Dixie Peach: February 2007

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


This is my 750th post since I started this blog back in August, 2004. I'm wondering how many words I've written in all these posts? How many photos posted? How many different songs have shuffled up each Friday? Most importantly, how many dots on what must be the few dozens of bulleted lists I've written?

I have no answer so let's just add a few more. Maybe I can get that number up to 750 as well.
  • Looniest thing I've seen today: A man riding his bicycle down the street with one of those little box on wheels thing trailing behind. That wasn't the loony part. He had a twin sized mattress strapped onto the little trailer. That wasn't the loony part either. The loony part was me thinking "You know, that is actually a pretty good idea. He's getting that mattress home easier than I would be able to after trying to stuff it into my car.". Actually the really loony part was the fact that he had a big ass Rottweiler on a leash trotting beside him. A guy was riding a bike while holding a Rottweiler on a leash and had a mattress strapped on behind him. And was weaving quite well through the pedestrians. Respect!
  • Oh. I forgot to mention that above mentioned big ass Rottweiler had a stick in his mouth. Well. I say stick. It was a bit more than a stick. This was more like a branch. Really more like a limb. Why don't I ever have my camera on me when I see stuff like this on the street?
  • Lately when I pass a certain spot on the street I feel a weird mix of amusement, horror and excitement. Just down the street from my apartment a new...well...they call it a "saloon" will be opening soon. Called "Nashville" it sells itself with the three words "saloon - BBQ - line dance bar". Amusement because it just seems so incongruous in a city like Magdeburg. Horror because few things freak me out more than fake Southern or fake country stuff. Now for all I know the people running this place could be Americans. They could actually be from Nashville. They could be running a place as genuine as you'd actually find in Nashville but even so, it's the fake country Germans that are going to horrify me. Line dancing Germans. It's gonna weird me out much in the same way that Oktoberfest celebrations in the US weird me out. Excitement because they have the magic word "BBQ" on the sign. Dang. Even bad barbecue sometimes isn't so bad. And just mere meters away from my apartment to boot. I'll even settle for a really decent cheeseburger. It's dang near impossible to get a really good American style cheeseburger around where I live.
  • Easter is what? Like five and a half weeks away? For me it's a very bad time. It's the time when they sell those Milka Löffeleier - the chocolate Milka eggs that have the milk cream inside that you eat out with the little bitty spoon provided. Satan is in those eggs. I just know it. I've been very careful to avoid all Easter candy aisles at the stores but I'm sure to fall victim to their siren's song before it's all over.
  • I've considered taking and posting a picture of the literal mountain of laundry I need to do but honestly I'm afraid that you'll either think I faked it or you'll be disgusted beyond words. And I'm slightly afraid that my husband will find it and see it because at the moment he has absolutely no idea that it exists.
And don't y'all be telling on me either!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

One's Done - Second Has a 50/50 Chance

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

There's the first of Paula's Hydrangea Socks all finished. Doesn't look so bad with the homemade cardboard sock blocker tucked inside it, except I had to stuff a bit of paper towel into the heel pocket to fill it out some.

I've started the second sock - I'm about half finished with the ribbed cuff. They say the way to fight Second Sock Syndrome (an affliction that sock knitters come down with when they finish one sock and are loath to start the second one) is to cast on for the second one right away but unfortunately in my case that's not true. I always cast on for the second sock, usually within minutes of weaving in the ends of the first, but twice now I've gotten all the way to the foot of the sock and then put it aside in order to cast on for a different pair. It's worse than that - I get halfway through the foot of the second sock - I'm literally within a day or two of finishing - before putting it aside to be finished later. It's a wonder that I finished the pair for Poppy. Getting it in the mail to her is a completely different problem.

Looking back over my actions I have found what's throwing me off. It's not whether I cast on for the second sock yet or not. It's whether I have picked which sock yarn I want to knit next and what is really the nail in the coffin of the unfinished pair is me winding my chosen sock yarn into a center pull ball. Once I get to handling the new yarn and considering which pattern I'll use I reject the unfinished pair as if it were a pimply mouth breather with halitosis.

I suppose this is my cue to swear that when I'm finished with Paula's socks that I will go back to the basketweave and the braided cables socks that I still have on needles. I'd like to do that but I'm slowly being seduced by the two skeins of Opal Hudertwasser yarn currently lounging in my stash...Regentag auf Liebe Wellen and Der Blaue Mond to be exact.

Y'all may have to resort to nagging me to finish what I've started.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Pitifully Little

I'm sorry to say that my weekend was so uneventful that I don't have enough happenings to report to even justify a sorry bulleted list. You know you've been on the dizzying edge of boredom when you can't do the dots. Events this weekend consisted of face creme shopping (think I found one...we'll see how it is after a week), knitting, watching M*A*S*H on DVD (B saw the episode where Henry Blake dies. As predicted he didn't take it well.), watching Judgment at Nuremberg for what is likely the 20th time for me (Montgomery Clift is so fab in this flick. And this time I noticed that in this film Marlene Dietrich has the same vapid expression on her face that Paris Hilton has since perfected.), and watching the Oscars until I finally had to go to bed and left it up to my hard drive recorder to capture the rest. Unfortunately I didn't calculate the time to record correctly and it stopped just after the Best Actress award.

How's that for being born under an unlucky star?

Snaps of a finished sock tomorrow. I know you'll be wanting to break out the bubbly to celebrate.


Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday Shuffle - Shut Yer Pie Hole Edition

I'm not even sure I'm going to be able to express correctly what's on my mind but you're intelligent people. Maybe you'll be able to pick out my meaning from the mishmash rattling around in my head.

It boils down to this. I want people to simply shut up. Stop talking. Stop rambling, yammering, yapping, yakking, babbling, blathering, whatever - just stop.

I don't mean for everyone to go through life in dead silence. I love good conversation. I like to watch a good interview or to hear someone tell an interesting story. But lately I feel as though I'm being overwhelmed by just too much talking. Remember the part in Amadeus when the emperor tells Mozart that his opera has too many notes? "Just cut a few and it will be perfect!". That's how I feel about people and their talking.

This afternoon I took a break from my busy day to sit on the sofa for twenty minutes. I just wanted to close my eyes and rest. Not sleep. Not doze. Just rest. The TV was on to one of the afternoon news/talk/guest/feature story/all mixed together programs that populate the government owned regional TV stations. People were calling in with questions for a guest and these people could not get to the bloody point of their question to save their souls. And it's not because they're not professional TV people. The moderator couldn't make her point about anything either without using twenty thousand words first. It got to the point where I wanted to get into the car, drive to Leipzig and punch that woman in the face to get her to shut the hell up.

Needless to say I came out of my twenty minute rest period feeling worse than when I went into it.

The constant talking without a point is maddening. People are so in love with the sound of their own voices and they're not going to be happy until everyone else is just as in love with it. People are so bent on talking, talking, talking and it seems as though no one is playing the part of listener. And if they're not talking it doesn't mean they're listening. It often only means that they're simply waiting to talk. I sometimes am grateful for living in Europe if for no other reason than I am unable to ever watch The View. An hour or half hour or whatever it is of constant talking with some of the most grating voices known to man. I've seen that show while I've been in America and it left me wanting to find an ice pick with which I could puncture my eardrums if it would only make the voices stop.

It's an election year in the US next year and that means the pointless talking is just going to get worse. No one will be able to make their point succinctly. Voices will get louder and shriller and I'm half convinced that winners and losers will be decided by who can shout down the other more effectively. It's all rhetoric and empty phrases and I pray we can have a candidate who can speak, get to the point and not cover it with crap and fluff.

I think what's kick all this off with me is the constant coverage in the Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears stories. No one actually knows anything new and so they flog the old parts of the story over and over and then when there is some actual news, volumes of words are used to speculate over the tiniest detail. And it's all speculation. No one knows shit but they'll analyze their non-knowledge until the very universe itself must be begging for relief. Whatever happened to report new developments and then shutting up until the next new development?

Perhaps what I really need is to get away from the sources of the constant yammering. That would mean that I need to watch a whole lot less TV and stay completely away from Aunt Annoying. She's a master at talking without a break and afterwards no one knows what in the world she was talking about.

Bixente the iPod, shuffle for me.
  1. Bungle In The Jungle - Jethro Tull
  2. Late Night Grande Hotel - Nanci Griffith
  3. I Don't Wanna Play House - Tammy Wynette
  4. Boy From New York City - Manhattan Transfer
  5. Dog Eat Dog - Adam Ant
  6. Whiskey In The Jar - Thin Lizzy
  7. Cadence To Arms - Dropkick Murphys
  8. Relax - Frankie Goes To Hollywood
  9. You're My Best Friend - Queen
  10. Window In The Skies - U2
Bixente Say Relax. Point taken.

Have an excellent weekend. May you only hear what tickles your ear.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Simmering Comfort

I've been in a halfway cranky mood today. Normally that means I want to eat macaroni and cheese and hide under the covers but that lets The Malaise back in so I went to my back up comfort plan. Comfort with vegetables.

Let's make some beef stew. It's one of B's favorite dishes and he'd eat it weekly if I'd only consent to it. As it is he gets it about every ten days. It's easy to make so I don't mind.

First you're going to need about a pound of tender stew beef cut into chunks. You can also make it mixed with pork if that's your wish.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Sprinkle your beef with a bit of salt and pepper and then toss the beef chunks in a couple tablespoons of flour to help the beef get more brown when you cook it and it helps to thicken the broth.

Cut up your vegetables - about 4 small potatoes, peeled and cubed and 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced. Add with them a cup of frozen cut green beans and a cup of frozen kernel corn. I have used canned corn when I couldn't get frozen - Germans don't tend to be corn eaters...they think corn is for feeding hogs - but it's not so great to use.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Just let it sit won't be using them for a while - it's good anyway to let the frozen vegetables thaw a bit before using them.

You'll need a small chopped onion as well.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Start by heating a couple tablespoons of oil in your soup pot. Add the meat and stir constantly as it browns. About halfway through the browning add the chopped onion. As it cooks you'll notice that it starts to turn a little grayish and gooey looking from the flour but that's fine.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Keep stirring but don't freak if things start to stick to the bottom of the pot a bit. Your next ingredient will help loosen it all up.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

What is it about tomato based things that get scorched on stuff unscorched?

When the meat is browned add 3 cups of tomato juice and 1 cup of water. Now it's time to add your seasonings.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The basic seasonings are 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce and a bay leaf or two. Add a few other things if you want. A bit of hot paprika. A few drops Tabasco. Make it your own.

Bring the stew to a boil, cover, turn down the heat and let it simmer for about and 1 1/4 hours. I don't find any need to stir it - I just let it groove on its own. When the 1 1/4 hour has passed, it's time to add the vegetables that have been patiently waiting to join in the fun.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

You've just added those cold, cold vegetables so turn up the heat, bring the stew back to a boil, re-cover, turn the heat back down and let it simmer for another 30 minutes.

You've figured out that this isn't a dish to cook when you're pressed for time, haven't you?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Serve it with fresh rolls or cornbread or even just a slice of puffy white bread. And I have to have a big ol' glass of icy cold milk with it for my comfort food splurge to be complete.

All the comfort you can stand. And you get to feel virtuous because you ate vegetables as well. Keeps you from feeling so guilty when you further comfort yourself with chocolate pudding for dessert.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Dull Lights, Clean Feet

Finally, finally, finally I have Poppy's Mismatched Hippy Dippy Tye-Die socks finished. And they fit my feet so I'm going to assume that they'll fit Poppy's feet.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

See how they don't exactly match? The color repeats in the sock on the right are shorter than the one on the left.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I had to try on the socks, not so much because I wanted to check the fit but because I couldn't get them to lay flat for me to photograph them. There's something about a short row heel - or at least the way I knit this short row heel - that keeps the socks from laying...I dunno...sock-like when they're laying in profile. To that end if I wanted to get a decent photo I had to put them on.

I washed my feet first. I can't promise that I didn't have a bit of dog hair on them but I'll wash and block the socks before sending them to Poppy anyway.

Hmmm...I just noticed that the lighting in these photos isn't so great. Damn cloudy days. You try to use a flash and the colors get washed out. You try to use available light and it comes out too dark. Take my word that the colors are much more vibrant than they appear in the photos. They're so vibrant that these socks practically hum. The yarn is Fortissima Cotton Colori, 75% cotton, 25% nylon and knit cuff down in plain stockinette with the circular needle method using 2mm needles.

I'm about a half inch away from starting the heel on my next pair of socks. These are for Paula.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The crummy lighting isn't really doing justice to this yarn. What appears to be plain gray is really more of a silvery color. I had told Paula that the colors remind me of hydrangeas so I've dubbed them Paula's Hydrangea socks. If a colorway doesn't have a name, I'll give it one. Usually a dorky one.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This yarn is Lana Grossa Cotton Fondo, 45% cotton, 42% wool, 13% Polyamide. Lovely yarn to knit with as it has a smooth feel without feeling limp or floppy. One can definitely feel the difference in the give this yarn has as opposed to the 75% cotton yarn on Poppy's socks.

Now pat yourself on the back and have a drink. You read through an entire sock knitting post without having your head explode. I'm proud of you!


Monday, February 19, 2007

The Dotty Evil

Face with doing a bulleted list or yet another meme I made a command decision regarding which would be the lesser of two evils and therefore decided to go with the bulleted list. I'm the captain of this boat and what I say goes. That and I was scared that if I did three memes in a row you'd hang me from the highest yardarm.
  • This will make sense only to those who live in Germany: Dear RTL, In the name of all that is holy, please stop with Deutschland sucht den Superstar (for you not-in-Germany folks, it's American Idol in Germany). You haven't found one yet and the only thing you've ever succeeded in doing is unleashing Daniel Kübelböck on the country. Someone has stuffed that guy back in his box, haven't they? Let's look at an example of your track record. The last winner of American Idol a year later went on to win Grammy awards. Your last winner a year later was flogging without mercy singing his one lone semi-hit song at Magdeburg's hot air balloon festival. You'd at least be more truthful if you named your show Germany Gets Another Flash-In-The-Pan.
  • I have made a decision that if a TV commercial irks the shit out of me then I will not buy the product being advertised, even if it's a product I normally buy. Any commercial that screams at me, has a loud whispering voice-over, features children either rapping or dressing like a rappers or features the message that you should get treated differently if you're attractive gets crossed off my list. Pretty soon I'll be able to write my shopping list on a postage stamp.
  • Tomorrow is Mardi Gras and since I love Mardi Gras beads, the Barefooted One sent me some. I really wanted some big beads and she sent me gigantic ones. Big as my head beads. I love them. She's challenged me to wearing them outdoors when I'm out shopping and I'm tempted but these beads really are outlandish. They're beyond "Oh that lady sure likes green, gold and purple beads!" into "Holy smokes, that lady's beads could be used as a ship's anchor!".
  • I have got to find me some different face moisturizer. I don't know what's happened over the past couple months but my face feels like a sand dune within a couple hours of using what I have now. Evidently when one hits the age of forty-five, whatever natural moisture you managed to keep up until that point is gone. I think I'm going to have to break down and buy the heavy-duty, old-lady-skin moisturizer.
  • B and I are working on collecting all eleven seasons of M*A*S*H. It's my favorite comedy show of all time and I've seen every episode at least ten times (probably more) but B had only seen a few episodes before we started buying the DVDs. We're watching the third season right now - about halfway finished with it actually - and all I can think is that he's going to come unglued when Henry Blake dies in a plane crash. He's already in the past become pissed about the endings of The Buddy Holly Story, Sweet Dreams, La Bamba and The Glenn Miller Story because he got caught off guard about the plane crashes, although in all fairness he should have known about La Bamba because if you know what happens to Buddy Holly, you know what happens to Ritchie Valens. I don't know whether to warn him or just let it ride.
Knitting talk tomorrow. Finished objects. Pictures. New stuff started. You've been warned.

Labels: ,

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Five I'm Missing

Shelley, an American expatriate living in Rome, has suggested this meme for us other expats - five things you really miss about living in the United States (or whatever your home country is). I had to think about it for a bit because after having lived here for over nine years I've learned to stop missing things and go about finding an alternative to them. Still I was able to come up with five.

1. Food

The food one can find in the Southland of the United States and the food I find in Germany can really differ and sometimes there are just no suitable substitutes or finding the substitute is too much of a bother. I miss grits. I miss getting real brewed iced tea in just about every restaurant. I miss soft, fluffy buttermilk biscuits as big as a cat's head. I miss okra. I miss pie. What gives? Why can't one find pie in Germany? They don't even have a word for it - they call it Kuchen which really makes cake.

And I really miss barbecue. In the part of the world I'm from barbecue means pig and my favorite place to get me some pig is Corky's in Memphis.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I'm thinking about a pulled pork sandwich doused with sauce and topped with cole slaw and I could cry tiny, bitter tears that I haven't had one in over two years.

I miss Sonic too.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I'm not a huge fan of fast food but Sonic is different. When I go home for a visit, the first thing I do when I pull into my hometown is hit Sonic. I can't go home until I've had a bacon cheeseburger and onion rings or a Tater Tots with cheese. And a cherry limeade. All served to me by a nice little carhop.

2. Mayonnaise

Perhaps this should go under food as well but I'm so obsessed with this one thing that it gets its own listing. Yes, they have mayonnaise in Germany but it's not the same as what we're used to in America. The mayonnaise here is for putting in salads or for glopping on your fries. Germans just don't put mayo on sandwiches. I will use German mayo for potato salad (but it must be Knorr) but for sandwiches it can only be one thing:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I am crazy for Hellmann's. It's the only mayo I can bear to even think about eating on a sandwich. And unfortunately it's not usually sold in stores here unless you've got a store with an American food section and they happen to have it. I don't so I have to either beg my friends and family in the US to send it to me or I order it from online American food shops. From them it comes in tiny jars for a big, big price but I don't care. Mayonnaise is the only thing I can eat on a sandwich and Hellmann's the the only mayo I'll eat on a sandwich.

3. Bookstores

I don't care if I do live in Germany. I don't care if I've lived here for many, many years. I could live here for a million years and one thing will never change - I like to read in English only. I just do. I simply can't get into a book if I read it in German.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

One of my favorite pastimes was to browse in bookstores for hours. Cramped and dusty ones, big and shiny ones - doesn't matter. Bookstores can be as soothing and peaceful and soulful feeling to me as a church. And of course they have bookstores here - I live across the street from one - but since I have no intention of ever reading a book in German, I am not drawn to be in them. Fortunately easily sells books in English so I can get my fix - but I really miss the browsing.

4. Magnolias

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Northeast Mississippi is home and where my family is and one can't think of Mississippi without thinking of magnolias. Their glossy leaves. Their creamy white blossoms. Their distinctive fragrance. I miss gigantic magnolia trees and Christmas wreaths made from magnolia leaves. I miss dogwoods too. And cardinals. And robins. And mockingbirds. Just all those things that I'd see that would let me know that I was home.

5. Ice cubes

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Now obviously Germany has ice. They have water and they have freezers and so it stands to reason that ice exists here. Or does it?

Freezers with ice makers are rare. I know of one person who has one and that's Christina - and she's Canadian! Ice trays exist but they usually make tiny cubes and aren't usually practical to use since most freezers in Germany are the drawer type. If you want ice in Germany you usually buy ice cube bags - freezer bags that you fill with water and the little openings in the bags make the cubes. I did that for a while and finally quit out of laziness. I simply learned to put my personal drinks in the refrigerator and for the Germans, they don't want ice and often don't even want their drinks too cold. Wimps.

The list I made here is of things that in reality I could live without and do live without and don't miss all that much. Except for the Hellmann's. I'm still obsessed with that and won't get over trying to get it at ever opportunity. But there are things in the United States that I miss horribly and there is no substitute. My family. Hugs from my nephews and nieces. Playing cards in my sister's kitchen. Sitting close with my mama in church. My darling friends. Going out to lunch with them or sitting with them and talking for hours. Southern accents. The old men that play checkers in front of the courthouse. A high school football game on a crisp Friday night. Being around things and people that are completely familiar to me and knowing I fit right in.

But Germany is home to me as well now. I'm lucky that I have two.

Are you an expat too? What are you missing from home? Or if you're still living in your homeland, what would you absolutely have to have to survive in another country?

I don't know if it's good or bad that my must have is Hellmann's mayonnaise. It's a workable problem but why couldn't it be a problem over something a little more chic?

Labels: , ,

Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday Shuffle - Baggy Edition

Kim (not the me sort of Kim - this Kim) has made her own meme and thoughtfully tagged me for it. I know it's because she likes looking at my lipstick.

Here's are the guidelines:

~ Take a photo of the handbag/purse that you are using today.
~ Dump it out and take another photo.
~ Make a list of everything in your bag.
~ Post it on your blog (and let me know!)

Before starting this, let me say I have a sort of love/hate relationship with handbags. I love handbags. I used to own dozens but I couldn't bring them all with me when I moved to Germany. I have a hard time resisting a display of handbags and if I thought I could get away with it I'd buy more than I do. Here's where the hate part comes in. I really dislike actually carrying handbags. Let me explain that again - I like having pretty, funky, useful, fun handbags and love having my things neatly stored inside but I don't want to actually carry it around. I'm the world's worst for only carrying a handbag when necessary. If I'm just going to the bakery or down the street to the market to buy oranges I will only carry my wallet and a cloth shopping bag. For real shopping I will take my whole purse with me. I think this stems from the fact that when I'm shopping I'm either walking or on a streetcar and a handbag gets in the way of the other stuff I'm carrying. If I'm going to be in a car, purse okay. Walking, try to avoid purse.

The bag I'm carrying today is my handbag compromise. It's a small version of a courier bag and it's one of those jobs that has a pocket for anything. I can sling it over my head and shoulder and I'm hands free for carrying shopping bags. Not glamorous, but useful. It doesn't quench my desire for gorgeous, funky handbags though.

Here's my bag:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I have a version in tan for summer. I wish I were joking about that.

And here's all what I have stored inside:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Starting at the back and working our way forward you'll find my passport - the old and new one actually because I haven't gone to have my residency visa transferred into the new one yet - a package of five 2mm double pointed knitting needles - you know, just in case during my travels I run into a ball of sock yarn that needs immediate knitting, a card of my diabetes medication, my cell phone, Bixente the iPod tucked into his somewhat grimy white cover, my wallet (now that's the thing where all the good stuff is stored!), Bixente the iPod's earphones, package of tissues, three lipsticks, one tube of lip gloss, a tin where I keep my ever present TicTacs, a compact of powder makeup and the registration and insurance papers for my car. All of it's sitting on the cloth shopping bag that I always keep with me in my purse. Having a shopping bag with you at all times is very helpful in Germany.

All in all I don't think I have a very outrageous collection of stuff in my purse. I never was one who would carry a zillion things with me and I never keep a messy purse or wallet. The only things missing that I would normally carry with me is a comb and a pen but I was cleaning the comb yesterday and didn't put it back and I don't know where the pen went.

Today I saw one of the things peculiar about Germany, or at least it's something I find peculiar because I haven't seen it elsewhere - men carrying a Herrentasche, a hand held...well...purse. There's no other word for it. It's a purse for men. The usually look like this:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I know things like that shouldn't weird me out - because when you get down to it, why wouldn't men need something extra to carry all their stuff in? - but it does. I guess it's because they commonly look like toiletry cases. They're losing their popularity, especially among younger men, but you still see the 50 year old and up crowd with them from time to time.

This is my newest purse:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

It was a birthday gift from Aunt Annoying and Uncle Milquetoast. It's a pretty blue suede and it's got all sorts of handy storage places in it as well but it's really too small for me. I'm too big of a person to carry such a tiny bag. It is, however, perfect for something else. It holds a ball of yarn very nicely so it's perfect for slinging over my shoulder so I can go out and knit in public.

Once in a while Aunt Annoying does give me good gifts.

As for tagging - I don't tag all that often but there are some of y'all out there whose purses I'd like to see. Sari? Katy? Sam? Let's see what's you've got. And anyone else for that matter who's brave enough to let us take a peek inside.

Time to shuffle. Bixente the iPod thinks he's famous now that he's been shown on my blog.
  1. If You Say Jump, I Will Say No - Irving
  2. Little Lover's So Polite - Silversun Pickups
  3. Beanbag Chair - Yo La Tengo
  4. Levon - Elton John
  5. The Stranger - Billy Joel
  6. Orange Crush - REM
  7. Ghost Of A Rose - Blackmore's Night
  8. Move It On Over - Hank Williams
  9. Here Come The Weekend - Dave Edmunds
  10. I Wanna Be Around - Tony Bennett, duet with Bono
Good weekend wishes to all.

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Haiku Thursday Blogging

Haven't done the haiku thing for a few weeks but Sari digs it. She digs lotsa cool things.

Not that my haiku is cool or anything...

Bad score on blood test
Sugar level is too high
Spit out that candy!

Veggie stand guys sing
Today it was to The Clash
Makes the spuds happy.

The sock's still not done
I'm working on the toe now
And I'm sick of it.

Finish it tonight!
New pair I'll start tomorrow
They'll be for Paula.

Week is winding down
Friday, then comes the weekend
Watch movies and knit.

I owe you email?
I know it and I'm sorry.
I'll write, I swear it!


Wednesday, February 14, 2007


More proof that I am successfully driving away The Malaise: I finally got my malaise-y ass up and called my mother. Things are fine at The Plantation, which is what I like to call the facility where she lives. Today they had a Valentine's Day party and played bingo.

You know what? That actually sounded fun to me. Honest to Pete, I could stand to hang around some old folks in the wilds of northeast Mississippi and play bingo. Give me some heart shaped sugar cookies and you wouldn't be able to drive me out with a stick.

I couldn't say that if I were ass deep in The Malaise.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Yarn Science

Last week I discussed the genetics of yarn - how yarn can seemly have the same parents but each skein can have its own unique qualities and appearance. This week I suppose it's a combination of astronomy and physics - two things I honestly don't know loads about because they both involve copious amounts of mathematics.

I thought for sure that by now I'd have a pair of finished socks to show off to y'all - Poppy's Hippy Dippy Tie-Dye socks. I didn't get as much knitting time in over the weekend as I'd planned, what with wallowing in The Malaise and all, but I still thought that by tonight I'd be weaving in the loose ends and snapping its photo - the birth of a pair of socks!

I have to knit 7 1/4 inches of foot before I can begin the toe decreases - for you non-knitters, make the sock more narrow for the toes. Yesterday afternoon while B was having his physical therapy I knit for the whole hour and afterwards measured the foot and it was 5 inches long. I knit more in the afternoon after a nap. I knit while supper was cooking. I knit while watching TV. I knit later in the evening before bed and when I measured the foot before bed it was at 6 inches.

I knit for what amounts to be about two hours and only added an inch? This can't be right.

I have two theories about what may have happened. Perhaps there's a twisted part of physics that says when one is knitting a sock's foot (because this never happens when knitting the sock's cuff or leg), the stitches compress themselves somehow. You add a row of knitting, a row of knitting compresses into another and one only gains half the length of a normal row. Or there's the astronomical theory: When knitting the foot of a sock, your rows of knitting are somehow sucked into a sort of yarn black hole. You can knit like mad but the rows your adding get somehow sucked into another dimension. I know I'm explaining this badly but you know - math, scientific theory, me...bleh. Those three things just won't even blend.

Remember the episode of the original Star Trek series where some of the crew of the Enterprise is somehow switched with an alternate universe - it's them but the opposites of them? You remember - Spock had a beard and Sulu had that big bad ass scar on his face and was always trying to get it on with the good Uhura? Maybe something similar is happening with this sock. I'm here knitting but I don't add any length. In the alternate universe I'm trying to unravel a sock and it keeps going on and on and on and I can't get it all unraveled.

Well...just as long as on the other side I don't have a beard or a bad ass scar on my face.

Labels: ,

Monday, February 12, 2007

Weekend Summary and Anti-Malaise Strategy

Molly's wanting to know how the coffee klatsch on Saturday went so I'll tell you. It was two hours and twenty minutes of wishing those people would get the hell out of my apartment.

Aunt Annoying and Uncle Milquetoast came in and immediately she threw her coat at me and said "I need to pee right now!".

She's a lady! Whoa-ohhh-ohhh, she's a lady!

I was then presented with a bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling wine that is supposed to look like a hostess gift but is really meant to be served to her after coffee. She's a recovering alcoholic. Virtually everyone says they liked her better when she drank.

After she was seated I presented Aunt Annoying with our birthday gift to her and to say her reaction to it was cool would be an understatement. She picked up the cup, turned it a little and said "Oh. Ceramic.".

I turned it over so she could see the maker and said "Porcelain.". She perked right up when she saw the mark on the bottom side of the cup. I knew that would get her because she's a brand snob. Doesn't know her ass from her elbow about actual quality but she likes a brand name.

The rest of their visit was spent with Aunt Annoying yapping about her exquisite taste in all things regarding music and literature and her sniffing her nose that B and I happen to like to watch sports. At one point she said "Well some people know a lot about the theatre and music and others like sports." and that's the point where I couldn't keep clammed up. I turned to her and said "Well that must mean I'm extra smart because I know about both! I've been to the ballet many times. I've seen Aleksandr Godunov dance Swan Lake. I've been to the opera. I've seen many musicals in Washington and on Broadway. I've seen Shakespeare performed at the Folger Theater. Do you have any idea how many times I've seen the National Symphony perform? People can be interested in both. It's okay to like sports and the arts too.".

Man has yet to invent something that could measure how fast the subject was changed after that.

The rest of the weekend was spent hip-deep in The Malaise. I found it terribly difficult concentrate on anything for more than ten minutes at a time and last night found me laying on the sofa channel surfing and fighting off tears. I was so deep in The Malaise my joints and muscles actually hurt.

And then I got up this morning and kicked out The Malaise. I'm sick of The Malaise hanging around for so long and I decided to come up with a concrete plan to ban it.
  1. I'm going to accomplish something every day. Today it was getting rid of all the cardboard boxes that tend to quickly build up around here since is our best friend. Tomorrow it may be finishing a knitting project or catching up on the email I owe to a bunch of folks but it'll be something I can get off my to-do list and can at the same time get a feeling of accomplishment.
  2. I'm going to keep busy. Lolling around and doing absolutely nothing makes me sink even further into The Malaise. Even if it's not something on my daily accomplishment list, I'm going to keep busy something something so I don't just turn into a pile of mush.
  3. I'm going to get happy and excited and interested in the good things others are doing. Mausi remodeled her kitchen. Poppy's knitting her first pair of socks. Marsha's getting ready to move back to the States. And The Lone Beader never stops beading. Lots of people are doing stuff worthy of excitement and I'm gonna get excited about it. Enthusiasm for something goes a long way towards driving off The Malaise.
  4. I'm going to start counting the things for which I'm grateful. It helps put me into a positive frame of mind and it's when I slip into the negative that The Malaise gets a foothold.
  5. I'm going to be sure to get outside more often. I tend to keep indoors more in the winter and just getting outside for an extra ten minutes of fresh air can help shake the cobwebs out of my head.
What about y'all? Anyone doing something interesting or new or fun? Got a project at school or are you going to take a trip or did you do something for the very first time? Leave me a comment and tell us about it. I want to get enthusiastic about it with you because The Malaise has a funny way of sneaking back when you've got five weeks until spring.

Labels: ,

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday Shuffle - Screw The Malaise Edition

Awwww! You left comments! Lots of them. Lots of comment love. And while I'm not happy about it, it is comforting to know that y'all are suffering form The Malaise (and The Malaise definitely needs to be capitalized) as well. There's something to be said for misery loving company. But even in your malaise you left me comments. Smooches all around!

Malaise was not much better today. I was out this morning to the department store up the street for my weekly non-ass-smelling milk run and to pick up a birthday gift for annoying aunt - a lovely oversized porcelain coffee cup and saucer. Annoying aunt's birthday was a couple days before mine but I'd been putting off getting her a gift because I thought I would have more time. She has planned on giving herself a birthday party when the weather is nice (don't confuse annoying aunt with the Queen of England - Queen Elizabeth isn't as boring and uptight) and I thought I'd give her a gift then but when we were roped into the coffee and cake obligation it forced me into giving her gift to her earlier. Anyway, like I said it's a very pretty porcelain coffee cup and saucer from Seltmann-Weiden of Bavaria. Good stuff, not like the dime store crap teacup she gave me for Christmas.'s from the Specials collection. I called my MIL when I got back home to say I'd gotten Gabi's gift and said "It's nice and it was just 16 euro and change.". There was a long pause and then my MIL said "That's too good for her.".

Nice. I'm rubbing off on my MIL.

I should have done more this afternoon in preparation for the impending visit from The Queen annoying aunt but what's the point? Everything they're going to see is clean anyway so forget trying to make it extra-super-duper special. What would be the worst that would happen? For annoying aunt to say "I found an old TV guide in the magazine rack! I'm never going back there again!". Hell, I ain't that lucky for that to happen!

And after they're gone I'm going to dedicate the rest of my weekend to giving The Malaise one last shiftless weekend and come Monday, it's out the door. It's just tiring to be a moody grouch all the time.

Time for a shuffle.
  1. Rocket - Def Leppard
  2. Mississippi Goddam - Nina Simone
  3. Locomotive Breath - Jethro Tull
  4. Twist Of Cain - Danzig
  5. Bitter Sweet Symphony - The Verve
  6. All The Right Reasons - The Jayhawks
  7. Ring Of Fire - Johnny Cash
  8. Ich Atme Ein - Roger Cicero
  9. Lovely Rita - The Beatles
  10. Love Rollercoaster - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Feeling better already. Hope The Malaise clears out for you too.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

It'll Pass Soon. I Think.

Not that I was happy that Poppy has it, but I was comforted in knowing that I'm not the only one suffering from The Malaise. Everything seems like such an effort and the only thing that seems to hold my interest for more than ten minutes at a time is sleeping. I promised my mother last Saturday that I'd call her again the next day. I haven't done it yet. I just can't scare up the energy to call my own mother.

Warm up for me the rickety folding metal chair in Hell for that.

I have email to answer, haven't done it yet. Knitting projects that I need to complete and get out of my hair and I haven't finished them yet. Packages I need to mail and I haven't walked to the post office yet to send them. A literal mountain of laundry has piled up and the most I've done is one load and simply looked at the rest before walking away. And I've got some heinous goo that's somehow gotten itself baked on the bottom of my oven and I really haven't taken care of that yet. You know if that if it takes a Herculean effort for me to knit then I ain't gonna lift a finger for the heinous goo.

And let's add into this hearty mix that my temper is a bit brittle this week. For example, B's aunt - the one I can barely stand - sent over via my MIL a birthday gift for me last Friday. This gift giving has somehow translated itself into us having to invite the annoying aunt and uncle over for coffee and cake on Saturday so I can express even further my gratitude that this gift wasn't as shitty as what she gave me for Christmas. When we called on Monday with the invitation we told her "next week on Saturday". It was said four or five times. We found out today, also via my MIL, that annoying aunt thinks we meant this Saturday - the day after tomorrow sort of Saturday. It shouldn't have but that just pushed me over the edge. I spent the next half hour having a conniption fit that I have to rearrange my entire weekend schedule of malaise to accommodate them because annoying aunt can't fucking listen properly.

Look at me. I'm getting all worked up again just recounting it.

I swear, if her dog pees on my carpet again and she sits on her ass while my MIL cleans it up, I'm going to do bad, bad things to her with sharp objects.

Of course B's good at talking me down when I'm going into vapor lock. He lets me get it out and then gets all reasonable on me. He said "Look, it's just for two hours. You can do anything for two hours. Just think that it's better than two hours in the hospital.".

I don't know about that. They let me sleep in the hospital and no one peed on the floor.

And while I've got your attention, let me ask you this. Are your fingers broken? Are you unable to leave some comment love? I know I've been a little slack on commenting myself lately but what's your excuse? I'm the one suffering from heinous oven goo and annoying aunt! I'm the one with The Malaise! I need the soothing!

I apologize. That was wrong of me, chiding you in that way. It seems that not only do I have The Malaise but I'm also evidently suffering from Shameless Begging.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Yarn Genetics

Last week I finished knitting the first Hippy Dippy Tie-Dye sock for Poppy and started up on the mate the next day. It was from yarn she'd sent me - one skein was still in its ball band and the other was already rolled into a ball with no ball band but they're the same yarn. Poppy said so.

When I was rolling the yarn for the second sock into a center pull ball I perhaps should have noticed something but didn't. And when I was knitting the cuff I began to become suspicious but, you know, who memorizes the characteristics of yarn? It was after I'd gotten a couple inches on the cuff that I noticed that things were a bit off and after examining the yarn closer I saw that the color repeats on the second ball of yarn are noticeably shorter than the first. My only guess is that while they're the same yarn and same colorway, they're either from different dye lots or else the planets went out of alignment and that German yarn company with all its conformist German workers broke bad and made a big dyeing error in that lot.

Here's a bit of the leg from the first sock:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

and here's a bit of the leg from the second:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Definitely different. However, maybe it's not such a bad thing. They're Hippy Dippy Tie-Dye socks, after all. One would expect them not to conform to expectations. They're free spirit socks. They're the sort of socks that would attend Berkeley and put flowers in the barrels of the guns of National Guardsmen. If they were at Woodstock they'd have been hanging off the Who's helicopter.

They're just going to be fraternal instead of identical twins.


Monday, February 05, 2007

I Do It Because She's Fierce

Dictator Princess, that is. She's fierce in that cool girl way and since I always want to sit at the cool girls table, when she tags, I comply. It's a green meme - let's see how much I'm terrorizing the environment.

1. What do you for the birds and the bees? Pesticides, pollution and habitat destruction are taking a toll on the birds and insects that pollinate about 80 percent of the world's food supply (or about one out of every three bites of food we eat) - to lend a helping hand, plant a pollinator garden.
I don't have a yard but I have a balcony on which I plant flowers. The bees seem to dig it. No pesticides either. If the bugs eat my geraniums, then all I have to say is guten appetit!

2. Household products. Chemical or organic? Household chemicals contribute to both indoor and outdoor pollution. This year, use more natural cleaners like the Greening the Cleaning line or make your own using vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice. More tips at
I'm a failure here. I'm way into grease cutting, lime scale cleansing, soap scum removing chemical cleansers that smell like limes and mountain flowers. Of course if I don't stop then the only way I'm going to smell limes and mountain flowers will be to open a bottle of chemicals because the real things won't exsist.

3. What do you do about junk mail? Junk mail kills trees so get off the mailing lists of companies you don't support. You can contact the firms yourself, or check out subscription services like or that promise to lighten your junk-mail load. For more information:
By law all of our old paper - newspapers, junk mail, real mail (shredded, of course), catalogs, etc. all goes into the old paper collection - there are collection points on virtually every block in the city proper. Germany's big into separating trash - there's biodegradable trash, glass, packaging (plastic, cans, foam, etc.), old paper and trash that doesn't fit in any of the above catagories. And most bottles and drink cans have up to a 25 cent deposit on them so they are taken back to the shops for a deposit refund.

4. Laundry: air-dry or tumble-dry? Make like Grandma and line-dry your clothes once in a while. It not only saves money, but also decreases your yearly carbon- dioxide emissions. Likewise, run your washer on cold whenever possible—and use it only when it's full.
I don't even own a clothes dryer. All of our laundry is dried on a drying rack that's in my spare bedroom. I generally wash clothes at 30°C and the washer is always full. I always have more dirty clothes than I have space on the drying rack.

5. Old gadgets: recycle or toss ‘em? We have to prevent electronics from clogging landfills. Everything from batteries, cell phones to computers can be recycled.
It's against the law in Germany to throw in the regular garbage any appliance, regardless of how small it is. There are collection points in the city where they can be disposed of for free. Things like paint are collected in every neighborhood on a monthly basis and the city mails a schedule of this collection to every household. Old batteries are collected in green boxes in many stores that sell batteries.

6. Lightbulbs - incandescent or fluorescent? Compact fluorescent bulbs use 70% less power and last ten times as long as incandescent. Also, turn off unused appliances and check out green power options in your area.
Some of my ceiling lights are high intensity power suckers but I very seldom use them. Most of the time we use only one lamp in the livingroom and I use the under-the-counter fluorescent lights in the kitchen. Our bathroom has a fluorescent light as well. I turn off all appliances after using them - no leaving computers or the TV on stand-by and I unplug the cell phone charger when it's not in use. Buying a new, energy efficient refrigerator, range, dishwasher and clothes washer last year has also saved us a lot on our electric bill.

7. Meat or veg? Meat production is energy inefficient. It takes 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat. If everyone took a break a couple of times a week it could have a huge environmental effect. When you're shopping for that food, think local and, of course, bring a reusable cloth bag to the market so you don't have to take the plastic ones.
I'll admit we're meat eaters - probably five days out of the week. I do, however, try to buy from butchers that get their meat from local farmers - less animal transport. Same with produce - I buy from the produce sellers at the market that buy from local farmers.

I never use paper or plastic bags for groceries - at virtually every grocery store you must pay for any bags you use. If I'm using the car the groceries go in an folding plastic box. If I'm on foot I use a woven grass market basket or cloth bags. I never go anywhere without a cloth bag in my purse.

8. Loo paper. Virgin or recycled? The paper industry is the third largest contributor to global warming. If every U.S. household replaced one toilet-paper roll with a roll made from recycled paper, 424,000 trees would be saved. If every household in the United States bought recycled napkins instead of virgin-fiber napkins, we'd save a million trees. Alternatively, plant a tree. The net cooling effect of one healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day.
I'm afraid we're guilty of using virgin loo paper. I've used recycled in the past but I don't even think they sell any recycled loo paper at the store where I normally shop...I should look. For meals I only use cloth napkins. What I'm really guilty of is reaching for a paper towel instead of a cloth to clean up spills but wiping up a spill with a dishcloth skeeves me out.

9. Tap or bottled water? According to Newsweek, it takes a lot of oil to make and ship water bottles, and most end up in landfills. If you're squeamish (Americans really do have some of the best tap water in the world), buy a water filter. For comparisons, go to
Always tap water. We're lucky to have very good tasting water - I have never found a bottled water that tastes better than my tap water - and our water is some of the cleanest in Europe. I do buy carbonated water for those guests who just have to have their fizzy water (read: think giving them tap water is akin to asking them to lap out of the toilet bowl like an Irish Setter) but a six-pack of water can last me two or three months. However when we do use bottled water the bottles are not thrown away - those are some of the bottles that have a deposit on them and they go back to the store for a refund.

10. Dating - metrosexual or ecosexual? Newsweek says two recyclers are better than one.
I suppose the one advantage of being a quadriplegic is you can't be accused of being the one that threw the empty Nutella jar in the garbage.

I won't tag anyone but it would be interesting to see what you folks around the world are doing. As the fierce, fierce Dictator Princess would say, gank it if you wish.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Champions of the World

You may think I'm speaking of tonight's Super Bowl and if I were in the U.S. I probably would be but I'm in Germany - in Magdeburg, specifically - so today the only world championship I care about is in handball. Not that kind of handball that has two people in a room batting around a Whammo Superball but this kind of handball.

Before moving to Germany I'd never heard of team handball but it doesn't take long living here before you get introduced to the sport, especially in this town. Magdeburg may have a soccer team in the third league but our handball team is in the first league and it's a pretty good team. It took watching a few games for me to get most of the rules down and by then I was hooked. It's fast like ice hockey but there's a lot of scoring to add to the excitement. And the goalies. You have to be a little insane to be a goalie in handball. People are throwing a rather hard ball into a goal and wouldn't mind hitting you in the face if that's what it took and you have to use just your body to block it. I'm thinking that having a lot to drink before the game would be helpful.

Germany hosted the handball World Cup this year and being as Germany is still revved up from hosting the soccer World Cup it wasn't a far leap to gain back the spirit that was found here over the summer. Since handball is already popular were I live the German flags were out early but by the time Germany reached the semi-finals I imagine they were spotted in a lot of places around the country.

Germany making it to the finals put this town in a spin, especially since they'd meet Poland in the finals. Magdeburg has players on the German and Polish national teams both and the head coach for Magdeburg is the coach for the Polish national team. It's an unusual feeling to suddenly be against players you normally cheer for when watching them play for their club team.

An outdoor viewing area was set up at the market square so fans could get together on a chilly, cloudy Sunday afternoon and cheer for their country's team. All afternoon I debated whether to go down to the viewing area and by the time 4pm rolled around I put on my shoes and jacket and walked down the street to the square. Who knows when Germany would host the handball world cup again I didn't want to pass up the only opportunity to see what would be going on there.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

By the time I arrived I could tell I was way too late to get up to where I'd be able to see the screen. People were standing so tightly together that I had no chance to get closer than to a spot where I could see only the left half of the screen. It didn't really matter though - there was no chance I could miss knowing when Germany scored because at each goal I could see this:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

After about fifteen minutes I wove my way back out of the crowd and headed back home. I'd seen what I wanted to see and what I wasn't seeing was the game. I made it back just before halftime, Germany leading. There was a frightful moment when the Germany's first goalie (a born and raised Magdeburger!) became injured and the second goalie (who's also the goalie for Magdeburg's club team) had to take over - and did a brilliant job. There were a few moments when it looked like Poland could catch up and take the lead but Germany held on to win.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

We're a poor old town with a lot of out of work people but today people here are on top of the world. I can still hear the revelers out on the street.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Friday Shuffle - Making Up For Lost Time Edition

This entry should properly be titled "Friday Shuffle - When Things Go Wrong and We Freak Out and the Ridiculous Measures We'll Take To Remedy It Edition".

I assume you've noticed that I've been posting a little less frequently than usual. It's not because I didn't have anything to say - at least that's not the sole reason - but we've had a problem with our Internet service provider. For the past two weeks our Internet service would drop out, sometimes for ten minutes, sometimes for four and five hours. Often things would be fine in the afternoons but come 9pm the problem would start up again. At first we figured they were having some problems after the bad wind storm that came through here two weeks ago but after a week when things didn't get better, I began to get pissed about their shoddy service. I pay to have Internet service around the clock and my bill is paid in full and on time every month. I understand routine maintenance and even emergencies but after a week when it's not better and their website isn't even updated advising their customers about what's going on, I'm not a happy customer. Every time the service went out, I'd get pissed at them all over again. It got to the point where we were down to deciding which DSL service we'd use and I was reveling in the idea of calling our current ISP to let them know we'd just be keeping cable TV service and they could cram their Internet service. I have called this company so many ugly names that there's a blue cloud hovering over my apartment building.

We called our ISP this morning to report that last night we didn't have Internet service between the hours of 9:10pm and when I went to bed at 3am. I don't go into customer service problems with guns blazing and in the past this company has always been very friendly and professional so I told B to just be nice to them and maybe they could help us after all. After speaking with a technician and letting him know about the service constantly being interrupted and telling him that the lights on the cable modem blink as if it's searching for a signal he said it sounded like we needed a new cable modem and he'd be here by noon. Twenty minutes later the technician was at our door, replaced the modem and said that the service should be on within a half hour.

And hour and a half later our Internet service still wasn't working. B made another call and the technician suggested that we disconnect our WLAN router and try going online with the cable. Naturally it worked. Shit. The problem was with our router.

Yikes. For the past two weeks I've been thinking evil things about this company and have have lost count of the times the words "Fuckers!! Incompetent fuckers!" has come out of my mouth through clenched teeth. I completely Richard Jewell-ed my Internet provider. And to make me feel even more like an ungrateful, conclusion jumping ass, the technician suggested that we try resetting the router and starting from scratch with it before assuming it was fried and needed replacing. And it worked. He didn't need to help us that way but he did and was extra friendly the whole time. Everyone was. Every person we talked to in this whole thing was amazingly friendly. I had to spent a fair sized chunk of the afternoon getting all three computers back online via the WLAN router but we're back to normal and I'm a happy customer once again.

So here's the part where I admit that I was wrong and I heartily apologize for every bad thought I've had and every nasty word I've used in conjunction with my cable TV and Internet company. MDCC, I love you. Come kiss me. With tongue.

Sometimes, however, you get faced with a problem and you have to resort to more undesirable yet effective measures to resolve it. For example: Since Christmas I've been freaked out by the milk sold at my favorite grocery store. On Christmas Eve night my husband and I sat down for our annual Christmas tradition of eating chocolate chip cookies with milk while watching It's a Wonderful Life and when I took my first sip of milk it smelled weird. Tasted okay - not 100% right but okay - but it smelled funky. Like ass. As Sari would say, like cow's ass. Actually it didn't smell like as as much as it smelled like rancid meat. And I'd taken a drink of it. All I could think was that I'd pour out the milk from the carton and there would be a dead mouse in it. I did pour it out and the carton smelled even worse. I opened another liter of milk. Same funky smell. By then I'd given up on wanting to drink milk with my cookies.

I figured that maybe it was a problem with that particular batch of milk and so when I went shopping again I bought more milk. This time the first two cartons I opened were fine and I figured the problem was solved until I opened the third liter. Cow's ass again. I was too freaked out to test the fourth.

The next day I was back in my old neighborhood to get my hair cut and stocked up on milk at my old grocery store. I'd never had a problem with ass smelling milk there but then again I can't drive halfway across town every week to get non-ass smelling milk. And I don't want to change my current grocery store. I like it and I don't even think the problem is with the milk itself - it's with the new cartons they started using in December. They've got ass smelling cartons.

There are other shopping options for milk purchases but two of them involve going to the mall. Hell, I hate going to the mall when I'm looking for something fun, nevermind going there in search of non-ass smelling low fat milk so I've chosen option three - going to the grocery section of Karstadt. Yes. In an effort to buy non-ass smelling milk I am buying it in a department store. And I still sniff every carton when I open it.

Let's shuffle.
  1. God Only Knows - The Beach Boys
  2. Evil Woman - Electric Light Orchestra
  3. It's Beginning To Get To Me - Snow Patrol
  4. Sing - Travis
  5. Run Runaway - Great Big Sea
  6. Tom Sawyer - Rush
  7. Sam's Town - The Killers
  8. Mainstreet - Bob Seger
  9. Madrigal - Yes
  10. Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen
At least Bixente the iPod is still working fine. And doesn't smell like cow's ass.