Dixie Peach: March 2007

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Well. I Tried.

The hairnet idea? The hairnet I bought yesterday for me to sleep in in an effort to keep the layers of hair on the top of my head from getting pushed up into devil horns by my pillow? The one that was supposed to keep my hair sort of nailed down and locked into normal position?

Complete shit. Complete and utter shit. It molded my hair into...into...I can't even describe it. The hairnet turned my bangs inside out. It literally twisted my hair so that what's normally against my forehead was facing outwards. I can't even fathom how that happened.

Maybe not the worst idea I've ever had but it's in the top five. Top three maybe.


Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday Shuffle - Boot Scootin' Boogie Edition

Late this afternoon I went in search of new toothbrushes. Yeah, I could get them while grocery shopping but the grocery store I frequent has the nasty habit of hanging their toothbrushes literally out of my reach so I can't search through them to be sure I'm picking up a soft one instead of a middle-hard one. I suppose they believe that those of us under 5'5" tall either don't need to keep up with oral hygiene or should just settle for what they can reach.

During my shopping trip I not only bought new toothbrushes but also a new powder makeup compact, a new round brush, eye makeup remover and - and I wish I were kidding - a hairnet (German pillows, which are vastly different than pillows in the US tend to smash the layered top of my hair into devil horns overnight so I was figuring that a hairnet made for sleeping may help. Yes, I have turned into my grandmother.) This always happens. I go to spend 7€ on toothbrushes and don't come home before I've used up a 50€ bill. Damn my makeup addiction!

I came home on a streetcar and when I exited I could hear some very loud country music and across the street from me I saw this:

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Sorry for the quality. All I had on me was the camera in my cell phone.

Remember back a month ago when I mentioned that down the street from my apartment they're opening a self described "saloon/BBQ/line dance bar" called "Nashville"? They were having their grand opening this afternoon. I'd done some searching in past month and found that this place isn't new, they're just changing locations. Or opening a second one - I never figured out which it is. Anyway, they have a regular line dancing group or club or whatever you call it and they were out there in front of the new establishment line dancing their little hearts out.

I know it was mean and rude of me but I had to laugh. I covered my mouth and all and tried not to let on but I had to laugh. Not laughing at them. They were actually sort of cute and I gave them props for being brave enough to do that out in the street. It was more of a nervous sort of laugh. As I said last month, few things weird me out more than fake country/fake Southern/fake Americana stuff and seeing these people decked out American flag shirts doing their little line dance routine was weirding me out high ten. It's simply too strange to be out in the middle of a city in the middle of Germany and watching Germans line dancing while Eddie Rabbitt on a CD wails that he loves a rainy night. It also didn't help that I despise that song. And boy, were these people stiff. I know that country line dancing isn't exactly the jitterbug but this looked like a cross between the Achy-Breaky and Riverdance - lots of foot and leg movement while backs were ramrod straight. Maybe they loosen up after you get a few drinks into them.

I walked around the building to my apartment, grabbed my camera, and dashed back hoping to get better pictures. Unfortunately the adults were finished with their dancing display and it was time for the kids group to perform. Decked out in their tee-shirts with "Country Kids" printed on the back they performed their own line dance routines. Now they really were cute. Not terribly skilled, but their enthusiasm was wonderful and they were very cute. There was one little boy with a bandana around his neck, a little fake cowboy hat with a sheriff's star on it and a little six shooter holstered around his waist that just knocked me out.

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And then there was this:

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Pardon the lamp post. I was trying to get the picture on the sly. I couldn't exactly say "Would you mind posing for me? You're entirely too strange to pass up!"

What in the hell are they supposed to be anyway? Did Magdeburg get a new schoolmarm and sheriff? Is dressing like extras from Little House on the Prairie supposed to be somehow country? I think they must be some of those people you find in Germany who are rather infatuated with the whole old South/Civil War/Wild West culture and they take the parts of it that they like and shake it all together. They actually get together on weekend and vacations and "play" these roles. I know a family that does this. Not like serious Civil War reenactors you find in the US - these folks definitely lack authenticity. My guess is that if looked under her acrylic shawl you'll find a zipper on that dress.

About an hour ago I went back out and walked over to the Nashville Saloon to see what was going on and I would pronounce their grand opening to be a success. Both the restaurant area downstairs and the dancing area upstairs appeared to be full. And boy oh boy - that place is reeking with kitschy Americana decor. From the upper level I can see both American and Confederate flags decorating a few of the windows. I don't even want to start with how inappropriate that is...these folks certainly wouldn't get it. There's also a Statue of Liberty lamp - her torch has a big, round bulb on the end and her gown is painted in Stars and Stripes. I saw a wooden Indian, dreamcatchers in two of the upper windows - a bit more inappropriate cultural appropriation - and of course what saloon/line dance bar would be complete without the plastic blow up electric guitar advertising Jim Beam whiskey?

Music was still blaring outside and while I sat for a moment on a bench located a respectful distance away I could see a handful of folks line dancing on the sidewalk. I don't know if they just couldn't fit inside on the dance floor or if they just couldn't resist showing off their dance skills in public while Dolly Parton asked why'd you come in here looking like that. Oh Dolly - that's a question you needed to pose to our hoop skirted friend we saw earlier.

Everyone seemed to be having fun and I suppose in a world where fun seems to be in short supply at times I was glad for them. Sure, this place is almost like a parody of Southern America and the country music culture but maybe that doesn't matter. And honestly I wouldn't mind going there myself sometime, just to have the experience if nothing else. B's dying to go there too. He keeps asking me if his wheelchair will fit inside and honestly it may be a tight squeeze. The restaurant area downstairs has nothing but booths for seating. Red vinyl covered booths like a diner. Oh yeah. Very roadhouse.

Yeah. It's a bit unauthentic and a lot corny and kitschy. And it makes me homesick. I'd give a whole lot to be tonight in the Elk's Lodge in my hometown and listen to the country band my brother performs with as they play and we drink flat beer and dance.

Bixente the iPod has a French name but he was developed in America and built in China so he's already multi-national. If country music can go international so can he so he's going to dip into my vast country music folder and shuffle from there.
  1. She Knows What She Wants - Foster & Lloyd
  2. What A Crying Shame - The Mavericks
  3. I Fell In Love - Carlene Carter
  4. I Married Her Just Because She Looks Like You - Lyle Lovett
  5. Little Bitty - Alan Jackson
  6. Why Baby Why - George Jones
  7. Family Tree - Loretta Lynn
  8. Honey (Open That Door) - Ricky Skaggs
  9. Guitars, Cadillacs - Dwight Yoakam
  10. It Sure Is Monday - Mark Chesnutt
Have a good weekend. Enjoy whatever it brings.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Love in an Envelope

I love mail. Not so much email though. Well, I do like email but I'm really bad at answering email in a timely manner. Still at the risk of never getting email ever again ("I'll fix her! Last time I write that wench an email if she can't appreciate it!") I have to say that for all it's convenience and immediacy, it still doesn't give the same charge one gets when one opens their mailbox and finds mail in there that's not a bill, advertisement or credit card offer. My mailbox has been a bit barren lately - in the past ten days the only thing I've gotten was my debit card statement, a catalog and an offer for a loan - but today made up for that.

First was a postcard from our family doctor. She was in the US for fifteen days - skiing in Utah and touring around Las Vegas and San Francisco and she sent us a postcard from Las Vegas. She always sends us postcards. Thailand, China, Iceland, South Africa, USA - if she goes there, she sends a card. Now how many of you can say your doctor sends you a postcard when he/she's on vacation?

Then there was a small package from my dear friend, pkb. I've been expecting this package for months now. She originally send it to me last October but she made an error in my address and it was sent back to her. Caused quite a panic between us when the package was missing for weeks on end because what was in it can't easily be replaced. She had gone to see Mitch Albom last fall at a book signing for his book, For One More Day, and pkb had him sign a copy for me and sent it to me. You can perhaps see why having such a thing missing would upset us both. Originally it was to be a big surprise for me but pkb is a lot like me in that when we find something really wonderful and perfect for someone and we get it for them as a gift it's nearly impossible to keep it a secret or not give it to them immediately. I was very excited to get this book because the topics of Mitch Albom's books are things that are very meaningful for both pkb and me. It's one of the bonds pkb and I share.

pkb had told me that when she resent the book that she simply shoved the original envelope into a larger envelope because something very special was on the original envelope - a surprise for B. I knew what it was and I couldn't wait for him to see it. I tore open the outer envelope at the tear strip and carefully removed the inner one and showed B his surprise - a smooch for him from pkb. A great big lipstick print right on the back on the envelope - and in a gorgeous shade of lipstick, may I add. Next to it she'd drawn a heart and wrote "For B". He was over the moon. I can't even describe what a big smile he had on his face when he saw it.

I should pause to explain that all of my friends adore B. Well, honestly I don't know anyone who has met B and doesn't adore him. As my sister once said "He is the most delightful person I've ever met.". It's only natural that pkb would send him a lipstick smooch.

I was eager to get the second envelope open so I could see the book and see how it was autographed to me. I know that signed books aren't exactly uncommon and I have a couple other books autographed by their authors but I get such a charge out of seeing my name and the author's signature.

"Rats. The tear strip on this envelope goes right through the lip print."

"Don't tear that smooch! That smooch is mine!"

"I know but the tear strip goes right through it. It's going to tear it in half when I open the envelope."

"Then leave it closed."

"Get out of here! My book is in there! Do you know what pkb had to do to get that book autographed and sent to me?"

"The smooch is more important. Do not ruin it. It's mine."

"Oh for Pete's sake. Well I can't tear the end, it's all taped shut."

"Do not tear that smooch."

"Alright. Here's the scissors. I'll just dig it in here by the tape and snip through the end and open it that way. Dang. These little scissors I use for my knitting don't have very long blades and it's hard to work in here. Okay. Here we go. Look, I'm cutting it open and saving your precious smooch. Look at you getting all worked up over a lip print! You are so silly! It's just a... Ow! Owwwww!! Mother scratcher, that hurts! I just cut between my fingers with the scissors! Oh you Martha Focker! That fucking huuuurrrts!!!".

"Watch the smooch! Don't bleed on it!"

"It's not bleeding that much! It just hurts! Damn, that hurts like a bitch on fire!"

"You okay?"

"Yeah, it's hardly bleeding but I cut right into that soft space between my fingers and it hurts like holy hell!"

"I'm sorry sweetie."

"It's okay. The pain's fading now."

"Better wash it though. And when you get done, can you do me a favor?"

"Sure. What?"

"Cut my smooch out? I want to save it."

Who can say no to someone so charming and delightful?

Thank you, pkb. You made us both very happy. We love you.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

More Nature. Put On Your Sunscreen.

I know. I'm beating you to pieces with outdoorsy this week but it'll make up for the times this summer when I won't set foot outside and I whine, "I'm not going ouuuut! It's hotttt! And there are buggggs!".

I went to another park today. This one is a bit farther away but it's easily accessible to me by streetcar. I've been to it before in the middle of summer but it's this time of year that this particular park is special. I'd been told about it a couple years ago by one of Burkhard's aunties (one of the aunties that adores me) but had never seen it myself. I thought I had a few weeks time yet but my MIL told me she read in the newspaper that this is the week I needed to get down there, camera in hand.

Here's the view of the park at the entrance I used:

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It look a little like pools of water in the distance or that the grass is simply blue, doesn't it?

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It's definitely a blue lawn, but not grass. It's millions of little blue flowers.

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That's the individual flowers. They're called in German Scilla or Blaustern and a friend told me in English they're called Siberian Squill.

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They're everywhere. On virtually ever bit of grassy area are these little blue flowers. They normally don't bloom until April but since we're having mild weather a bit earlier than normal they've come out. They'll probably be gone again in the next week or ten days so folks are making sure they see them before they fade away for the year. I noticed as I walked along the paths winding through the park (this one is larger than the one I was at the other day but this one is perfectly flat - no scary stairs to contend with) that the flowers gave off a mild, sweet scent. It was rather charming in a sort of storybook way to see people laying in the flowers enjoying the sunshine. I've seen fields of wildflowers before but never this dense and over such a large area right in the middle of a city.

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I have to go back down there before they fade for the season. I couldn't get enough of looking at that carpet of blue.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Looking For a Good Place to Land

Magdeburg used to be a really beautiful city. Before it was bombed in 1945 it was filled with baroque architecture and photographs I've seen show a very pretty, charming looking city. While some of the old baroque buildings survived most of the downtown area was destroyed - literally bombed down to the ground - so much of what one sees now is utilitarian, Socialist inspired, blah architecture.

But we have one thing that makes up for the blocks of concrete that pass for apartments and office buildings - parks. Magdeburg has a lot of parks. And even where there aren't parks, there is still a good bit of trees and grass around. You can overlook a lot of dull buildings if you've got flowers and trees and grass to distract your eyes.

I'm forever looking for a spot to have a little quiet time during the warm weather months. I like going for daily walks to get a little exercise and fresh air but sometimes I just want a quiet spot outdoors where I can sit and knit or read and be left alone. I usually go down to the river and find an empty bench somewhere but when the weather is really great or if it's a weekend you can't find a good spot.

There's an old park - one that must have been built back sometime in the 19th century - just a few blocks from my apartment. Despite its local I'd never been there myself - only having driven by it on occasion. Since our brief throwback to winter is over I took advantage of the warmer temperatures yesterday to walk over and see if it could become my place.

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I love pansies.

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I think the city just planted these recently because they're still rather puny.

There are three or four ways to enter the park and the entrance I chose took me up a hill to an overlook and that's where I noticed the pansies down below near another park entrance. As I walked towards that end I noticed these stairs to take me down the hill:

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If I'd walked another...oh...fifty feet or so I'd have walked down another hill that would take me to the flower bed but being as I'm...uh...what's that word? Oh yeah. Idiot. Being as I am an idiot I went down those stairs.

Let's be honest. I'm built weird. Short, stubby legs and so top heavy a decent tap would send me pitching forward. My sense of balance is pretty lousy on level ground and I have a terrible time seeing my feet and therefore have trouble walking down stairs and yet I felt the need to challenge myself to skip down these bad boys.

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Here's the other end. You'll notice there's no trail of blood leading down from where I'd fallen and bounced my big, dumb ass down those crazy ass stairs. I made it down successfully but not without a lot of panic on my part. By the time I got to the bottom my heart was about to leap out of my chest and I was sweating like a whore in church. I got a nice sense of accomplishment though. Perhaps the only thing worse would be to walk up them because no only would you have the sense that your feet are going to slip out from under you as you walk up but it's a rather steep hill. Walking up that set of stairs would have me puffing like a freight train.

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Farther into the park one sees this big, white villa. I don't know what it is - if it's a public building or someone's home or what. I wanted to know at least what it's called and reminded myself to ask my MIL, who went to this park often when she was a child and was visiting her grandmother, when I showed her the photograph.

"What's this big, white villa called?"

"I call it the big, white villa."

Glad she cleared up that mystery.

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This is the view from where I first sat and took a break from my walk. Walking paths wind all thorough the park, up and down hills and stairs (actual modern, safe, concrete stairs - not just stairs made from ancient stones worn slicker than ice from decade upon decade upon decade of exposure) and there are park benches scattered all along the paths. And the all important trash cans. It's irksome to have a nice park and no decent place where one can get rid of trash.

One thing I noticed that pleased me no end was that the park wasn't filled with drunks. Drinking in public and even being drunk in public isn't forbidden in Germany and in some parks or public squares the city drunks congregate to sit all day with a case of beer and crappy music on their tinny radios. This park is a bit more secluded and, more importantly, not anywhere near a store or kiosk where alcohol is sold. If it's too much of a pain to get your beer and return your empty bottles, it's not worth it to them to hang out there. Instead I saw a few student from the university laying in the sunshine and studying. Older couples out for a walk (this park is near some senior citizen housing). Near where I sat I saw two young guys sitting on a bench passing a guitar back and forth between them while smoking from a water pipe - one would play while the other smoked. It was some fruit infused tobacco. Smelled like apples.

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This is the view from the second place where I sat - more or less the opposite side of where I'd been sitting before. I like that little willow tree. The next time I go there I want to sit underneath it.

I think I've found a good spot for me. My place to be on my own enjoy being outdoors. It's the place where I want to sit and knit and just listen to the wind as it blows through the trees. That was the other thing I liked about this park. Even though it's in the center of the city, it's very quiet. I couldn't hear any cars or streetcars or anything else for that matter.

But I'm going to be sure that when I'm there I have my cell phone with me. You know, just in case I get the urge to walk down those stairs again and that's the time I'm unsuccessful.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday Shuffle - Cravings Edition

The waning days of winter and plunge into spring puts me in the mood to change direction and have something a little different.

Stuff I've got a hankering for these days:

~ A tomato sandwich. A juicy, sun ripened tomato, lots of mayonnaise, salt and pepper on fresh bread. A sandwich you have to eat while leaning over the sink because it's gonna be messy.

~ A good manicure. I live over a nail salon so I don't have much excuse for not going to get one.

~ A trip to an art museum. I love all museums but sometimes I need to go to an art museum. They tend to be quieter than other museums and people aren't rushing through the exhibits. I like to be able to just sit in front of a painting and think about it. Or think about anything else.

~ Going out to lunch with girlfriends. I like going out to lunch better than going out to dinner and going to lunch is best with girlfriends. Or my sister. It's not the food - it's the conversation. Conversation among girlfriends is just best while out to lunch.

~ Buying new summer clothes. I'd like to find a perfect cotton summer dress. And some crisp cotton camp shirts. I adore really lovely, starchy, perfectly ironed cotton clothes in the summer.

~ A trip somewhere by train. Trips somewhere always seem more exciting to me when I go by train. And I can knit instead of drive.

~ Seeing a concert. I haven't been to a concert in nearly two years. There's something so emotionally overwhelming about seeing music performed live. Seeing a concert or a musical performed live can make me burst into tears because I simply can't contain the feeling it gives.

Speaking of music, it's time for Bixente the iPod to shuffle for us.
  1. Cradle Of Love - Billy Idol
  2. Suffragette City - David Bowie
  3. And She Was - Talking Heads
  4. America - Simon & Garfunkel
  5. Naked As We Came - Iron & Wine
  6. Mustang Sally - Wilson Pickett
  7. What A Crying Shame - The Mavericks
  8. Hey There - Rosemary Clooney
  9. Runnin' With The Devil - Van Halen
  10. Carolina In My Mind - James Taylor
Have a great weekend. Satisfy what you've been craving.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

How Can I Say No? She Dresses My Sock Monkey!

Sari has tagged me for a meme. I know. Meme. A filthy word meaning "We're one step away from Blogthings quizzes.". Still this meme has two redeeming factors. First, it's a musical meme and second I can't resist a tagging from a woman who has supplied most of my sock monkey's wardrobe.

And there's a third redeeming factor. I didn't have anything to write about today anyway. It puked rain all day and I knitted. You can't really expand upon that.

List seven songs you are into right now, regardless of what they are. The important thing is that they're songs you're presently enjoying. The tag seven others to find out what they're listening to.
  1. Lukey - Great Big Sea Now that's a song that makes me want to jack myself up in a pub and enjoy a pint or two.
  2. You're So Vain - Carly Simon From the first rumblings of the bass to the first piano chords she pounds out to the soaring violins at the end, it's a great song. And B used the think the lyrics were "I had some dreams, they were clowns in my pocket, clowns in my pocket...".
  3. Take A Bow - Madonna Sari, you and Hilda pick your jaws up off the floor. This song is one of the two Madonna songs I like - the other being La Isla Bonita. After declaring last week that I am no fan of Madonna I went back and listened to this song again and rediscovered why I like it.
  4. Born to Run - Bruce Springsteen I heard this song the other day on the radio while I was driving and it instantly put me in a great mood - it brings back good memories. And it reminds me of one of the wittiest moments on The Sopranos - when Tony quizzes Christopher as to why he's late getting to a meeting and without missing a beat Christopher replies " The highway's jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive.".
  5. Keep The Car Running - Arcade Fire Makes me shake my booty in time with it while I'm chopping vegetables for supper.
  6. I Believe In A Thing Called Love - The Darkness This came up on my shuffle two weeks ago and I've been playing it a lot every since. I flail my head around to it while knitting wrapped stitch short row heels. If the heels end up wonky, you'll know why.
  7. On The Wings Of A Nightingale - Everly Brothers Sweet, jangly guitars and soaring, impossibly tight harmonies. I love a lot of Everly Brothers but this is one of my favorites of theirs.
Okay, I'm going to wimp out and not tag seven people. Hey! Seven people reading this! Bail me out here and do this meme!

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Being Bilingual Is Also Sexy

I don't know if that's true but at least it's an incentive.

Last week there was an interesting conversation going on Lisa's blog in which we discussed learning German after having moved to Germany. It reminded me of my own experiences with learning German.

When I decided to move to Germany I knew about a dozen words in German. I fully expected that after having lived there a year there I would know German and be able to talk to anyone. Remember the scene in Splash where Daryl Hannah learns to speak English after spending a few hours watching TV in Bloomingdales? I thought it would work like that. I knew it would take more than a few hours but I thought that a year or so of living with Germans and watching a lot of German TV would teach me German.

It doesn't work like that.

Now watching a lot of German TV and listening to a lot of German conversation does help you learn to understand German and it helps you recognize sentence structure but that's about it. If you want to speak German, you have to do more.

After living here for about four months I went to the local Volkshochschule - sort of like an adult education program - for German lessons. I bought my little text book and my little work book and went there with high hopes that I'd be speaking German in fourteen weeks. I mean I'd taken five years of Spanish lessons and afterwards spoke Spanish pretty well. This should be about the same, right? There weren't enough people signed up for the Don't-know-a-word-of-German class (the one I wanted) or for the I-know-some-German class so they were combined and I spent most of my time thoroughly confused. After six weeks I hated going to class so much that I begged B to let me stop going.

I limped along learning a bit more and a bit more and after a while I hired a private tutor. She taught me a good deal - my vocabulary increased dramatically - but our lessons were short lived because she had to return to the US to finish her degree program. I hired another tutor that she recommended to me and I learned even more. Past tense! Future tense! Separable verbs! Reflexive verbs! I probably would have learned even more but he and I also blew a lot of my lesson time talking about soccer.

By this time I'd been in Germany for about 2 1/2 years and I wasn't any great shakes with speaking German. I could go shopping by myself as long as I didn't need to enlist the help of a sales person but I was afraid to go most places without having my husband or my MIL tagging along. It wasn't lack of desire that was holding me back. I really, really wanted to learn German. What was lacking was me actually speaking German.

Speaking German terrified me. The grammar is different and while I didn't have too much trouble actually pronouncing most words, when it came to constructing a sentence, I'd freeze up. It was so frustrating to be left out of conversations and when I'd try to talk I'd be met with more annoyance. I imagine they meant well but when visiting friends would say something to me and I wouldn't understand, instead of saying it again more slowly or with simpler words they'd only say it louder as if my ability to understand would increase with the volume of their voice. Or there were the times when I'd want to say something and I'd murmur to B asking how to say it in German or I'd ask him to clarify something someone else had said and I'd be commanded by others to Sprich Deutsch! (Speak German!). This particularly annoyed me and it got to the point where I wanted do say "Look shitwit - when you start paying the rent around this joint you can tell me what language to speak!", but this would be rather ineffectual having to actually say it in English.

I knew I had to make myself speak German more often. I knew the reason my Spanish had become so rusty over the years was because I'd stopped speaking regularly. One trick used to boost my confidence in constructing a sentence in German was to think of a random sentence in English - the more complex the better. I'd then think of how I'd convey the same meaning in German. Sometimes I'd figure it out quickly, sometimes I'd have to think on it a bit longer but when I thought I had the solution I'd pop in on B and say the sentence. Once he got over laughing at my non sequitur he'd either praise me for getting it right or gently correct my bad modifiers or word order. Another trick I'd employ was to set aside a certain amount of time where B and I would only speak German with one another. It started out to be just ten minutes or so but we steadily added more time until I could go an hour or more in German only. Sometimes we didn't get much said because I'd spend so long trying to figure out how to say what I wanted to say but it got me to just start talking.

While I was doing better, it wasn't enough. I was still so uptight with speaking German that I'd actively avoid it if possible. I'd become frustrated when trying to talk with my MIL because I'd speak so softly due to my hesitance to speak German and she couldn't hear me properly. I'd say something and have it greeted by her saying "Huh?" and I'd assume I'd said something wrong instead of just not loud enough. Still my MIL was very patient and gentle with me and she'd praise my efforts. And when I'd be out in public and would have to speak German I either was exceptionally good or the people I was speaking to were exceptionally kind because no one ever ridiculed my efforts.

Finally in 2003 I got to the point where it was sink or swim. I was hospitalized for two weeks and no one there spoke English. Well, some of the doctors did but they would rarely do so and I suspect the reason was that their knowledge of English was limited to what they'd use while on vacation. Ordering a beer in Florida and talking to someone about removing internal organs are two pretty different things and the accuracy of one is a bit more important than the other. I had no other choice but to make myself talk and make myself understand German and I surprised myself at how much I actually knew. By the time I left the hospital, my fear, while not gone completely, was manageable.

Those two weeks made such a difference. I began to go out on my own more often and gaining that freedom went far in helping me feel less isolated. There was a time when I hated to be alone with my MIL for more than fifteen minutes because I had trouble talking with her and now I could be alone with her for hours and not get flustered. Being able to talk enabled me to do things like have non-German speakers visit and go out with them without having to drag a German speaker along. I enjoyed having visitors more because I could talk with them without it becoming an exercise in frustration. Friends and relatives that I didn't see very often would remark on how much my German had improved and I knew I'd done something big when our family doctor - a woman that doesn't given compliments lightly - commented on how much better my German was and how she was proud of me.

Now don't get me wrong. I am not fluent in German. I'm conversational in German but I have a ways to go yet before being fluent. I can read in German but it's a tedious process and I'm rather poor at writing in German. And I absolutely won't speak German on the phone unless I have no other choice. Yes, I make my husband call my hairdresser if I need to change my appointment but that's okay. She thinks he has a sexy voice and she adores him. Still I realized I'm on the right track when I found that on rare occasion I dream in German and more and more often I find myself thinking in German.

All the lessons and text books and TV watching in the world isn't what helped me most. They had their place but the thing that made the real difference was speaking German every single day. It's hard. It's scary. It's intimidating. And nothing will replace it. You simply can't learn a foreign language if you don't speak it regularly.

When I lived in the US I worked for many years in the customer service departments of various firms. It used to annoy me no end to have a customer on the phone who barely spoke a word of English or who would put their child on the phone because their school aged child was the only one in the family who knew enough English to talk to me - an especially frustrating experience when I worked for an electric utility where the giving and receiving of accurate information is critical. I wish I had a dollar for every time I hung up from one of those calls and said "Why don't these people learn to speak English?!"

And then the shoe was put on the other foot.

There was one time when I was ridiculed for my lacking ability to speak German but it wasn't in public. It was in my own home. A workman hired by my rental company came to my apartment to do something to the water meters. He said something to me and I couldn't understand him. I tried to ask him to please step into the living room and speak to my husband but he'd interrupt me and make his demand even louder. Finally he said "Why don't you learn German?". That I understood it cut me to the quick. I kept my composure though and managed to ask the workman yet again to come into the living room and speak to my husband, who had been listening to the conversation. The workman complied, he told my husband what needed to be done and my husband said we would do it but to also know this: the workman had better never come in his home and speak to his wife in that manner ever again and if he couldn't agree to that, the workman could get the hell out of our apartment. It was then that I vowed to never again say "Why don't you learn to speak [insert your language of choice here]?"

If you're new (or even old) to a foreign country and you don't know the dominant language of where you live, you've got to learn it. There is no way you are ever going to fit in or feel a part of where you live if you can't communicate with the people around you. You will always feel isolated and lonesome and left out. It's hard to learn a new language, especially if you're a little older, but it can be done - but only if you practice. You've got to speak the language you're trying to learn and you've got to do it every day. It's scary and you'll get things wrong sometimes but you can do it. People will be more encouraging than you imagine and you'll find so much more freedom when you can communicate with everyone.

And if you're someone who's ever said "Why can't they learn our language?", think of this. Maybe they are learning. Maybe they're trying as hard as they can. It's a long process and it's easy to get discouraged and these people need less attitude from you and more encouragement. Your patience with an immigrant who's trying to learn to speak the language can make a great deal of difference to them and can keep them trying instead of taking the easy way out and giving up.

Now I don't want to end this by discouraging anyone trying to learn a foreign language but here's proof that learning a new language can sometimes put you in an embarrassing situation - and proof that part of learning a language is learning how things are said in that language...that's it's not just a matter of saying an English sentence with German words. Doing that can get you into trouble. Example: On a hot day or when the heat would be up too high I would say "I'm hot." in German by saying "Ich bin heiss.". The proper way to convey that it's too warm is to say "Mir ist heiss." which translates more to "It's hot to me.". I'd been saying it wrong for...I dunno... a couple of years until one of my tutors taught me how to say it properly. What I'd been saying all along wasn't that it was too warm for me - I'd been saying that I was horny. Nice! I couldn't even count how many times I'd said "Ich bin heiss.". Just to my MIL alone I must have said it a hundred times.

I turned to B and said "Why didn't you tell me I'd been saying it wrong all along! Instead of me saying it was hot, you let me walk around saying to everyone that I'm horny! What's gotten into you! Why did you let me do that?".

He replied, "I thought it was cute.".

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Why a Blue Cloud Now Hovers Over My Home

There are things that give one such a horrible, bone crushing feeling of disappointment followed by extreme anger and frustration.

Everyone forgetting your birthday. Not getting the vacation days you requested. Having your heart set on a sale item and once you get to the store you see someone walk off with the last one. Not being able to get your favorite dress zipped up any more.

And then there's spending 2 1/2 hours of time carefully writing a blog entry, re-reading it, editing it, finding all the typos and then when you copy for safety's sake before hitting the "publish" button, hitting the wrong key and instead of copying the entry you suck it into a black hole and further screw things up by having the last saved copy be a link you, by accident, pasted in. Don't ask me how things like that happen.

Such things bring you a horrible, bone crushing feeling of disappointment followed by extreme anger and frustration followed by a string of obscenities so strong and flying from your lips as such speed they cause your yucca palm to whither.

It can be written again but not tonight. I just don't have it in me to write it again tonight. I'll simply try to write it again tomorrow.

And we shall never speak of this incident again. I think all that record breaking cussing caused me to injure something.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Faithful Customer

I'm a fiend for eating TicTacs. I've always got a pack in my coat pocket or in my purse and I go through a pack every couple days. I get a little wiggy if I don't feel as though my breath is all minty fresh and since I am not much of gum chewer I've opted for breath mints.

Somehow B and I got on the topic of my ridiculous TicTac consumption and I told him that while I do love TicTacs, I've become a full-time TicTac-er only since my move to Germany. Before then my mint preference was for the not-to-be-found-in-Germany Certs.

Now really, one breath mint is pretty much like the other - with the exception of Mentos which are too chewy and candy-like for me. Smints are okay except I'm not crazy about how you have to keep pushing the little dispenser button to get multiple Smints. This is an important consideration for me because I can't eat just one mint - I have to eat a minimum of three at a time. Breath Savers were good if I couldn't get Certs or TicTacs but my heart really does belong to Certs.

Now if mints are pretty much the same, why do I have a long standing devotion to Certs? American Bandstand. Certs were a sponsor of American Bandstand and from the time I started watching AB as a wee small child until I gave it up as soon as Madonna made a guest appearance, my consumer preferences were strongly influenced by commercials seen while watching American Bandstand. Certs, Dentyne gum, Noxzema skin cream, Cover Girl make-up, Ultra Brite toothpaste, Love's Baby Soft cologne,Stridex acne pads, Clearasil, Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific shampoo - if it was advertised on AB then I knew it had to be a required item for growing up right in America. Stick with the sponsors and I'd be assured to have a perfectly made up zit free face, shiny, good smelling hair, white teeth and fresh breath and a cloud of boy enticing powdery scent following my every step. What impressionable young teen wouldn't want that?

I eventually learned that Madison Avenue ad executives don't always tell the truth about the power of their products and that using the right one wouldn't guarantee happiness or your current crush asking you to the dance after Saturday night's basketball game. I gave up the Noxzema, Stridex and Clearasil after it made my skin so raw it hurt, chose a line of make up more suitable for a more mature person, traded my powdery cologne for a more sophisticated scent and figured out my tetracycline damaged teeth weren't going to get whiter until I had them capped.

Kept the Certs though. You really can't underestimate the power of fresh, minty breath.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Becuse it's Always Good to Review a Lesson Learned

A St. Patrick's Day that will never be forgotten. It's the primary reason shy away from drinking on St. Patrick's Day. And the primary reason I no longer get into cars with monks.

Hope your St. Paddy's celebration will be less vivid.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday Shuffle - Shhhh! Not So Loud! Edition

Now let's keep it down around here today. I have a headache. A big headache. An ache has come along and taken my head hostage. It's an insurgent headache. I had to get all "shock and awe" on my headache and down an 800mg tablet of Ibuprofen that was the size of the upper half of my thumb. So far it hasn't worked. Time to use diplomacy. Call in negotiators and threaten my headache with sanctions.

I know how this headache got in the position to invade my skull. On Tuesday it was 68°F. Today it was about 50°F and come Sunday it'll be about 35°F. I don't handle quickly changing weather very well (and so I moved to Germany where quickly changing weather is a staple this time of year) and it's kept me out of sorts all day. I took what was supposed to be quick 30 minute nap that turned into a 2 1/2 hour snore-and-drool-a-thon and in that time my headache grew to gigantic proportions. It didn't just pitch a tent for a comfortable stay - it built a subdivision and a strip mall.

However, Bixente the iPod is feeling fine and is ready to shuffle. I may have to forgo the earphones as I don't know if I can stand music being drilled directly into my head. Or maybe I should do the opposite. I'll treat it as an opportunity to get all "Give up, Noriega!" on my head pain - you know, pump in music at extreme volume in order to secure a surrender.
  1. She Moves In Her Own Way - The Kooks
  2. Why Won't You Give Me Your Love - The Zutons
  3. Kashmir - Led Zeppelin
  4. Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man - Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty
  5. Batucada - Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66
  6. She's The Only One - The Rifles
  7. Mari-Mac - Great Big Sea
  8. I Will - The Beatles
  9. Jungle Boogie - Kool & The Gang
  10. Wish (Komm Zu Mir) - Franka Potente & Thomas D
Feeling better already. Bixente the iPod always knows just what to do.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Fellow Citizens

In an attempt to get in as much outdoor time as I can cram in before the weather turns lousy this weekend I took Bonnie down to the river for a walk. B can't get out with me during cold weather months so he told me to take the camera with me and take a picture of something he wouldn't have seen in a long time - my choice of subject.

Magdeburg is a flat city but it's built up a hill - not quite steep enough to call it a bluff - from the river. A wall once ringed the city, as was the case with most old cities, and some of the original wall is still along the river side of the city. I don't know how old the wall itself is - the city is just over 1200 years old and I know the wall was there 400 years ago when Magdeburg was sacked but that's as well as I can pinpoint its age.

What I took pictures of though isn't as old - my MIL told me they've been hanging on this section of the city wall since sometime in the 50s.

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They're sculptures of what are supposed to be people of Magdeburg from long ago, carved out of limestone. All of them have names carved on the sculpture itself.

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This one is named Blutappelsine - Blood Oranges. She seems to know how to advertise her wares.

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This is Fliejentuten-Heinrich - Flypaper Henry. When I was there I was thinking he looks important like a barrister, but he's the flypaper seller. Of course back when this wall was built, he may have been an incredibly important man.

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This is Feuerkäwer - Firebug. As the story goes, she had long, flowing red hair - hence the fire name - and the lighting bolts from her cup indicates she liked to drink. She also had a tobacco store and another "business" on the side. Her position may indicate what business that was.

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This is Lusebenecke - Lice Benecke. He was Herr Benecke and lived under bridges with his little dog. He was known to have a little trouble with keeping clean and the lice that he had made people stop calling him Herr Benecke and start calling him Luse Benecke.

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This is Schlackaffe - the stinky, dirty guy. His story is that he worked on the fishing docks along the river and was paid in fish which he would put in his pockets and leave there. Naturally this began to smell something terrible and from this story originates the terms verpattet or verschlackt which are very old words usually only used by old folks now to describe something extremely filthy dirty.

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This is Affenvater - Monkey father. He's an organ grinder who was up on the road where now my MIL's apartment is. A little monkey sat up upon his organ and so he was called the monkey father.

I don't know if these were real people or were just characters the sculptor made up to populate the imaginary Magdeburg in his mind but I don't think it would be hard to believe that such people really existed here long ago.

I did well. B said it they were definitely things he hadn't seen in a very long time - perhaps thirty years or so. I'd seen them many times but today was the first day I bothered to stop and take a closer look at them. It makes me wish I could somehow see back in time 500 years and see what Magdeburg was like back then.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Discuss Among Yourselves

I've never raised a child so maybe it disqualifies me for making comment on how children are raised but then again I've never written a novel but I know a stinker when I read one.

In the past week or so I've read a couple things online that made me think about how children are different than the time when I was growing up. I wish I could remember where I'd read these articles because I'd link to them but even if I made up these theories out of whole cloth myself I think there is least enough behind these ideas to merit consideration.

The first was a speech given by someone and in the speech the speaker referred to the C.S. Lewis book Voyage of the Dawn Treader where one of the characters, Eustice, is confronted by a dragon. In the book, Lewis writes that Eustice has no idea about dragons and what to do about one because he never read the sort of books that would feature a dragon. The actual crux of the speech, as I understood it anyway, was that parents limit their children's exposure to bad thing. Bad circumstances, bad things that happen in the world, and so on so that children don't gain any experience with the bad that can and will come into their lives. They're unprepared to deal with evil or bad things because they don't know how to recognize it when they see it. Too much shielding of children leaves them more vulnerable. Even reading stories with bad characters at least teaches children that bad does exist and not everyone will have your best interests at heart.

I think there must be a fine line here between having your child recognize bad things and making them overly worrisome over bad things. I can see the point of reading Grimm's fairy tales to kids and letting them see the clear distinction between good and evil but letting kids read about or see violence can have the opposite effect. I would think too much exposure would perhaps make kids numb to it.

The other article was discussing how a survey of current college students found the majority to be self centered and vain - that these students found themselves to be most important. The article discussed how the message being given to children as they grow up has changed over the years. I know when I was a child the message of "You're unique" was emphasized in an effort to make kids feel that it was okay if they were tall or fat or wore glasses or braces or good at sports or made good grades. That everyone is an individual with a unique personality. Evidently over the years the message has changed to "You're special" and kids have grown up thinking that since they're special they're somehow better or more important than others and therefore young adults now think of themselves as being the focal point and we've raised a generation of narcissists.

I like the idea of teaching children that they are special but perhaps the line is being crossed and "special" is being translated into "better than". Is there a difference between "special" and "better than"?

This is all probably why I don't have kids. I think I'd be so afraid of how I was doing as a mother I'd have my child boxed up like a veal calf.

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Monday, March 12, 2007

I Remember There Being a Weekend

Today I thought back over my weekend and I was hard pressed to say what I'd done. I didn't knit. Not one stitch. I didn't read. I did some housework but not much more than dusting and sweeping. I cooked meals but nothing fancy. I talked to my sister on the phone for an hour and a half. I watched Pulp Fiction on Saturday night. I played Sacred on Sunday night. Walked the dog eight times. That's it. Somehow that just doesn't seem to account for all the hours in a weekend. I can't even say most of it was lost in sleep.

I feel a bit like Ray Milland in Lost Weekend which wouldn't worry me if I'd only had a drink sometime on Saturday or Sunday. I didn't even so much as take a swig from the bottle of Absolut Citron in my refrigerator.

Maybe the mundane and ordinary has piled up to the point where I no longer recognize things I do. They just fall into the pile of blur and are forgotten.

Well...since I did nothing significant then we'll just move on to something equally as insignificant but at least somewhat amusing. You can never underestimate the power and allure of amusing.

A meme. Oh shut up. You know you can't resist reading even the lamest meme. And this one is about books! Somehow it doesn't seem as pointless if it's about books. That's what I tell myself anyway.

Swiped from Hilda. I adore her. Smart, witty, savvy. But she's never driven a car. I always find it fascinating that she's gotten through life without ever having driven a car. It's probably what keeps her smart, witty and savvy.

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?
What exactly is trade paperback vs mass market paperback? I prefer paperbacks because I'm cheap but if one is fancier than the other I don't care. If I can read the print and the pages aren't falling out, I'll buy it. I very seldom buy books in hardback.

Amazon or brick and mortar?
I said not too long ago that one of the things I miss about living in the US is being able to browse in bookstores. I never read in German so I don't browse German bookstores. Now I loves me some Amazon and we order something from Amazon dang near every month but it doesn't replace being in a lovely bookstore. But then there's something to be said about having someone bring me a book to my door.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?
I don't turn my nose up at any bookstore. Big chain, funky used book place, small, family owned business - they're all wonderful to me. I'd go to either Barnes & Noble or Borders just to be surrounded by books.

Bookmark or dogear?
Bookmark. Dogeared books irk me.

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?
Oh hell, I'm lucky to get them on a shelf at all! I do try to keep books by the same author together but there's no way I'd keep up with having things all anal retentively arranged alphabetized.

Keep, throw away, or sell?
There are some books that I love that I keep. The rest of my books I give away to others - I've even had friends in the US send me books they've read and then I've sent them back to another person in the US for them to read. And some books I donate to the English language section of my local library.

Keep dust jacket or toss it?
Keep it. I've gotten used books from my sister sans dust jacket and thought "Now why in the hell did you remove the dust jacket?"

Read with dust jacket or remove it?
I can't think of a time when I removed a dust jacket while reading a book. Me removing it would be as good as throwing it away because I'd probably mix it in with the old newspapers.

Short story or novel?
I mostly read novels but I don't necessarily like them more than short stories. I'm just interested in writing that keeps me engaged.

Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)?
Collections are what I mostly read but can't say I prefer them.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?
Harry Potter. Most people had read the first four books before I did and I couldn't believe that anything could live up to such hype but when I read them, I was in love. I am completely captivated by those books.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
I hate to stop reading before a chapter break but I also hate falling asleep and dropping the book so if I notice I'm reading the same sentence eight times in a row and I'm not near a break, I give in to the fatigue.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?
Dark and stormy nights usually translate into a real page turner.

Buy or Borrow?
Buy. And of course folks give me their old books. I don't like borrowing books because I like to take my time with them if I choose but I will say that if I borrow your book, I'll return it in pristine condition. Even books I own look like I've never cracked them open after I'm finished with them.

New or used?
If I'm buying it, I want new. If you're giving me your used book all I ask is that I don't find crumbs or hair between the pages.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse?
Since I can't browse bookstores I read reviews and get recommendations but I do browse online if I'm looking for something within a particular genre.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
There's something to be said for both. Remember when Stephen King originally came out with the Green Mile series and there was a new one every month? Those cliffhanger endings are what made me head to the bookstore the day a new one would be released. I hate it though when I read a stand alone novel and the ending is so vague that you can't get if the story is finished or not. I don't like feeling as though the last chapter is missing.

Morning reading, afternoon reading or nighttime reading?
Usually afternoon. I don't often have time in the mornings and in the evenings I'm usually using my computer.

Stand-alone or series?
I love both. A great stand alone novel is very satisfying but there's something about recurring characters that I love. It's like visiting with old friends.

Favorite series? For fun reading I love mystery series - my favorites are the Kinsey Millhone series by Sue Grafton and the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Other series I like are the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon (which sort of surprises me because that's not normally a story like that I'd like), the Mitford series by Jan Karon (another series that on the surface isn't something I'd like), the Chronicals of Narnia by C.S.Lewis and, as if I haven't already said it enough, Harry Potter.

Favorite children's book?
The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder would be my most often read followed by Charlottes Web and Stuart Little by E.B. White.

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
Another series! Run with the Horsemen, The Whisper of the River and When All the World Was Young by Ferrol Sams. I love the main character, Porter Osborne.

Favorite books read last year?
Knitting Rules! by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

Favorite books of all time?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Lamb, The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore, She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb, Stone from the River by Ursula Hegi, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. And many others.

Least favorite book you finished last year?
There was one in a murder mystery series I wasn't too cranked over but I don't remember which one.

What are you reading right now?
Unhinged by Sarah Graves and Sammy's Hill by Kristen Gore.

What are you reading next?
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber.

I won't tag anyone - if you're a reader, feel free to steal this. And of course if anyone has any book recommendations for me, leave me a comment. I've got a couple Amazon gift certificates burning a hole in my pocket.


Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday Shuffle - Artists You'll Never See Shuffle Up Here Edition

I've often seen or heard in various places - blogs, online bulletin boards, water cooler conversation, parties - folks talk about what music they listen to. Inevitably someone will describe their taste in music as "eclectic". I'm sure I've even done it once or twice in my life. Honestly, have you ever heard of someone who didn't think their taste in music is eclectic? I mean who really would describe their taste in music as "undeveloped" or "pedestrian" or "one-dimensional" or even just "boring"? Music freaks and ordinary listeners alike love to talk about how they listen to everything from country to classical to rock to R&B to punk to showtunes. "I listen to everything from Mozart to The Monkees!". People love to claim they listen to everything that's out there with one common exception. "I have an eclectic taste in music. I listen to everything. Except rap."

It's ordinary to claim an eclectic taste in music. What's not as common is claiming to have an eclectic taste in music one won't listen to but I'm here to prove it's possible. Here's a list of musical artists you'll never, ever see shuffle up on any given Friday. It's not that I hate these artists - some of them have individual songs that I like at least somewhat but not enough to have on my iPod - but some are artists that I just can't abide. Not a definitive list - just who pops into my mind tonight.

And in no particular order:
  1. Janis Joplin - Okay, I do dislike her. There's not a Janis Joplin song I won't switch off the radio immediately.
  2. The Doors - Bleh. I don't get the attraction to Jim Morrison. I don't think he was a genius and think he was incredibly self absorbed. And that damn roller-rink-organ playing from Ray Manzarek drives me crazy.
  3. Creedence Clearwater Revival - John Fogerty's voice makes my skin crawl.
  4. Willie Nelson - As I said yesterday there are a couple Willie Nelson songs that I like but for the most part he gets a big no from me. That being said I love Seven Spanish Angels - the duet he does with Ray Charles - so maybe that would show up on a shuffle from me.
  5. The Grateful Dead - Oh hell no. I never got the attraction to them.
  6. Miles Davis - I don't want to say I hate all jazz but it's not a favorite musical genre of mine. Still I hate all his jazz.
  7. Jimmy Buffett - Another that just doesn't do anything for me. Margaritaville is an okay song. Actually I could probably name only three or four Jimmy Buffett Songs. Oh! Come Monday. That's a good song.
  8. Madonna - I like two Madonna songs. Else she bores me to tears.
  9. Norah Jones - A musical coma.
  10. Supertramp - Makes me have warm thoughts of a Janis Joplin/Doors marathon.
  11. Nirvana - Don't like them, don't dislike them. Just...nothing. I probably just made Poppy scream.
  12. James Brown - I know that may be disrespectful to say just after he's passed on but I have to admit it. I can't think of one song of his that I like even a little bit.
  13. Pink Floyd - Okay, I can get through a few of their songs but for the most part, can't stand them.
Admit it. At least some, if not all, of you read the list and thought "How can she hate ______? I love _______!".

Time to shuffle. Here's ten that I definitely like. Or maybe not. B's put a few songs on Bixente the iPod that I don't like so it's always a gamble.
  1. Wide Open Spaces - Dixie Chicks
  2. How To Save A Life - The Fray
  3. Nobody But Me - Pursuit of Happiness
  4. Lonesome Day - Bruce Springsteen
  5. You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth - Meat Loaf
  6. I Believe In A Thing Called Love - The Darkness
  7. Wake Up - Arcade Fire
  8. Roll With It - Oasis
  9. Astral Weeks - Van Morrison
  10. Lay Lady Lay - Bob Dylan
Admit it. Some, if not all, of you looked at my shuffle and thought "How can she like ______? I hate ______!" It's simple. I have an eclectic taste in music.

Have a great weekend. Do something that will make others scratch their heads.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Hoping My Memory Doesn't Fail Me

As much as I protest about the goofiness of memes, I certainly do my share of them. I think I protest in an effort to convince y'all that my arm is practically being twisted to get me to participate. In reality all it really takes is a meme about music, books or movies.

Today it's music. Swiped from Kara.

1. Go to Pop Culture Madness. Click on "pop music" on the left sidebar. Scroll down a bit and find the hits for the year you turned 18 years old.

2. Copy and paste the top 75 songs of that year.

3. Bold the ones you liked; strike the ones you disliked; and italicize the ones you knew but didn’t exactly like or dislike. The ones you don’t know will stay plain text.

I hope I can remember which ones I liked way back in 1980 and not mix them up with ones I liked and later hated.

1. You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC
2. Theme From New York New York - Frank Sinatra Worst Sinatra song ever. Ever.
3. Another One Bites The Dust - Queen Not the worst Queen song ever, but close.
4. What I Like About You - Romantics Every time I hear this song I remember flailing around to it in Poseurs on M Street in Georgetown.
5. Funkytown - Lipps Incorporated Disco couldn't die fast enough for me.
6. On The Road Again - Willie Nelson I like maybe two Willie Nelson songs. This isn't one of them.
7. Another Brick In The Wall (part 2) - Pink Floyd This almost became our "class song". Thank goodness us rednecks banded together and picked Free Bird instead.
8. Master Blaster (Jammin) - Stevie Wonder
9. Rapper's Delight - Sugarhill Gang
10. Fame - Irene Cara
11. Ladies Night - Kool and the Gang
12. Take Your Time (Do It Right) - S.O.S. Band
13. He's So Shy - Pointer Sisters
14. Feels Like I'm In Love - Kelly Marie
15. One In A Million You - Larry Graham Took me a minute to remember this song. I was sorry I remembered it.
16. Any Way You Want It - Journey Oh I loved this song! It reminds me of my first love.
17. The Rose - Bette Midler Awwww...what a sentimental favorite!
18. Could I Have This Dance - Anne Murray
19. Off The Wall - Michael Jackson
20. Rock With You - Michael Jackson
21. I Wanna Be Your Lover - Prince I swear, I can't remember this song for the life of me.
22. Upside Down - Diana Ross
23. On The Radio - Donna Summer
24. Volcano - Jimmy Buffet
25. Lady - Kenny Rogers I can't stand Kenny Rogers but the rest of his work is genius compared to this shit.
26. Whip It - Devo
27. Love Stinks - J. Geils Band
28. Cheap Sunglasses - ZZ Top I had many cheap sunglasses mornings during this time of my life.
29. You Better Run - Pat Benatar No memory of this one.
30. Look What You've Done To Me - Boz Scaggs Not his best song but I have fond memories of this song.
31. Hit Me With Your Best Shot - Pat Benatar
32. Misunderstanding - Genesis One of the few Genesis songs I like.
33. Heartbreaker - Pat Benatar
34. This Is It - Kenny Loggins My friends and I would sing along "This is shit!".
35. Cocaine - Eric Clapton
36. You May Be Right - Billy Joel Can't stand this song now.
37. The Long Run - Eagles Another I liked at the time but don't care for now.
38. My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys - Willie Nelson This isn't one of the Willie Nelson songs I like either.
39. I'm Alright - Kenny Loggins Another that doesn't show up on my likes list any longer.
40. Rock Lobster - B-52s I never tire of this song.
41. Do That To Me One More Time - The Captain and Tenille
42. Call Me - Blondie
43. Love X Love - George Benson
44. Against The Wind - Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
45. I Don't Like Mondays - Boomtown Rats
46. I'm Coming Out - Diana Ross
47. Don't Push It Don't Force It - Leon Haywood
48. Remember (Walking In The Sand) - Aerosmith Can't place this song at all.
49. (Just Like) Starting Over - John Lennon I was so happy that John was back into music.
50. Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Queen One of my fave Queen songs.
51. Dreamer - Supertramp How I hate Supertramp.
52. Hungry Heart - Bruce Springsteen Perfection.
53. It's Still Rock and Roll To Me - Billy Joel Boooorrrring.
54. Turn It On Again - Genesis
55. Special Lady - Ray Goodman and Brown
56. Games Without Frontiers - Peter Gabriel
57. Give Me The Night - George Benson
58. Brass In Pocket - Pretenders Brilliant.
59. The Spirit Of Radio - Rush
60. Train In Vain (Stand By Me) - The Clash Oh I love them.
61. Working My Way Back To You (Forgive Me Girl) - The Spinners
62. Angeline - Allman Brothers Band
63. Alabama Getaway - Grateful Dead
64. All Out Of Love - Air Supply Too much drama for me.
65. The Breaks - Kurtis Blow
66. 99 - Toto
67. Longer - Dan Fogleberg - A really perfect love song.
68. I Got You - Split Enz
69. Don't Misunderstand Me - Rossington Collins Band
70. Dirty Water - The Inmates
71. Cars - Gary Numan Complete crap.
72. Back Of My Hand (I've Got Your Number) - The Jags
73. Say Goodbye To Little Jo - Steve Forbert The only song of his I can remember is Romeo's Tune which I loved.
74. Tired of Toein' The Line - Rocky Burnett
75. Private Idaho - B-52s

More music tomorrow for it is then that we shuffle!

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007


The Big Finn didn't know that I have a dog. Let's remedy that with an introduction. You can't watch the game if you don't know all the players.

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This is Bonnie. We also call her Bonbon, Little Girl, Schmoops and when she's bad we call her Fräulein (Nicht so, Fräulein!). She's a mixed breed...something or other.

I've always had pets and when I moved to Germany that need to have a pet didn't change. My MIL had a little spitz named Tina but she didn't feel like my pet. Plus Tina was freakishly attached to my MIL.

In 2001 I finally talked B into getting a dog of our own. We wanted one from an animal shelter but small, apartment-sized dogs aren't always easy to come by. Aunt Annoying saw a photo of Bonnie in her local newspaper saying she was up for adoption at a shelter in a nearby town and told us about it and we immediately called for them to hold her until we could get there.

Bonnie was a street dog. She'd been running free in a neighboring village for about three months in the dead of winter before she was picked up and taken to the shelter. She was just the right size for us and all we needed to do was get her, pay her bail and sign some papers.

When my MIL and I got to the animal shelter we saw her in the same open area with much bigger dogs. She was painfully thin, filthy dirty and frankly, not too attractive. She was still quite young - probably just under a year old - and her fur and little Schnauzery beard hadn't filled out yet. And she hardly had a tail. Tail docking and ear clipping isn't normally ever done by vets in Germany so it meant that someone had done it at home themselves or perhaps her tail had become caught somewhere and had been torn off. Either way, it had to be painful and to this day Bonnie is extremely suspicious of anyone coming at her with a comb or scissors or a syringe.

She wasn't very attractive - not my idea of a cuddly pet - but one look into her eyes told me I'd found my dog.

From the beginning Bonnie's been both a joy and a pain in the neck. At first she wasn't too crazy about Tina but Bonnie learned to tolerate her once she figured out that Tina wasn't going anywhere. I figured that being a street dog would make her hard to housebreak but somehow she came to us housebroken. To this day the only time she's ever made a mess inside was when she was terribly sick and simply couldn't help it. Bonnie's a bit of a barker too. She's rather territorial and when she hears another dog bark she can't help but answer. Luckily in our new apartment building she's the only dog so the barking has lessened considerably. Bonnie hates to be bathed - the one time I attempted it she nearly bit my arm off - but we have a fearless groomer who gets her reasonably clean...except under her chin. You can only get so close to those snapping teeth. Pulling ticks off of her has to be done by stealth and taking her to the vet is a nightmare. It's nearly impossible to get a muzzle on her and the vet usually needs two assistants to give Bonnie her shots.

But Bonnie is wonderfully faithful. She's not always very friendly to other dogs but what dogs she does like she adores and she's really crazy about people. Pet her once and she'll remember you always. Give her a treat and she's practically yours.

She's got a few quirks as well. Maybe it's from her days of living on the streets eating anything she could manage to find but she's bad for eating paper. White paper. A stray tissue is like a gourmet meal to her. She's not terribly fond of meat except for poultry - feeding her dog food with beef or liver or lamb is a waste of time. She won't beg for your dinner but if you're eating a piece of cake she wants her share. And what she's really crazy for is rice, pasta, and vegetables like peas or carrots or green beans. I've seen her snub a piece of bratwurst and nearly knock you down to get your green beans.

Bonnie loves to watch TV. She'll sit on the sofa next to you and watch it like she understands it all. We figure that she believes it's a window because sometimes when something rushes by on the screen she'll run to the real window to see if she can see it again. However, having a TV addict dog isn't always so good. She hates to see other dogs on TV and will bark her head off and sometimes there are commercials that she hates for whatever reason - usually she hates the music or there's a dog in the commercial. She could be in another room but if she hears the commercial on TV, she starts to bark.

Over the years Bonnie became a shared pet. It started when my MIL had a summer house with a large fenced yard. My MIL would spend six months of the year there and she'd occasionally take Bonnie for the weekend so she could play all day in the yard. The next year she spent more of the summer there. And when fall came, Tina died.

We never thought that Bonnie would take it so hard - they often ignored one another all day long - but Bonnie missed Tina so much that my MIL had to put pictures of Tina in places where Bonnie couldn't see them because else she'd sit in front of them and whine. My MIL took Tina's death very hard as well. She was used to having someone with her in the mornings and late evenings and having a little dog around kept her from feeling lonesome. At that time we lived in the same apartment building as her and after a few weeks I suggested that Bonnie stay with my MIL overnights and be with us during the day. It worked out wonderfully. My MIL had someone with her and I didn't have to be the one to get up at dawn to walk the dog.

My MIL now lives a few blocks from us but our system still works. Bonnie's over there in the mornings, she comes over to us around noon and my MIL picks her back up in the late afternoon. Bonnie's virtually never alone - we have her during the day when my MIL is often out shopping or hanging out with her friends, and then my MIL has her again in the evenings when she'd normally be lonesome without a little buddy there with her. It also affords my MIL the opportunity to travel. When Tina was alive my MIL could barely go anywhere for more than a few hours because Tina cried constantly but it's completely different with Bonnie. As long as she's with one of us, she's home.

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And you know over the years she's gotten much, much cuter.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

You're Off The Hook - Somewhat

Much to your everlasting relief chagrin, I don't have much in the way of knitting talk this week. I'm still knitting on Paula's second sock and I told Poppy the other day that I'm suffering from S.S.S. but in this case it means Second Sock Slowdown. I knit like gangbusters (I like it when I can slip in an old fogy term like "gangbusters") on the first sock and then take twice as much time to finish the second sock as it took me to do the first. This may be why I like to knit for others rather than knit for myself because if the sock is for someone else I feel at least a little pressure to get it finished.

The photos I've seen of socks done in Opal Hundertwasser yarn I have shows an example of a sock with vertical stripes. I think this particular yarn looks so interesting with vertical striping that I found the English translation of the German pattern for this particular sock. It's knitted flat, sewn together with a seam at the back and then put on dpns to make the toe. Poppy mentioned to me that a seam may be uncomfortable and I'm inclined to agree with her but I still may give it a whirl just to see what it's like. Maybe I can sew it super flat. Or what if I made the first row on waste yarn and then when it's time to sew the seam, pull out the waste yarn to make live stitches and then just Kitchener stitch it closed and thereby avoiding a seam? Any thoughts from you other knitters? Any thoughts from you non-knitters? I'm just begging for comment love, aren't I?

Yarn talk is officially over. You can uncover your eyes now.

While having a nap this afternoon I had a dream where I could see my ex-husband standing with some other people on the other side of a road. I don't remember much about the dream except I had shoulder length strawberry blond hair that was in tiny, tiny curls and in the dream I went home after having seen my ex and wanted to go back to talk to him. I wasn't married to him in the dream but as I remember it, I wasn't married to B either. And I think my mother lived with me.

It bugs the shit out of me when I dream about my ex-husband. When we were married I virtually never dreamed about him. In my dreams I very seldom dream about anyone I know in real life (I'm either in dreams with strangers or the people I know in dreams don't exist in real life) but since we divorced I occasionally dream about my ex - once every few months sometimes. In the dream I was thinking of when I last saw my ex, thinking it was sometime in 2001 or 2003 but in reality I haven't seen nor heard from him since I last saw him in the clerk of the court's office while we signed our divorce decree nearly ten years ago. That's what irks me. I thought I was shed of him and he invades my dreams. He probably wants me to fetch him a glass of iced tea or bring him his supper so he can eat it in front of the TV.

And what really bugged me was waking up and thinking "When was the last time I saw him? Did I see him in 2001?". It pissed me off so much to think of my ex after having woke up from a nap that it ruined my whole post-nap groove.

After my ruined nap groove I took my dog, Bonnie, out for a walk. We were a few blocks from my apartment building and were walking along a grassy area and Bonnie needed to poop. Actually Bonnie wasn't feeling too well and she had diarrhea. Not just regular diarrhea but something akin to water. Now let me say that I am very good about picking up after my dog. I don't go anywhere without a plastic freezer bag in my pocket - cause I don't just want plastic between my hand and dog poop but want thick plastic between my hand and dog poop. However this instance a plastic bag wasn't going to clean anything up. Nothing short of holding a paper cup under my dog's rear while she proceeded to evacuate her bowels would have helped so we walked away. I didn't pick anything up because there wasn't anything to pick up. You could hardly see where specifically landed. And just about that time an old woman, who evidently saw my squatting dog, hollered out of her apartment window from a good 20 yards away "You need to clean up after that dog! You there! Clean up after your dog!". I whirled around and hollered back "I can't!" and was told by the old woman that I needed to bring things with me to clean up after my dog.

Jeez, that irked me. Maybe it wouldn't have irked me so much if my post-nap groove hadn't been ruined but there it was. That's when I whipped the plastic bag out of my back pocket, waved it in her direction and shouted back "I have something! My dog has diarrhea like water! It can't be picked up".

You could read the visible "Ewwwww!" on the faces of those standing at the bus stop who were witnessing the confrontation.

I'd be temped to blame this on it being a stereotypical anal retentive German obsessed with cleanliness who was shouting out her window to me but that wouldn't be completely true. I really blame it on city living. Living in a city puts you in much closer contact with busybodies who love to dictate to others how they should live than what you'd find in a small town or suburbs. Every urban area has it's people who lack a life of their own and have nothing better to do than look out their windows in hopes of catching someone not holding their mouth just right. Bombay, Cape Town, London, Beijing, Brooklyn, Cairo - every one of them has someone hanging out a window ready to pounce on the unsuspecting person walking their diarrhea stricken dog.

And for good measure I'll blame my ex-husband as well.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Almost Sorry I Asked

I called my mother late last night. I should call her more often - it's cheap enough to call every day if I wanted - but I keep running into time conflicts that have cropped up every since she moved to The Plantation. There are only certain times in my day when I can speak with her relatively uninterrupted and some of those times coincide with her meal times. She eats lunch at 11:30am and dinnertime for them is 4:30pm. 4:30. You know you've crossed over to being officially old when you eat dinner at 4:30pm.

During the conversation I was able to squeeze in before her 4:30 appointment with a chicken pot pie and Jello I asked how she was feeling.

"Well, my back hasn't recovered yet from when I tried to pick that lady up off the floor."

It's times like these when I wonder if she's telling me the truth or she's confabulating a story due to her Alzheimer's.

"Would it be silly of me to ask why you were picking up a lady from the floor?"

"I was walking by her room and that old lady just stumbled and fell down so I went in to pick her up."

My mother is 75 years old so I can't imagine how old this other woman must have been for my mother to have pegged her as being an "old lady".

"She just fell out there on the floor and I tried to help pick her up but I just couldn't do it."

"Mother! You're not supposed to be picking people up off the floor! You're in an assisted living center! There are nurses and aids all over! You don't have the ability to pick anyone up off the floor!"

"Well I know that now!"

I had to leave it at a "Well, don't do that again. Ring for the nurse next time.". I figured that she'd probably already been blessed out enough by the staff and by my sister. Holy smokes. I can practically see my sister levitate off the ground when she heard this story. I wouldn't be surprised if her shrieks were heard over the state line.

I think that sometimes I'm accidentally forgetting on purpose to call my mother more regularly. I think I'm trying to avoid hearing stories like these. It makes me sad and a little bit crazy for me not to be there when she's doing stupid stuff like trying to pick up little old ladies. She forgets where she is and forgets that she can't do things like that and I'm trying to forget that this is what's happening to her. Deny! Deny! Do it enough and your skewed reality may actually become reality! Maybe if I put more effort in keeping up with her then it all wouldn't seem to foreign to me.

I need to get home for a visit. I need to see for myself how my mom is doing because what goes on via a phone conversation only informs me so much. I would like to make a trip home this spring but my MIL isn't able to be here for B while her knee isn't 100% and then she'll be going on a spa vacation for two weeks in late April/early May. I'm not crazy about being in Mississippi in the middle of summer so maybe I'll aim for September or October. I don't know. Maybe I'll just go whenever I get the chance. Stop denying that the window of opportunity to travel is getting smaller all the time.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday Shuffle - With a Bullet Edition

A bulleted list, that is.
  • It's possible that I'm either, at times, invisible or just plain forgettable. Remember the special lotion that I needed for B so much that I waited around, forgotten, for two hours just to get the prescription for it? Yesterday afternoon I went to my local pharmacy to get the script filled. It's a lotion that has to be blended by the pharmacist and I knew going in there that I would have to come back today to pick it up. The pharmacist's assistant gave me a pick up slip and said to come back today after 3pm. This afternoon I went out for my regular non-ass smelling milk run and picked up a crossword puzzle magazine for my MIL, dropped by the pharmacy around 5:30pm on the way back and was told - surprise! - that the pharmacist forgot to make up the lotion. "Do you live around here?" Yes, I live in the next building. "Do you have other shopping to do? You can do it and then come back." No, I've done my shopping and while I could walk home and cool my heels for twenty minutes it's puking rain and blowing a gale outside! Once I'm home, I ain't going out again! Sincere apologies were offered, I was shown to a seat where I could wait, offered a glass of water and was given yet another boring health magazine to read. By the way, did you know that cleaning your home too well is bad for you? Too much disinfection and ultra-clean can keep you from sucking in the germy stuff you need to suck in to improve your immune system. My apartment would probably give someone the Sherman tank of immune systems. In the end I got the lotion and for free a huge pile of pocket packs of tissues for my trouble.
  • Did y'all know - you not-in-Germany folks anyway - that the little pocket packs is the way tissues are sold here? It's rather uncommon to find tissues in boxes. I have no good explanation for that.
  • My MIL is in the hospital - she went in this morning for surgery on her knee. Nothing major, just that arthroscopic thing to scrape some whatever from under her kneecap. They're keeping her overnight and if all is fine in the morning she'll get to come home. We told her to call us to let us know she's okay but she didn't call. She wasn't going to be under general anesthesia but I imagine she's spent most of the day sleeping. I'm just going to assume that if the hospital didn't call to say she wasn't fine that no news is good news. The scary part though isn't the surgery or being overnight hospital. The scary part is that Aunt Annoying will be staying with her from Saturday until Tuesday. I am not going to discount someone getting a crutch upside her head.
  • They had donuts at my bakery today. Donuts are a rarity where I live. They're not something I should be indulging in but I couldn't resist having one. And it was perfect. Just a plain donut with colored sprinkles on top. Soft and squashy and perfect. If I'm going to be bad at least I did it with something absolutely perfect.
Bixente the iPod does lists but never with dots. Numbers are his thing and there are always ten. Shuffle for me, lil' guy.
  1. Cecilia - Simon & Garfunkel
  2. Flugzeuge Im Bauch - Herbert Grönemeyer
  3. The Weight - The Band
  4. Magic Carpet Ride - Steppenwolf
  5. Non Je Ne Regrette Rien - Edith Piaf
  6. Never Be Lonely - The Feeling
  7. Love Rollercoaster - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  8. Turn On Me - The Shins
  9. Delilah - Tom Jones
  10. Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton
Have a great weekend. Be seen somewhere good.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Might as Well

Spurred on by Mr. Fab virtually throwing down the gauntlet for me to post a picture of my laundry mountain, I shall do that very thing. After my irksome morning I don't think I could even be fazed by anyone teasing me about it.

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From the top to the bottom of that photo - that's all dirty clothes. Unfortunately that's not all of it. There's a load in the wash that I need to hang up to dry and there's a few towels that I used today when washing B's hair that aren't shown. Else that's my mountain o' laundry.

Belinda commented that she's not only got her own dirty clothes alp but also can't be bothered to fool with it any more than I can be bothered to fool with mine. I know it needs to be done but honestly I don't wash anything until I'm getting dangerously low on things like jeans and panties and clean towels. I get enough washed to get me through the time being but the things like tablecloths and shirts I don't often wear and the seventy zillion pairs of socks I have get passed by. And Belinda pretty well honed in on what slows down the whole process - it's the time it takes to wash a load of clothes with German washing machines. I know they're supposed to be all water saving and so forth and therefore have to agitate longer to make up for it but do they need to agitate that long? It takes 52 minutes for me to wash a load at 40°C - 46 minutes if I wash it at 30°C - and that with me using the cycle that cuts the wash time in half. If I wash at 60°C and still use the half time cycle it takes something like 1 hour and 4 minutes. It's hard to get a leg up on the laundry when three loads - and I'm talking about loads that are about half of what you could cram into an American washer - takes three hours to wash. Add to it that I don't have a dryer - I hang all of my clothes on racks to dry. I just don't have room for a dryer in my apartment and don't like them anyway. First, they're energy hogs. Second, if you think washing takes forever, you ain't seen how long drying takes. I bought the washer I have now about two years's just a plain front loading washer. The one I had before wash a washer/dryer combo - you wash the clothes and when the loads done it changes to a dryer and dries them. In with dirty clothes, out with clean, dry clothes. Nice except washing and drying one load of laundry took me like three hours.

Now it's just B and I and it's not like we're going through clothes like a couple of 15 year old girls. Normally he and I should be able to have all our clothes and towels clean with maybe...oh...4 or 5 loads a week. The problem arises when I get too lazy busy to do laundry and it stacks up and up. Or become an avalanche of dirty clothes as evidenced above.

I could get caught up if I would only do a three loads a day, every day except Sunday, for a week. Maybe less. I always have good intentions of doing that very thing and all it takes is for my daily routine to be thrown off and my well intended plans go by the wayside.

For example, my irksome morning:

B's dermatologist, who is very important to us because since B is a quadriplegic he's very prone to skin irritations and of course pressure sores, wanted to prescribe for a current irritation B has a special lotion that has to be mixed by the pharmacist. B's dermatologist is retired - he comes to see B on his own time because what normal dermatologist makes house calls? - so the doctor can't write prescriptions that our health insurance will accept. To remedy that, the dermatologist writes a private prescription, I give it out our family doctor and she writes a regular prescription for it. B really needs this lotion and I normally won't see the family doctor until the end of March so we called her this morning to see if I could pop in to have her write the script. She said to come on in so I walked over in some mighty annoying wind and rain, told the nurse I'd already talked to the doctor and the nurse told me to wait. So I did. The waiting room was full so I got crammed into a corner with an old man who smelled a cross between peppermint and nose drops jammed up against me. I didn't know exactly what time it was when I sat down but I judge it was around 10:45 because I left my apartment around 10:25 and it takes me 20 minutes to walk there.

I wasn't wearing a watch and when I could finally get a glimpse of someone else's I saw it was 11:35. I read a very dull health magazine (an Apoteke Umschau, for you folks in Germany) and then I heard on the radio station being piped in the waiting room the noon news come on. I then picked up a celeb gossip magazine so old that Anna Nicole Smith and her son were still alive and when I finished that I could see on someone's watch that it was 12:30. I'd contemplated saying "Did y'all forget me?" but the waiting room had been really full and I figured they were very busy. I had to stretch my legs so I got up and changed seats and that's when the nurses saw me and the unmistakable look of "Oh holy shit!" popped up on their faces. One scurried away and then a few minutes later the doctor called for me. That was a surprise. The doctor never yells for a patient in the waiting room. The nurses do that.

I came back to one of the exam rooms and found the doctor and one of the nurses both with the "Oh holy shit!" look still on their faces and the doctor had to admit that they'd simply forgotten me. The doctor had been in the staff room drinking a cup of coffee when the nurse came to her with my prescription, she put it by her cup and then walked off from it, completely forgetting that I was out there waiting for it.

You know doctors in Germany carry the sort of reputation that they believe they are without fault. Doctors here can be rather arrogant. They sure as hell don't like looking stupid. I know that I have the right doctor for me because she wasn't above admitting that they'd forgotten about me and all of them apologized to me over and over. The doctor even hugged me when she apologized. That's something I could expect from her if she were in my home because she's been our family's doctor for over 25 years and we know her personally but for her to hug me in the middle of her office is where we could be seen was something that really knocked me out.

Sure, it was annoying that I waited for nearly two hours for something that only took five minutes to do but she's a good doctor and she's done favors for us many time. She'd do anything she could for our family and coupled with a hug and a few dozen sincere apologies, I can forgive her anything.

So go ahead and tease me about Mount Filthy Rags. I can survive anything today.

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