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday Shuffle - Just Don't Care Edition

I have just spent about 35 minutes writing about how today would have been my 20th wedding anniversary if I were still married to my first husband but screw that. I can't actually believe I would spend 35 minutes thinking about the topic, nevermind composing prose around it, especially when it involves the one person on earth that I truly do not give one iota of a shit about. There's no leftover love. There's no lasting hate. It's pure apathy. Hell, I can barely remember what the guy looks like and we were together for over twelve years.

Bixente, the iPod is one guy I would never forget. And there's forever love between us. Let's shuffle.
  1. Die Letzte Version - Herbert Grönemeyer
  2. Letterbomb - Green Day
  3. Fat Bottomed Girls - Queen (Poppy, when I hit the lottery, I'm sending the midgets and boombox over your way.)
  4. #9 Dream - John Lennon
  5. All My Loving - The Beatles
  6. Someday Someway - Marshall Crenshaw
  7. Rosealia - Better Than Ezra
  8. Mr. Brown - Glow
  9. Little Willy - Sweet
  10. Scarecrow People - XTC
Y'all have a weekend full of stuff you'll always care about.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Wildest Dreams

One of the things I like about knitting (Oh would you stop!? This isn't going to be about knitting. Get your hand off that mouse!) is that when I'm working on a project that doesn't require that I pay devoted attention to it I have the opportunity to let my mind wander, mostly about offbeat things I would like to do or experience.

~ I'd like to have free access to the White House. Not because I want to hang out with politicians because mostly likely I probably wouldn't. I'd just like to be able to wander through it. I've been in the White House a few times, even times without a tour when I was with folks that worked there, and it's always fascinated me. I love the furnishings and the decor and I'd love to do things like watch the volunteers decorate it for the holidays or be in the kitchen. Sit in the Blue Room with a book or find where all the secret passages are. Run around the Rose Garden or watch the tour groups pass through. I'd like to be known to everyone and completely tolerated because they know I'm not interested in state secrets as much as I'm interested in the history of that house. And if I happen to run into a head of state as I stroll around I promise not to ask for an autograph.

~ It would be good to be filthy rich and travel to less than common places. Fly to Azerbaijan or Slovinia. Stay in a beautiful place and with the guidance of a native just look around to my heart's content. And I'd like to take a car tour through the US. Get a fabulous car and then take all the time I want driving from the east coast to the west and cover as many states as I could cram in. No time limits and no interstates - just wind from one place to another.

~ I'd like to have a job where all I do is read books. Remember Robert Redford in "Three Days of the Condor"? I am not a spy. I just read books! We read everything that's published in the world. And we... we feed the plots - dirty tricks, codes - into a computer, and the computer checks against actual CIA plans and operations. I look for leaks, I look for new ideas... We read adventures and novels and journals. I... I... Who'd invent a job like that? I don't know if I'd want to necessarily do it for the CIA but to just read books and maybe tell someone about what's in them sounds fabulous.

~ I wish I'd had a job where I didn't have to be at a certain place at a certain time all the time. Where everything revolved around me being in place all day long. Every job I've ever had was like that - everything was tied to time. It doesn't matter what job it would be - photographer or musician or private investigator or maybe a CIA book reader - but to have the freedom to get up and go out and then return when I wanted and not have my whole day revolve around a clock sounds good to me.

~ Wouldn't it be great to have every single thing you wear made specifically for you? Everything - from underclothes to shoes to jeans to sweaters to hats to coats - every single thing you wear to have been custom made for you. To have everything fit exactly right and be exactly right for you in terms of style.

~ I'd like to have an amazingly talented photographer take my portrait. I used to wish that I could have my portrait painted but I'm more intrigued with the idea of a photograph. Not necessarily one that would make me look beautiful and glamorous but instead one that would really look like me. One that I would see and recognize immediately as the person I know myself to be.

Me in those custom made clothes.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

When Your Mom's a Jackal

This is post number 666. Not that I get freaked out about such things. Well a little. Maybe more than a little. No really, just a little - I'm not one of those people who would refuse to have a credit card that happened to have 666 contained in the numbers or if the sum of numbers in my phone number and zip code added up to 666.

It reminds me though of The Omen. That movie came out when I was fourteen years old and someone took me to see it - pretty sure it was my oldest brother. Scared me to pieces. Creepy, ghostly white Mrs. Baylock. The priest getting impaled with the long metal rod. Jennings getting his head sliced off by the big plate of glass. And that creepy-ass-hangs-herself nanny. "Look at me, Damien! It's all for you!". That made me shriek in the theater.

As far as I know the kid who played Damien never did any more acting. That guy would have to be in his mid thirties by now. You think he clears a room by just mentioning who he is?

"Nice to meet you! Say, did you know I played Damien in The Omen?

"Wow! Really! Hey, you know I think I left my lights on in the car..."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


This morning found me crying.

Crying is my safety valve. When my emotions, positive or negative, get cranked up to eleven the tears start. It's my way of keeping my head from exploding. Not howling, boo-hoo crying but tears that don't stop until I can get settled back down.

B's digestive system has been screwed up for going on a month now and since Sunday the circulation in his legs is beginning to worry me. It's all part of his screwed physiology from his spinal cord injury and it's just one more thing for me to worry about. If I had to give my occupation it would be "The One Who Worries About B".

Sometimes I get so resentful of his injury. I'm not resentful of B or the care he needs but I resent the injury itself. I resent how it's a burden on him and how he can never escape it. I resent that we can't live even one day like everyone else. I think of the things we miss out on - vacations and visiting where we like and going everywhere together. Being able to hold his hand as we walk down the street or dancing together. Even just going outside without it being a long, drawn-out process that takes the effort of a pile of people. I resent that he's being cheated out of things and it cheats me out as well. I'm even resentful of my resentment - that it takes up space in my life.

I wish I could be more like B. He seems to take it all in stride but then again he's had more practice than I've had. He's the one who really has a right to be bitter and resentful and he never is. He never complains. He just learned to live with what life gave him. He finds what's good and appreciates it.

I wish I had that sort of grace. I wish I could shut off the resentment. I wish I didn't get pissed about a spinal cord injury but I do. I get angry that the person I love with all my heart got screwed out of a normal life when he was twenty-four years old. I just resent how it controls us both and how it always will.

I had my bout with tears and B kissed me and comforted me and shortly thereafter I left to go to the bakery. Outside I saw an older couple with their son. They live in the apartment building next to mine and I see them rather often. Their son is grown - he may be in his thirties by now - and he's mentally and physically disabled. His twisted body is stuck in a wheelchair and faithfully his parents care for him. I wondered about their resentment. I wondered if they even had resentment. It seemed to me that they had more reason to be resentful. I don't know the nature of their son's disability - if he was born that way or if it was due to injury or illness - but I know it's not what they barganed for when they had a child. I chose to marry a disabled man, they had one handed to them without invitation. I wonder if they at times resent their son's disabilities and how they must dance to its tune. I wonder if they resent never being able to release their child into the world to make his own way and having their elder years free for themselves. I wonder if they resent having to worry about what will happen to their child once they're gone.

I smiled and said good morning to them as I passed and the son gave me a big smile back. Like B, he's the one who should really be resentful of his lot in life and yet he seems to just be who he is. He's able to know what's good in life and have it give him a smile.

His smile put tears in my eyes again. Just all that emotion bubbling up.

Monday, November 06, 2006


~ 4 cups of tea
~ 2 newspapers and 1 bill
~ 8 stoplights
~ 1 slice of Zupfkuchen
~ 110 meters yarn, 55% merino wool, 33% microfiber, 12% cashmere
~ 12 degrees
~ 2 loads laundry
~ 45 minutes of napping
~ 5 meters of extension cord
~ 3 flights of stairs
~ 40 meters of escalator
~ 2 bags of trash
~ 2 liters of water
~ 30 blogs read

Just the things that make up a Monday.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

When Day is Like Night

After we roll back the clocks to standard time Germany hits dark thirty well before anything I experienced in the United States. In early November it's getting dark by 4:45pm and by 5:30pm we've hit pitch. Come December it gets worse and come shortly after 4pm we've got complete dark. It was December when I first moved to Germany and if my homesickness depression wasn't enough to do me in, on top of it was the absolute funk I was put in at having to turn on lamps when mid-afternoon rolled around. Add to that the fact that in November and December Germany isn't famous for its sunny, clear blue skies during the short daylight hours and it's no wonder that late fall/early winter in Germany feels like a siege.

But December has something November can't boast - Christmas lights. A day in November goes like this: dark followed by overcast followed by dark. December is dark followed by overcast followed by faint dots of lights followed by dark followed by a bright, sparkly, cheerful, Chrismassy world. By the time mid-December arrives you're so grateful to see something else besides the absence of light that you welcome any array of lighted Christmas tackiness.

Who knew that neon Santas, glowing Holy Families, sparkling reindeer and row after row of plastic candle pyramids could be a cure for Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Wanna Bet?

While I don't watch it as religiously as I used to, I always have Wetten, dass...? on in the background on the Saturday evenings that its shown.

My favorite stunt was the learning disabled kid who could tell what brand of yogurt it was by him tapping on the empty cup. Tap, tap, tap...Bauer!! Tap, tap, tap...Danone! It was pretty amazing to watch.

I have just seen my new favorite stunt.

Two men listen through headphones to a song randomly picked from a group of about thirty or so and by moving their pectoral muscles in time with the song, a man sitting opposite them who can't hear the music can tell what song they're listening to.

I often miss American TV but they never have on good stuff like that stunt.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Friday Shuffle - Street Performer Edition

I know there's a festival going on when I see the Indians.

Magdeburg has its share of festivals and carnivals and the newest is the Eulenspiegelfest which started today and will go on through the weekend.

There's a popular middle ages figure from middle Germany named Till Eulenspiegel who is the subject of various legends and tales and is often depicted as a jester or street entertainer. He seems to have been a real person but the stories about him are more legend much in the same way Americans have built up the legend of Johnny Appleseed from a real person. One such legend about him was that he would sit on the roof of the city hall in Magdeburg and throw things at people in the market square below and say rude things about them. On the far side of the market square and just steps away from my favorite restaurant there is a fountain depicting Till Eulenspiegel. He's often shown with an owl and a mirror (Eule is German for owl and Spiegel is German for mirror) but his name is actually derived from ulen and spegel - old German words for "wipe" and "rear" which becomes Ul'n spegel and taken in the vulgar means "lick my ass".

We're having a festival to celebrate the "lick my ass" guy. Who said Germans don't have a sense of humor?

Anyway, I started this by mentioning the Indians.

There's a group of Indian flute players that play here at virtually every city festival and the Eulenspiegelfest is no exception. I don't know what sort of Indians they are - as the risk of making an ass of myself I have to say that I can't just look at an indigenous American and know if they're from North or South America. I mostly see them during the colder months and often I see them in those ch'ullu hats one sees in the Andes so I thought they may be from Peru but then sometimes, like today, I see them decked out in buckskin and one was wearing one of those elaborate feather headdresses so maybe they're Indians from North America. All I really know is the license plate on their van says they live in Leipzig.

In a way they depress me. If I'm there where they are I often will stop and watch them for a while. They always seem to draw a fair size crowd and toddlers really love them, alway dancing along with the musicians. They sell CDs of their music (I've even purchased one in the past for a lady in Canada I knew who loved Indian flute music) and Indian style jewelry and I have no evidence that they don't like what they do, especially since I see them year after year, but I feel sad after watching them. They do their performance by playing a CD of a synthesizer track and then they play the flute parts live so it all becomes a sort of mix between native flute music, Zamfir and Yanni. It sounds nice but there's something slightly cheesy about it and that's what bums me out. That to make some money they have taken their sacred music and turned it into something bland to intice the bland music palate. Still, this is my problem. It's my interpretation of their music. It's their culture and they're the ones who are better judges of what to do with it than I am. I'm not seeing the bigger picture and I know it. I'm being judgemental about something I don't have the right to be judgemental about. If they're happy and their audience is happy, who am I to say what they're doing is a sellout?

On to the shuffle. Bixente the iPod is my street performer and home performer and isn't, at times, above offering up something cheesy.
  1. 19th Nervous Breakdown - Rolling Stones
  2. Sweet Jane - Cowboy Junkies
  3. Shakin' - Eddie Money
  4. Working For The Weekend - Loverboy (Poppy, I heard that laugh from over here.)
  5. Born Again - Badly Drawn Boy
  6. Colours In Waves - South
  7. Sea Of Love - The Honeydrippers
  8. On The Wings Of A Nightingale - Everly Brothers
  9. This Years Love - David Gray
  10. A Thousand Trees - Stereophonics
I won't even second guess Bixente's choices. They're for him to make for his own reasons.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Thursday Haiku Blogging

For Sari. She proudly keeps the Thursday Haiku banner aloft.

Shameful addiction
Babylon 5 every night
This cursed box set.

Postman at my door
Brings me package - brand new shirts!
All sweet, smooth cotton.

Had weird dreams all night
In a rock band! Played guitar!
Damn! I wanted drums!

Fans in the basement
Bring up soon the Christmas stuff
Seasons are changing.

Weekend plans are set
Movies! Popcorn! Knitting too!
And Babylon 5.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Full Disclosure

I was thinking today that I have all sorts of readers - people I know in person, people I met online and then met in person, people I only know online, people I've known for years, people who just started reading here and with NaBloPoMo going on I may have out-of-the-blue strangers reading here.

Therefore in an effort to be completely upfront about myself perhaps I should confess some of my quirks. Just so's you know what you're getting here.

~ It creeps me out to lay in bed with my clothes on. Daytime clothes, I mean. If I'm taking a nap I can lay on top of the bed but I would never get under the covers.

~ I find nothing wrong with playing the same song over and over without a break for a couple hours. My apologies if you're stuck with me during those couple hours.

~ I fry foods wearing a glove. I become completely unglued if grease pops on my hand.

~ I love hotels. If I were wealthy I'd live in a hotel.

~ I love museums too. I wish I worked in a museum.

~ One of the things I miss most about needed to drive somewhere every day is singing in the car. Singing in the streetcar just isn't the same.

~ I prefer to eat M&Ms by cracking them in half, digging out the peanut with my teeth and then eating the other half of the chocolate. Alternative method: leaving them in my mouth until all the candy shell is nearly melted off before chewing them up.

C'mon. You know you do at least one of the above yourself.