Dixie Peach: June 2007

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Shuffle - Language Week Edition

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Before I could speak much German I could sing in German. I think learning songs, just simple tunes, can help you learn a foreign language.

I started with a couple children's songs. B's memory is faulty when it comes to stuff like this but the first tune I learned to sing was:

Fuchs, du hast die Gans gestohlen, gib sie wieder her, gib sie wieder her!
Sonst wird dich der Jäger holen, mit dem Schießgewehr!
Sonst wird dich der Jäger holen, mit dem Schießgewehr!

Fox, you've stolen the goose, give it back!
Else we'll get hunter with his gun!

And I learned:

Alle meine Entchen,
schwimmen auf dem See, schwimmen auf dem See,
Köpfchen in das Wasser,
Schwänzchen in die Höh'.

All my little ducks
Swimming on the lake
Little head in the water
Little tail in the air.

Sometimes while goofing around I'll sing to the tune of Alle meine Entchen:

Alle meine Entchen
Gib sie wieder her!
Kopfchen in das Wasser
Mit dem Schießgewehr

I then progressed to learning the chorus of songs one may hear in a beer tent or at a barbecue party when the beer is flowing freely and the corny music you'd never listen to otherwise is played. Everyone sings along and sways or claps and honestly it's a lot of fun when everyone's a little tipsy and in a fine mood. I learned songs like Der Eierman and:

An der Nordseeküste, am plattdeutschen Strand
Sind die Fische im Wasser und selten an Land

On the North Sea coast, on the flat German beach (it's a play on words meaning the area where Plattdeutsch is spoken)
The fish are in the water and seldom on land.

These are songs that everyone learns the chorus to. Whether you hear a recording of the song or hear a band sing it live, they sing the verses and everyone joins in on the chorus. One of the most popular songs that everyone sing along with the chorus is this:

Marmor, Stein und Eisen bricht, aber unsere Liebe nicht.
Alles, alles geht vorbei, doch wir sind uns treu.

Marble, stone and iron break but our love doesn't.
Everything will someday be over but we'll remain faithful.

I have been in a lot of beer tents and beer gardens and parties and I have never hear that song played when everyone didn't join in singing the chorus. Everyone. From old ladies to teenagers to hulking tattooed types - I see them sing. I was once convinced that you weren't allowed to live in this country unless you knew those two lines of lyrics.

Until this point I only knew the chorus of songs but finally I learned an entire song in German from start to finish and it happens to be one of my favorite song. It's by an old East German rock band called The Puhdys called Alt wie ein Baum and some of the lyrics are:

Alt wie ein Baum möchte ich werden
genau wie der Dichter es beschreibt,
alt wie ein Baum, mit einer Krone die weit-weit-weit-weit
die weit über Felder zeigt.

Alle meine Träume . . . fang' ich damit ein
Alle meine Träume . . . yeh yeh yeh
zwischen Himmel und Erde zu sein
zwischen Himmel und Erde zu sein.

I'd like to become old like a tree
Just like the poet has written
Old like a tree, with a crown (treetop)
with a reach that spreads out over the fields.

All my dreams...begin with one
All my dreams...yeah, yeah, yeah
To be between heaven and earth.

Here - take a peek and hear for yourself how the song goes.

I saw the Puhdys sing the song live a few years ago on German Reunification Day when the national celebration was held in Magdeburg and I had tears in my eyes and so did everyone around me. Singing along loudly with tears in our eyes. Music has such power to unite people, regardless of which language it's sung.

Time to shuffle:
  1. Come And Get Your Love - Redbone
  2. Dirty Harry - Gorillaz
  3. You Only Live Once - The Strokes
  4. Son Of A Preacher Man - Dusty Springfield
  5. Hurt - Johnny Cash
  6. Thick As A Brick - Jethro Tull
  7. Surrender - Cheap Trick
  8. Adalida - George Strait
  9. Lust For Life - Iggy Pop
  10. Big Ten Inch Record - Aerosmith
Have a great weekend. And sing out. Loud.

Labels: ,

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Because I Said I Would

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

It's nearly 11:15pm and I'm in a semi-panic because I haven't written a blog entry for today and the prospects of finding something interesting about which to write dwindle by the second. On any other day this would be remedied by my skipping it for a day and instead curling up on the sofa to watch an episode of Criminal Minds and puzzle over why I find Matthew Gray Gubler alternately hot and nerdy. In my world hot and nerdy generally never go together but he pulls it off quite well and all the while wearing some pretty daring dork glasses which I found out recently aren't part of his character's costume but are instead his own real pair of glasses. Plus he has the sort of sense of humor that I love.

Warum mache ich Heute nicht einfach keinen Eintrag? Weil es die Language Week ist und ich habe gesagt ich schreibe jeden Tag etwas in meinen Blog in einer andren Sprache. Einen Tag auszulassen würde mich unvollständig und rastlos lassen. Es wurde mich geschlagen fuhlen lassen. Die bittere Realität mich selbst zu etwas zu verpflichten und es dann nicht fertigzustellen. Ich wurde mich fühlen als ob ich dafür veräntwortlich wär, ein Naturgesetz geändert zu haben und mir dadurch etwas schlimmes passern wurde wie z.B. wieder ins Krankenhaus zu kommen und im TV wurde nichts anderes laufen als Wiederholungen von Full House.

Translation: So why aren't I skipping today's entry? Because it's Language Week and I said I'd write a blog entry every day featuring a language in which I don't normally write. Skipping a day would leave me restless and incomplete. I'd experience the hollow feeling of defeat. The bitter reality of committing myself to something and leaving it unfinished. I'd leave myself open to a shift in the rules of nature and something bad may happen to me like being stuck in the hospital with nothing but re-runs of Full House on TV.

There. There's your German. All's now right with the world.

Let's sum up today's blog entry:
  • Nothing happened in my life today that warranted mention in my blog.
  • I felt compelled to write a blog entry anyway because of my participation in Language Week and not doing so would give me a bad feeling.
  • The words published here have helped me narrowly avoid the disaster of potentially being subjected to the most un-funny TV show in history.
  • Matthew Gray Gubler is hot in a nerdy way.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

All Together Now

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Language Week, Day Three. I'll give you a paragraph of German.

Ich bin eine dieser fanatischen Personen, die es nicht aushalten können, wenn sich die verschiedenen Lebensmittel auf dem Teller gegenseitig berühren. Einige Lebensmittel können sich berühren. Es macht mich nicht verrückt, wenn sich mein Ruhrei und der Speck berührt, aber es werde mich verrückt machen, wenn sich der Speck und der Ahornsirup berühren. Ich esse Gemüse von verschiedenen Schüsseln, damit sich zum Beispiel das Wasser von meinen Spinat nicht mit dem Hünchen berührt. Pommes Frites dürfen nichts anderes berühren, wie zum Beispiel Soße oder ähnliches. Ketchup und Majo mussen immer getrent sein. Ich esse Wurst und Kartoffelsalat von verschiedenen Tellern. Wenn der Kartoffelsalat die Wurst berührt odor den Ketchup, dann wurde mein Kopf implodieren wie die Luke bei Lost.

Translation: I'm one of those fanatical people who can't stand it if their food touches on the plate. Some foods can touch. I won't go crazy if my scrambled eggs touches the bacon but I would go nuts if the syrup from my pancakes touched the bacon. I eat vegetables in separate bowls to prevent something terrible happening like the water from my spinach touching my chicken. French fries have to be kept free of any touching of food or sauces. Ketchup and mayonnaise has to be separate for French fry dipping. If I'm eating wurst and potato salad they have to be on separate little plates because if the potato salad touches the wurst or the ketchup touches the potato salad my head will cave in like the hatch implosion on Lost.

And yet this was my supper tonight:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

That's a Döner Teller - essentially the ingredients of a Döner Kebap without the bread and with French fries thrown in as well. And it's all on the same plate. Slices of lamb. Salad comprising of lettuce, red cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes and corn. The afore mentioned fries. And it's all slathered with tzatziki sauce and some sort of red steak sauce stuff. And it's all touching! What's even worse, I fork it all up - meat, fries, salad, sauces all together - and shove it into my mouth. Mingling. Foods that normally should not only be on separate plates but you'd be lucky if I let them be on the same table together and yet I happily and greedily gobble them down in that Döner-y mishmash, all the while nearly making the food-gasm moaning noise as my eyes roll to the back of my head.

Maybe it has something to do with me being an American in Germany eating food made by Turks. I'm making my mouth into a sort of United Nations.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bi-lingual Happiness

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

It's day two of Language Week - third day I've been writing some of my blog entry in German. If I do it an extra day does that mean I get extra credit? A gold star? Brownies after supper?

In any case, we've got knitting talk and we've got good news. Which first? Oh let's do knitting first. If I give you the good news first you'll skip the knitting.

The first sock of the Simulated Basket Weave socks I'm knitting for Darling Mollie is finished.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Technical information: It's knit with two skeins of Regina 4-ply Silk yarn, one in black, one in pink. The black is well used but I believe I have more than enough pink leftover in the skein to knit the second sock.

I want credit for knitting that sock with two colors of yarn and I didn't turn it into something that looks like a monkey has been at it. Mosaic pattern knitting isn't really difficult as long as you keep track of which round you're knitting and you keep your yarns separated and not allow them to get wrapped in one another. I strongly recommend using a yarn bra for each skein to aid with that. Take an old pair of pantyhose and make your own.

That was all in English because I knit English style I'm simply too lazy to translate all of that, plus I don't know a lot of German knitting vocabulary and B's rubbish at German knitting vocabulary as well. I'll present the good news in German and translate for you.

Es ist ofiziell. Es gibt kein zurück mehr. Ich habe mein Ticket gebucht und bezahlt um im Oktober in die USA zu fliegen. Ich verlasse Deutschland am 10. Oktober, verbringe einen nicht enden wollenden Tag im Flugzeug nach Memphis, und zur Abendbrotzeit bin ich in Mississippi. Ich besuche dort meine Familie. Freundinnen von mir von überall aus den Staaten kommen um mich dort zu sehen an einem Wochenende. Dann am Abend des 27. Oktober sage ich meinem Heimatland auf weidersehen, hoffentlich nicht für immer.

Weißst du was das Beste an einem Besuch zu Hause ist? Ich muss werend der ganzen Zeit nicht Deutsch sprechen. Weißt du was komisch ist am Besuch zu Hause? Ich erwische mich selbst dabai ab und zu Deutsch zu sprechen.

Translation:It's official. No turning back now. I've booked and paid for my ticket to fly to the US in October. I leave Germany on October 10th, spend a nearly unending day flying to Memphis, and by supper time in Mississippi I'll be there. I'll be there visiting with family, friends of mine are coming in from around the US to visit me on one of the weekends I'm there and then on the evening of October 27th I'll be saying goodbye to my homeland once more - hopefully not for good.

Know what's one of the best parts of going home for a visit? I don't have to speak German the whole time. Know what's one of the weird parts of going home for a visit? I'll find myself speaking German sometimes anyway.

Labels: , ,

Monday, June 25, 2007

Consequences of Nosiness

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Yeah, sorta cheating today. I didn't myself write the German you're about to read but I did do the translation on my own.

I came upstairs from fetching the mail this morning and plopped down on the sofa to read this to B:

Sehr geehrte Anwohnerin!

Sie wurden am heutigen Tage durch the Kriminalpolizei aufgesucht, jedoch nicht angetroffen.

In Zusammenhang einer Straftat vom 30.03.2007 wird eine Zeugin gesucht. Gegen 18.30 Uhr wurde auf der Straße vor Ihrem Haus ein PKW aufgebrochen und Sachen aus diesem entwendet. Hinweisen zu Folge soll eine Frau aus Ihrem Haus diese Straftat beobachtet und verantwortliche Personen gesehen haben.

Sofern Sie Hinweise geben können bitte ich Sie, sich mit mir telefonisch in Verbindung zu setzen. Ich bin tagsüber under der Rufnummer:

Für Ihre Mitarbeit bedanke ich mich im Voraus.

[Name of police officer lady]

Translation: Dear Resident (the grammar indicates that it addresses a female resident),

Today the police investigation division was seeking you but you weren't at home (Note: I was home all morning - no one rang or came to my door).

We are seeking a witness [the grammar indicates a female witness] to a crime committed March 30, 2007. At approximately 6:30pm on the street where your apartment building is located an automobile was broken into and articles were stolen. Subsequent clues indicated that a woman from your apartment building had observed this crime and the responsible people involved.

If you can give further clues I ask you to contact me by telephone. I can be reached during the day at this telephone number: blahblahblahblah.

For your cooperation I thank you in advance.

[Name of police officer lady]

Lead Criminal Investigator

Of course at this point B nearly stood up and walked. He got all freaked out that I'd seen some sort of auto break-in and didn't bother to tell him about it. Not the case at all - since it was just shoved into the mailbox without an envelope and since the police didn't actually ring by us I believe it was put in every mailbox in our building.

Immediately I thought that I would be no help at all because I haven't seen anyone break into any cars around here. I live in the main shopping area of Magdeburg and there are metered parking spaces on either side of the street. While I recognize the cars belonging to some of my neighbors, for the most part the cars here are those belonging to people here to shop or go to the theater or visit a local restaurant. Unless I saw someone with a slim jim popping the lock on a car door, there's no way I could tell if someone was breaking into a car and stealing from it or if they were doing something in their own car. Evidently I'm not the female witness the police are seeking.

Then I got to thinking about the letter a bit more. How did they know that a female may have seen the break-in? Someone must have seen a woman looking out her window at the street below - someone who saw the woman but didn't see the break-in itself. And this witness would have to be someone that could be seen in the window from the street which leaves out anyone on the higher floor - to see into the windows on the higher floors someone would have to stand way far away and then they likely wouldn't be able to see if the person in the window was male or female.

So who would the observers of the person thought to be a witness to the crime? Perhaps the police who showed up first on the scene. It could be they saw someone looking out of their window down at them and are now thinking that perhaps that same woman saw the break-in as well. Hmmm...well I do live on one of the lower levels of the building - I live three floors above the ground. It wouldn't be hard for someone standing on the other side of the street to look up and see me if I were standing in my kitchen window, which is the window I'd normally use to look outside because the curtains come only halfway down the window. But I haven't seen anything unusual going on. No break-ins that I can remember.

And then I remembered that some time ago I saw police outside our building and they were talking to a couple and the doors were open to a Mercedes parked across the street. I even remember telling B about it - that I thought someone must have tried to steal a car or steal something in the car because the car was there and there were three or four police cars around. I even remember watching a cop take fingerprints off the car.

Holy smokes! Maybe they think I'm that witness! Yikes!

Maybe I should call this investigator after all. I don't remember what date I saw the cops with the Mercedes - it could have been at the end of March but it could have been last fall for all I remember. I do know it must have not been during the winter because it would have been too dark to see anything like fingerprinting the car and I don't remember the people wearing winter coats. I never saw a break-in but if I'm the witness they believe may have information, I maybe should tell them that while I watched them doing their police thing, I never saw any actual crime and this investigative path is a dead end.

And here I was so close to being like I was on an episode of Law & Order - albeit a lame one.

Labels: ,

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Apologies in Advance for Dodgy Grammar

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Christina, always the lady in the know, turned me on to Language Week 2007 (June 25 to June 29) and since I'm always game to make a complete ass of myself take up a new challenge I thought I'd participate as well. Want to know the rules and what's it all about, Alfie? Take a look here. I'll be doing my entries in German as it's the language I know best after English. Pity. All those years and all that money spent on learning Spanish. I have a feeling that for every German word I learn, another Spanish word gets squeezed out of my head. I likely won't write entire blog entries in German - I simply don't have that sort of time to turn my brains to mush trying to figure out correct grammar and spelling - but I'll try a paragraph or two. With English translations provided, of course.

Wenn du eine neue Sprache lernst ist der erste Schritt sie zu verstehen. Dann lernst du sie zu sprechen. Danach lernst du in der neuen Sprache zu lesen und sie zu schreiben. In anderen Worten du beginnst mit dem einfachtesten Schritt gehst über zu unheimlich schwerigen teil bei dem du fast die Lust verlierst. Lesen ist nicht so schwer, aber schreiber kann schnell zu einer frustrierenden Erfahrung werden, besonders wenn du versuchst in einer Sprache zu schreiben, in der sich Gs anhören wie Ks und wenn du sprechen lernst du es auch noch in dem lokalen Akzent lernst, das wird dich auf jeden Fall in Schwerigkeiten bringen wenn du versuchst die Worte so zu schreiben wie du sie aussprichst.

Translation: When you learn a new language the first step is understanding it. Then you learn to speak it. Afterwards you learn to read and write in the new language. On other words you go from the most simple to something so annoyingly difficult that you don't even want to bother. Reading really isn't so bad but writing can quickly end up being an exercise in frustration, especially when you're trying write in a language where Gs can sound like Ks and when you learned to speak you learned a local accent that will definitely get you into trouble if you try to spell words the way you pronounce them.

Okay, that's enough German for today. I think I hurt myself.

Anyway, all I've said so far is that I honestly hate writing in German. Reading, while I'm not brilliant at it, is fine. I mean I can read newspapers and magazines but reading a novel would be too much work for me and I like reading to much to make it into a headache inducing effort. Writing intimidates me. I get freaked out about correct spelling and I always have to ask if I want to write das or dass in a particular sentence. Getting it wrong would be quite irksome to me. I can generally bullshit my way through understanding more complicated conversations. I find that people are usually rather forgiving of bad grammar and goofy pronunciation of words when I speak. I can generally get the gist of a newspaper article but writing? When you get it wrong it's out there for everyone to see. It's a heinous looking as white shoes with black stockings.

And that's why I'm taking up this challenge. It's an opportunity to improve my writing ability and it's a way to entice me into doing something I'm normally loath to do. And maybe by the end of the week I'll be able to figure out on my own to correctly use das or dass.

Labels: ,

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Shuffle - Rockin' Girl Edition

It's a fine blend of ennui and malaise 'round here these past couple days. My personal volcano, Mt. Gross Neck Funk has gone by the wayside and now that I'm not in constant pain and restricted from free movement of my head and neck I can indulge in more satisfying pursuits such as reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and knitting Darling Mollie's sock (I'm down to the foot so that means progress will slow. way. down.) with the occasional nap thrown in. Today's nap featured once again my ex-husband. I hate dreaming about him. Makes me wake up feeling irksome. However I would imagine that today's dream was inspired by my going down the paper product aisle at the grocery store and running into a man that looked freakishly like my ex. Enough to make me inwardly gasp. The man was standing in front of a large display of Charmin, which I found to be fitting as my ex-husband was generally full of shit.

And then as if she knew I could use a lift to my day and a wee bit o' something to write about, Sari, dear friend and bestower of my very first sock monkey, tagged me for an award. She thinks I'm a Rockin' Girl Blogger (and at my age I'll take being called a "girl" as much as possible) and has awarded me as such. Touch me!

Since this is an award that you pass on to others, there's a couple rules - grab and save to your own photo host the button you'll find right there on my sidebar and post it on your own blog and then tag five more women you find to be some totally rockin' chicks and give them the award they so richly deserve.

I am lucky enough to know a lot of very rockin' girls so I'll pick five at random, else I'd be tagging all day and I don't want to hog up all the rockin' girls.
  1. Lisa at Raison D'etre: Always wanting to learn. Always wanting to improve herself. And she's not too good to admit when she doesn't understand something. That's what I dig about Lisa.
  2. Poppy at I loves my Popstar. My rock 'n roll queen. My knitting pal. My blog inspiration. Gonna see you in four months!
  3. Carol at Northwest Ladybug: Smart. Gorgeous. Fabulous kids. And a sense of adventure. If I'd ever been lucky enough to be a mom I hope I would have done it like her. She's fab.
  4. Christiana at Mausi: One of my first expatriate blog pals. Another super mom and she's wonderful, creative cook. I know that first hand - yum! I love how gracious and friendly she is.
  5. Katya at Observations of a Librarian: I simply adore her. If I want an opinion on music or books, I go to three people - Katya, Sari or Poppy. And she loves the soundtrack to O Lucky Man! like I do.
Thanks for the award, Sari. You definitely were the bright spot in my day! You're always a bright spot to me!

Bixente the iPod, while being quiet the little rocker, would be most insulted at being called a Rockin' Girl. He's all man, Clyde. Shuffle for me, Big Guy.
  1. Hush - Deep Purple
  2. Don't Close Your Eyes - Keith Whitley
  3. Fly Away - Lenny Kravitz
  4. Fluorescent Adolescent - Arctic Monkeys
  5. Dance The Night Away - The Mavericks (Mmmm...the deliciously hot Raul Malo)
  6. Watching The Detectives - Elvis Costello
  7. Ballroom Blitz - Sweet
  8. Cecilia - Simon & Garfunkel
  9. Misty Mountain Hop - Led Zeppelin
  10. Good Lovin' - The Rascals
Rock on your weekend the mostest.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Blissfully Unaware

Each morning I get up, shower, dress, and then walk over to the bakery to get bread for breakfast. I may visit different bakeries - there are six I could walk to in five minutes or less - but my morning routine seldom varies.

This morning when leaving the building I ran into a neighbor and she said "Wasn't that frustrating this morning?".


"The water."

"What water?"

"Our water."

"What about it?"

"We didn't have water this morning for a couple hours. It must have something to do with them replacing that water line up the street under the streetcar tracks."

"Uhhh...oh. Hmmm. I slept through that."

Later in the afternoon while B and I waited for his physiotherapist we were nearly deafened by a helicopter buzzing around very low. I stepped out on the balcony and saw it hovering as low as was likely safe and then flying away only to come back and do it all over again. This lasted for about a half hour and the helicopter had just flown away for the last time when the physiotherapist rang.

"Did you see the helicopter when you drove up? Wonder what that was all about?"

"Your bank got robbed."

"My bank? Really?" (My bank is like 200 meters away from my home.)

"Yeah. Some guy robbed it less than an hour ago. I heard it on the radio the police are looking for the guy."

"Wow. I had no idea."

Around 4pm this afternoon I laid down on my bed to read. The window was cracked open and I could feel the breeze on my legs as I read and then later when I got sleepy I could hear a bit of rain hitting the pavement. The smell of warm rain came in with the breeze and it smelled so lovely and comforting and I fell asleep listening distant rolls of thunder.

I woke up nearly two hours later barely able to get my eyes open and get myself upright and standing. It was raining very heavily outdoors and the wind howled and the thunder boomed nearly as quickly as the lighting flashed.

"What have you been doing?"

"I was asleep. What did you think I was doing?"

"I had no idea. Reading I guess. How did you sleep through that? The thunder was so loud!"

"I dunno. I guess I was having a fantastic dream."

I'm glad I live in a secure building. Else I'd go to sleep tonight and find myself in the morning robbed blind and completely unaware that it had happened.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Positively Volcanic

Let's get the gross stuff out of the way first. Gross neck funk? Gone as of this morning. This essentially sums up what happened although a caped mouse was not involved. I did, however, shake my sarong 'cause I ain't no lady.

And since it's Tuesday, it's time for yarn talk. You non-knitters go watch the Mighty Mouse cartoon again.

This is the sock I'm currently knitting for Darling Molllie.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

It's a 10-stitch mosaic pattern - this one is the simulated basket weave. Isn't it cute? Admit it. It's hot. It's smokin'. That's one hot, smokin' sock! Here's a closeup of the stitch pattern on the leg:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

It's my first try at knitting with two different strands of yarn that aren't being held together. While it may look complex, it's actually rather simple. You only knit with one color or the other on each round - no knitting two stitches of one color and three stitches of another - which is another sort of knitting. I feel that now that I've gotten this technique down I may branch into stranded patterns.

No chance of this not getting finished or the second sock remaining unknit. This is for Darling Mollie. If I don't deliver, she'll send out sock thugs to lean on me. You don't dangle a smokin' hot sock like that in front of her and not come through with the goods.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Katydid Tag Me

Some days it's hard to come up with a good title for a blog entry, especially if it's for a meme, but if I do say so myself this one's not too bad. I'm not normally the sort to rely on puns but there you go. Pun and a warning up front that this entry's a meme. Hardly gets better than that.

Katy did tag me and since she's a faithful longtime reader here at Chez Peach and a very lovely, friendly, sweet lady I could never refuse her. Here's one more opportunity for you to become an expert on all things Dixie.

1. What were you doing ten years ago?
Ten years ago I was freshly back from visiting B in Germany for the first time and getting myself geared up to move there (or is it "here" if I'm now there?) so what did I do? I changed jobs. I was going to move in six months and I changed jobs anyway. It freaked B out a bit because he thought if I'd change jobs that it meant that I wouldn't move to Germany but in reality it meant that I had one of the world's shittiest jobs and I was desperate to get away from it.

2. What were you doing one year ago?
I was fully immersed in World Cup fever. I really do miss the excitement that was generated by Germany hosting the World Cup.

3. Five snacks you enjoy
1. Chips and salsa
2. Popcorn
3. Nachos
4. Salt and honey cashews
5. Cheese straws

4. Five songs that you know all the lyrics
Five songs in general is nothing. Let's shake it up a bit and list five Adam Ant songs that don't come from the Friend or Foe or Strip albums that I know all the lyrics.
1. Dog Eat Dog
2. Room At The Top
3. Don't Be Square (Be There)
4. Wonderful
5. Beautiful Dream

Brush me, Daddy-0!

5. Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. Set up trusts for my niece and nephews.
2. Hire help for B.
3. Travel with B to Australia to visit his cousins.
4. Travel with B to the US to visit my family.
5. Adopt more pets.

6. Five bad habits:
1. Procrastination
2. Disorganization
3. Eating sweets
4. Not exercising enough
5. Lack of self-discipline - hence the other four

7. Five things you like doing:
1. Knitting
2. Reading
3. Watching old films
4. Having lunch with friends
5. Driving

8. Five things you would never wear again:
1. Spike heels
2. Leggings
3. Sweatshirts of any sort
4. Turtleneck shirts or sweaters
5. Overalls

9. Five favorite toys:
Adult toys or toys from my childhood? Let's do childhood toys because I am not all that much of a gadget person and probably couldn't list five.

1. Liddle Kiddles dolls
2. Bicycle
3. Tinker Toys
4. Easy Bake Oven
5. Hippity Hop Ball

Won't tag anyone but feel free to steal. Double points if you work in a pun in your title.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday Shuffle - Joy Times Twenty Edition

It's been one of those days where little, nagging things go wrong. Just enough irritation to be...uh...irritating. I forgot something at the grocery store and later when I went back to get it I got caught in a puking downpour of rain. Got into a disagreement with B over the forgotten grocery item. I left a pot of begonias in the sun and they're now crispy fried begonias. And Gross Neck Funk is entering his testy teenage years and now the whole back and right side of my neck hurts like hell.

And when the little thing in life go wrong, that's a good time to think about the stuff that really brings you joy. It's certainly better than going berserk with frustration and irritation and ramming an ice pick into your skull and certainly much less messy.

Swiped this Joy Meme from Hilda. She's a joy to me as well.

Ten joyful things:
  1. An overnight thunderstorm. Not the kind with violent thunder that scares you out of a sleep but the sort with rain that shushes against the window and there's a rumble of distant thunder that seems to go on endlessly. I try to stay away to hear the soothing sounds but after a while I'm fast asleep.
  2. Fireworks displays. I'll admit that the loud booms and bangs get to me because I'm easily startled by loud, sudden noises but I am a sucker for fireworks. One of my favorite things about New Years Eve in Germany is going out on my balcony and watching everyone's fireworks. It goes on for hours and I never tire of it. There's a fireworks competition in Magdeburg next weekend and I'm there.
  3. Going out to lunch with friends. Going out to dinner is nice but I much prefer going out to lunch, especially with girlfriends and especially if there's no time limits for us to work around. There's something much more casual and relaxed about going out to lunch and being able to eat and talk and laugh with good friends is wonderful.
  4. Seeing music performed live or a stage musical. There's something so overwhelming about music performed live and it's difficult for me to contain my emotions. It's rare that I attend a concert or musical that I don't end up crying at some point.
  5. Books in a series and reading a new edition. I've loved books in a series since I fell in love with the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder more than 35 years ago. I become invested in the characters and when I read the next in a series it's like seeing old friends again. I almost dread reading the last Harry Potter book just because I know it's the last. If I never read it I'll always have it to look forward to but once it's read, that anticipation is gone forever. I might would even consider putting off reading it for a while just to savor that anticipation a little longer but I'm afraid I'll run into some asshole who spoils the end for me.
  6. Taking a nap on a summer afternoon with the windows open. There's something delicious and decadent feeling about laying on the bed with a breeze sweeping across your skin and the sound of birds in the distance.
  7. Talking with my husband for hours. I feel fortunate that I have the sort of relationship with my husband where we don't grow tired of each other's company and we're able to talk about anything. And we do. We sit close with my head against his shoulder and we talk about anything that pops into our heads. We tell one another stories from our past or we'll talk about politics or jokes we've heard and lose all track of time.
  8. Buying one of my favorite things. There are three things that I love to buy: books, makeup and knitting yarn/accessories. I can't have enough and I never tire of buying them. I even like the places where you buy them. And once I have them at home I don't often use them right away. I like to first look at them. Riffle through the pages of the book and run my fingers over its smooth pages. Uncapping the lipstick and rolling it out over and over and examining its perfect surface and if it's a Chanel lipstick I like pushing the little gold bottom to make the lipstick pop out. I squeeze and caress new yarn and marvel over its luscious colors and twitter with new needles or other gadgets. I'm glad the things I love most to buy are generally inexpensive because I'd hate to be this obsessive over buying diamonds and new cars.
  9. The anticipation of Christmas. It's my favorite holiday and what I love most about it is not so much the day itself but all the preparation in the weeks beforehand. I love shopping, decorating, baking and you already know I am in love with our outdoor Christmas market. The high point is Christmas Eve when B and I settle in front of the TV to watch It's a Wonderful Life and we eat chocolate chip cookies and drink milk. Last year's tradition was spoiled by my carton of milk smelling like ass but for the most part it's a peaceful, comfortable time.
  10. Curling up on the sofa and watching one of my favorite classic films. If it's raining or snowing outside, it's even better. If I have an icy cold Coke and a bowl of popcorn, it's the best.
Just remembering what makes me happy is quite soothing. Won't tag anyone but I highly recommend this exercise should you be having a lousy day.

Now for our next ten. Time for Bixente the iPod to shuffle. Go boy.
  1. Waiting For My Lucky Day - Chris Isaac
  2. Maybe Tomorrow - Stereophonics
  3. Wicked Little High - Bird York
  4. Growing On Me - The Darkness
  5. You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC
  6. Whisper My Name - Randy Travis
  7. Western Stars - k. d. lang
  8. Killer Queen - Queen
  9. The House That Jack Built - Aretha Franklin
  10. Mother - Danzig
Oh yeah. Danzig. He absolutely oozes joy.

Labels: ,

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hot 'n Dotty

Lots of goings on, lots of dots. Let's get at it.

  • B called Kirsten yesterday. I'm glad he called her then instead of on Tuesday when I had wanted him to. On Tuesday the news would have been that Kirsten's daughter picked her up from therapy and Kirsten collapsed in the car and Freya had to drive her to the hospital to be revived. As it is the news we got yesterday was a bit more encouraging. Kirsten saw another doctor Wednesday morning and he told her that she was very close to be hospitalized and it wouldn't be here in the city - he'd send her to a clinic in Bavaria that specializes in eating disorders. Now that in itself didn't worry Kirsten in the way the next part did. The doctor told her then that if she didn't start to eat immediately, he was sending her to the clinic where he'd have her put on a feeding tube and that the experience would be terrible for her. She didn't say if it would be done surgically directly into her stomach or would be through a tube in her nose but it scared her badly. Maybe he was exaggerating regarding how bad it is to get a feeding tube but who cares? The result was that Kirsten is more terrified of the feeding tube than she is disgusted over food. Her eating disorder has changed from her becoming sick when she eats to her just not being able to swallow food. Food - all food - disgusts her and when she puts it in her mouth she can't swallow it. It's not a matter of her thinking she's too fat in the way most anorexics think - she knows she's too thin - but her mental problems make food seem gross to her. But the idea of a feeding tube grossed her out even more so she went home and at the time we called her Kirsten had eaten a few spoonfuls of vegetables and was about to eat a peach. For supper she was going to eat a tomato. Doesn't sound like much but she's eating something and for that we're grateful. The doctor gave her a list of what she should be eating right now and when and if she sticks to it and gains some weight then she can avoid the feeding tube. We'll be grateful for any improvement. B told Kirsten he wanted her to come over and she said she didn't want to right now - she's too embarrassed for B to see her. That just broke my heart to hear that. I want so much for her to get better and to start loving herself again.
  • For shit's sake, stop with the humid ass weather. I'm sick of being bathed in a constant sheen of sweat. There's not enough fresh blueberries, watermelon and ice cream in the world to make up for being in a constant state of sweatiness.
  • And what's the worst part of being Champion Head Sweater of the World? This: It's back again. It's not quite to the giant, nearly purple, ready to burst stage but we're definitely at the getting swollen and hurts like a son-of-a-gun stage. Ready to burst should be in a few more days. Ugh.
  • However there was one advantage to the neck funk - it got me out of the hair dyeing appointment with Tina. There was no way I was going to let anyone put stuff on my hair that would potentially touch my neck. I have enough problems - I don't need hair dye turning my neck funk into a raging volcano put on top of it all. I called her this morning to beg off our appointment and told her we'd reschedule when I was all healed up again. In the meantime I'm going to come up with a way to get out of it completely. Hmmm...maybe...let's see...tell her I don't want to do it! Now there's a novel idea!
  • Enough of gross neck funk talk. Let's see something pretty! It's the sock I'm knitting for Mollie!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I will not be surprised to find out that Gross Neck Funk wants me to knit him socks.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

When Multi-Tasking Goes Wrong

I'm knitting a pair of socks for Darling Mollie. Alright, alright - I know others of you are patiently waiting for socks from me but I really want to knit this particular pattern and this pattern is just Mollie.

All day I've been chomping at the bit to get to the main part of the pattern. Knitting the cuff of a sock is like being in an airplane just after they've closed the door. You're about to take off but the taxiing to the runway seems to take forever and all you can think is "C'mon! Let's get in the air! I want my plastic cup of tomato juice and my little bag of snack crackers!". I'm knitting a two color pattern for the first time and I've been anxious to see what it's like to have two balls of yarn going at the same time.

Unable to leave the sock knitting alone while I'm online, I've been knitting as I read email and while I've been chatting with Darling Mollie online. I've also been looking at bulletin boards of which I'm a member and at one point I set my knitting aside while I wrote a reply on a thread.

After I was finished writing I picked the sock back up to finish the round I was working on and couldn't find the free needle. I'm knitting with a set of five double pointed needles - four in the sock and one free one to knit onto. I looked around on the sofa where I'm sitting and couldn't see it. I got up to see if I was sitting on it and no needle. Looked under and around the pattern book I'm using. Looked under and around the sofa pillow I'm using to keep the pattern book open (Note to knitting pattern book publishers: use ring binding so the book will lay open flat on its own) and couldn't find it. Looked on the coffee table, looked around the computer, looked on the floor. No needle.

And I was pissed. Furious. How in the world did I lose that needle? How was I so irresponsible as to misplace that needle? I'm normally so careful. I am anal about keeping up with my sock knitting needles and not getting different sizes mixed together and not breaking up a set of five. I looked over and over and over in the same places and the whole time I was cussing up a storm. I haven't been quite this pissed in a long time. "Muthafucker! Where in the fuck did I put that needle? I hate breaking up a set! Dammit to fucking hell, where is that needle?!!".

Meantime B's patiently ignoring me and was fully engaged in playing his computer game. I suppose he's become accustomed to my profanity laden rants.

Another five minutes of frantic searching and foul language passed I finally went to fetch another needle from another sock project that's being knit with needles of the same size. And it's bugging the hell out of me to have to get a needle out of a different set of needles because that's mixing them up! It's inter-needle marriage and I am pro needle-purity. There's something wrong about mixing needles together from different sets even though they're needles of the same size, of the same length, made from the same material and are from the same manufacturer. It's just wrong. It's not...symmetrical or lucky or some such nonsense that in reality has no effect on anything.

Yes, you've just discovered another embarrassing quirk of mine.

I came back into the living room still in full rant:

"Fuck! Dammit to holy hell, I am so pissed! Where in the fuck is that needle? I still can't see where I dropped that fucking needle and now I'm going to have a set that's broken up! Shiiiiiit!! And why do they have to make these sons of bitches so fucking hard to see? Why do they have to paint them that dull ass gray? You can't see them when they're that dull ass gray! They need to paint these fuckers orange or something so you can see the pieces of shit!"

"It wouldn't have done you any good if they were orange."

"Why not? If they were orange they'd stand out better!"

"Because your knitting needle is tucked behind your left ear."

He enjoyed that entirely too much.


Monday, June 11, 2007

As the Mercury Rises, So Does the Malaise

Well to be fair - although I'm not sure who we're being fair to in this instance...perhaps to the malaise itself - it may not be real malaise. It could be just regular it's-so-fargin'-hot-that-I-can't-be-arsed-to-do-a-thing. Heat induced can't-be-arsed-ness looks an awful lot like malaise when your vision is blurred by the river of sweat running into your eyes.

The bulk of my weekend has been spend in pursuit of three activities - reading, napping and drinking water. One would think that the four-to-five liters of water I'm downing daily would be resulting in my bladder demanding a pay raise if it's going to be giving all those overtime hours but instead I sweat it out nearly as fast as I can drink.

And while those have been the three activities I wanted to pursue, I ended up doing more. Saturday morning found me up early (if there's anything I've learned as a child of the South it's to get your butt up early and get everything done before it gets any hotter) and off to the gardening center of a home improvement store to buy some flowering plants for Kirsten and to get that delicious looking raspberry jam colored bruise on the inside of my arm with it's matching twins on my knees that I treated you to yesterday. It pissed me off to much to fall like while buying these dopey plants that I wanted to shove my arm in front of Kirsten and say "Look! Look at how I suffer for you! I got this while buying your plants!" but I didn't think that would help her fragile mental state any.

Did I mention that excessive heat and can't-be-arsed-ness makes me exceedingly cranky and unreasonable?

Saturday afternoon found me wincing in pain for maximum sympathy from B while I got him all spiffed up to go out. Friends of ours, Ingo and Tina, were coming by to help me get B in his wheelchair and then we'd go down the street to our favorite restaurant to sit outside and drink overpriced but very cold and very tasty water. I also found out that somehow, without my knowing it, two weeks ago when we were at the city festival with Ingo and Tina I had somehow agreed to Tina buying hair dye for me and applying it to my hair. I remember complimenting her hair color and her saying that she didn't remember the name of it off the top of her head but she'd write it down for me so I could get the same if I wanted and me saying "Oh great!". I don't remember the part where she said she'd actually go buy the dye but B says I agreed to it. Moral of the story? Too much of this:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

will have you agreeing to a dye job you don't want or need and you won't remember doing it. Folks, I get my hair professionally colored ever six weeks like clockwork. While I like the color of Tina's hair and wouldn't even necessarily mind having it that color I didn't actually intend to have her do it but she's already bought the dye - two boxes actually since I have long hair - and I couldn't very well say "Oh no! I'm sorry you've gone to all this trouble due to the fact that I've agreed to something I don't remember agreeing to but witnesses say I did but you can't dye my hair and you'll need to eat those two boxes of hair color! I have some lovely peach white tea with which you can wash them down if you'd like!". So come Thursday morning Tina's coming over and coloring my hair. I just had it done two weeks ago and of course it's a different color and brand being applied so I'm not sure how it'll all turn out. It's still a red color but redder than when I get. I can only hope I don't look like a jackass afterwards. And then I'll have the fun of going back to my hairdresser to the appointment I already have and explaining to her that my hair was colored again by a friend of mine four weeks ago and can she maybe color it again and get me straightened out for good?

I feel like I'm on the tracks staring down a freight trains that's bound to hit me and I'm not going to be able to move because it's my own fault I'm standing on the tracks to begin with. It's my punishment! Must take punishment. Must not whine like cry-baby heiress and take my punishment like a coward who doesn't want to admit to a friend that in her drunken state she didn't understand the whole conversation an adult.

Sunday found me in my MIL's gentleman friend's car heading out to Kirsten's for her birthday. Gentleman friend insisted on driving us and he's got air conditioning in his car so I wasn't going to refuse. Kirsten, I'm sorry to say, looks dreadful. Very thin and weak as a kitten. Her hands shake constantly and picking up a coffee cup is an effort for her. She told me she's going back to the doctor at the end of the week for him to re-evaluate her and if she's not better, which she probably won't be, she'll have to be hospitalized because she's losing muscle mass and I imagine the doctor is worried she's going to start having organs fail. I tried to tell her again that she's to call us for anything at any time and I hope she takes it to heart. We'll call her tomorrow and check in with her again. Kirsten wasn't in the right frame of mind to really talk to me yesterday - too many people around and her husband was breaking all records with the utter indifference he was showing about the whole situation.

And all the inbetween time? When I'm not contemplating what sort of tutti-frutti color my hair could end up being I read, nap and drink lots and lots of water and that's what's making me believe all my can't-be-arsed-ness is really malaise. No housework except for the absolute musts, no cooking that requires my stove to be on for more than ten minutes, little TV watching, no knitting and with the exception of talking to Darling Mollie on Saturday night, no phone conversations. Some may think I'm just conserving energy but I know better. It's the can't-be-arsed-ness wearing the cloak of malaise.

Of course the more I lay low the less chance I have of not following a conversation correctly while consuming too much beer and ending up with Lord-knows-what being done to me next. Malaise occasionally has its benefits.

Labels: ,

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Formula

Want to know what you get when you cross a step you didn't know what there with a table holding metal flower boxes and a brick sidewalk?


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And that was the bruise of which I could actually photograph. There's more. My knees are also a lively shade of purple but I don't photograph my knees for anyone.


Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday Shuffle - Get Your Motor Running Edition

Darling Mollie and I have been chatting online for a couple hours now and our topic du jour today is cars. Darling Mollie is a big time car freak. And I've got a line for you single guys. If you want to turn Darline Mollie's head, drive a muscle car. She's a sucker for a hot muscle car.

Darling Mollie then wanted to quiz me on my automobile history and did it meme style so I thought I'd answer it here. She's all excited about me posting it here. Her brush with celebrity.

Steal if you wish. Except you, Hilda. I adore you but you're not eligible to play this time around.

1. What was your first car- not the one your parents made you drive, but one you bought yourself?

The first car that wasn't a parental loaner was a used truck my then-fiance, now ex-husband gave me when he bought a new truck. A 1980 Dodge 3/4 ton pick-up truck. It had two gas tanks - which was helpful since it sucked down fuel like a 10-year-old sucks down a Slurpee on a 90 degree day - automatic, power steering but strangely enough, no power brakes. Who in the hell has a truck with power steering but no power brakes? I hated driving it but I didn't have to pay for it and at least I could stop borrowing vehicles from my parents. My father had an even crappier truck that I got stuck with all the time. The first car I ever bought for myself was a 1990 ragtop Jeep Wrangler. I didn't exactly hate that Jeep but I hated having a ragtop. Too cold, too windy, too noisy, murky windows and I detested dealing with those stupid zippered windows. And for years that Jeep would stall on me just as I was downshifting to make a turn. I held a grudge against my ex-husband for years for talking me into buying that Jeep.

2. What was your favorite car memory?
My cousin had a gorgeous blue 1968 Chevy Malibu. His sister and I would borrow it to cruise the strip around town and since everyone knew this car, we got noticed a lot. A good car with which to cruise the strip is essential. One evening my cousin showed up to reclaim his car and after a lot of protests he said we could come along with him on his errand as long as we sat still and kept our mouths shut.

You know running moonshine with your cousin at 11pm on a Friday night is scary. And a little fun. And I had no idea that going over railroad tracks at 100mph would make you fly up and hit the dome light in the car with your head.

3. What was your worst car memory?
I don't know if this is the worst memory but it's certainly the most embarrassing.

4. Road Trip?
One of the very best road trips I've ever had was when my dear friend, Susan, and I drove from Virginia to Mississippi to visit my family. We rented a car, a red Pontiac Grand Prix, waved goodbye to our husbands for a week and headed down the interstate. Me, Susan, a lot of cigarettes, a lot of Dr. Pepper and a heinous amount of Snoop Dogg because Susan brought the wrong box of cassettes. Susan had never been that far south before so she was enlightened to find out that it's not uncommon to be able to buy bait and fabric at the same store. She loved driving past Bucksnort, Tennessee (and who doesn't?) and the classic moment was when we were laughing hysterically at the hand painted sign in someone's front yard advertising shad guts for sale and Susan creamed a bird with the car. I know, I know...hitting a bird with a car isn't funny but it came after the shad guts and we just couldn't stop laughing.

5. What vehicle did you own that you despised?
That complete piece of crap 1985 GMC Jimmy that my ex-husband bought when I inherited his old Dodge pick-up. The one I warned him not to buy. That piece of shit lemon would never start. We went through batteries, alternators and solenoids at a frightening rate. Not to mention the time we drove to Mississippi and the U-joint broke. Or the time when coming back to Virginia from Mississippi the transmission crapped out and we had to drive the last 400 miles home in a truck that wouldn't get out of low. Or how paint began to bubble up and peel off the hood and roof 15 months after buying it. I have never been so happy to see a vehicle towed away for good in my life.

6. If you could have any car back- which one would it be?
I have only had one car in my life that didn't disappoint me and that was the Toyota Camry that had belonged to my mother and she gave to me when she bought a new car. I used it to commute to work because frankly I couldn't bear to drive that Jeep any more than necessary. It had about 125,000 miles on it but by golly that bitch started every time I turned the key and after the nightmares of my other vehicles, that meant a lot.

7. If you could have any car- regardless of price- what would it be?
Thirty years ago when I first got my driver's license I wanted a black Trans-Am, just like what Burt Reynolds drove in Smokey and the Bandit. If I could have one just like that in mint condition I'd take it.

Bixente the iPod is revved up to shuffle.
  1. Bad Case of Loving You - Robert Palmer
  2. Phantom Limb - The Shins
  3. Be My Lover - La Bouche
  4. Oye Como Va - Santana
  5. Henrietta - The Fratellis
  6. All Over You - Live
  7. My Generation - The Who
  8. Metal Guru - T. Rex
  9. One Thing Leads To Another - The Fixx
  10. Lone Star State Of Mind - Nanci Griffith
Groove on your weekend the mostest!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Fixer

I'm one of those fixer types. I see something wrong with a friend or family member and I want to fix it for them. It's not because I think I have all the answers - it's because I can't bear to see people out of sorts or in needs or standing on the tracks as a freight train bears down on them. I want to move them out of harms way or take on for myself what they can't bear or whatever it is I have to do to set their life back into balance again. I have a hard time sometimes recognizing the difference between lending a hand and really helping and simply taking on something for someone and it not being able to make any real difference.

Kirsten is a good friend of mine and B's. She's B's oldest friend. She was his girlfriend from the time he was 16 years old until he was 19 and they've remained close over the years. When I first moved to Germany she reached out to me immediately and did all she could to make me feel welcome. Kirsten was one of the witnesses at our wedding and to B and me she's like a sister. And now I'm scared we're going to lose her.

Kirsten has always been a driven sort of person. She's a great mom - her daughter is 20 and is a wonderful young woman - and she's always worked hard at her job. Even when they've cut back her work hours and increased her work load, she's worked her heart out to do her job right. She remarried 7 years ago and her husband (and I'll admit it right now, I'm not really crazy about him) works in another city that's about 70 miles away and is only home on weekends. They built a house about 6 years ago and like with all houses, it's a lot of work to maintain. Kirsten would never think of letting her house look like crap so she would spend her time away from work keeping it clean and the garden looking good. She so seldom has an idle moment and while some would just let something slide, Kirsten won't.

About two years ago things started getting harder for her. She's always had a delicate stomach and it's always been easy for her to lose her appetite. Pressures at work got worse and she was doing all she could to keep up with what was expected of her and not put one toe out of line lest she lose her job and that would mean eventually losing her house. Keeping up with her house was always a challenge and her husband never seems to be very interested in pitching in with yard work. Kirsten was always busy and we wouldn't see her very often. We would speak on the phone but that was the best we could do to keep up with one another.

In February Kirsten had some time off from work and she came to visit us and it was a shock. She was so thin and drawn looking and while I tried to pass it off and act like she didn't look bad, B knew something was really wrong. Kirsten told us how busy she was and how she wasn't eating well and how exhausted she was all the time. We didn't speak to her again for a while - Kirsten would work all day and then when she'd get home she go straight to bed so it was hard catching her when she could talk - but then she called for B's birthday last month. Instead of the bright, talkative Kirsten we knew, we were talking to someone who sounded as though every word spoken was an effort and who had to be prodded into talking. Normally when talking to Kirsten one can't get in a word edgewise but this time she was the opposite. And then I got scared when she told us that since the last time we'd talked to her she'd lost another 12 kilos and her clothes - what would be a size 4 in the US - hang on her. Every time she eats she gets violently ill and she is down to eating only a bit every couple days. It's not that she doesn't want to eat - she's afraid to eat because it makes her sick and hurts.

Kirsten's on sick leave from work now and goes every weekday morning to a clinic here in the city to receive psychological treatment because there's nothing physically wrong with her to keep her from eating. She's depressed and has anxiety over work and her home and I can't help but think it's killing her. Kirsten is on medications to help with this and has her daily therapy sessions but any progress is very slow to come. We spoke with her today and she could hardly talk but she did say that for the first time today she spoke in group therapy - spoke for an hour - and it felt good to her. But she's sad and it broke my heart to hear her crying on the phone. Kirsten isn't a crier. You could hammer her with a shovel and she wouldn't cry but she cried today.

We tell her every time we speak to her that she means the world to us - that she's like family to us - and that we'll do whatever we can for her. We tell her not to worry that the grass has gone brown and that she hasn't planted any flowers and not to sweat what the neighbors might think. We tell her that she's more important than any house or job and that she's got to care for herself first. We tell her that she can call us any time she needs to talk and that she's never a bother and that we don't care what time it is. We tell her that if she needs me to come over there for anything to just call us and I'll get my MIL over here and I'll come to Kirsten. We tell her not to give up and to let the therapy and medications work and that it can take a long time but she can get the relief she needs.

None of it feels like enough. The fixer in me wants to take all this pain and fear away from her. The fixer in me wants to cut through the morass of depression and make her understand that nothing matters but her. And I know I'm not going to be able to fix this for her. It scares me to have to realize that I can't fix this for her no matter how much I want to do it. I know I can't just talk someone out of depression and then there's that little bit of very recognizable Kirsten that depression hasn't snuffed out - the prideful Kirsten that doesn't like to ask for help or favors anyway.

I get so worried that her therapy and medications aren't going to work fast enough. I get worried that Kirsten will become discouraged and give up. I get worried that she'll starve herself - that her body will shut down bit by bit until it's too late to bring it back. I want to scream that I have to watch this and know I can't just take it way from her not matter how much I want to. Isn't that the most sinister part of depression? Of any illness really? Having to watch it slowly chip away at someone you care about while you hope they can recover before it's too late.

I can keep telling Kirsten that we're there for her. I can keep encouraging her to not give up. I can try to encourage her to learn to change things in her life so that she can manage her depression but I can't fix it for her. I can lend a hand but I can't do her recovery for her.

I'm going to Kirsten's house on Sunday for about an hour for her birthday. I want to be able to look in her eyes and tell her as plain as I can that we're not giving up on her and she can't give up on herself either. I hope I reach that bit of Kirsten that's deep down inside that can recognize that we love her and won't abandon her. Because if we lose Kirsten I'll never be able to fix that.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

You've Been Let Off The Hook Long Enough

It's Tuesday and it's time for knitting talk and that's that. Don't be giving me that look. I haven't beat you over the head with knitting stuff in weeks. And this time I've actually started a new project. With pictures! And there's a meme at the end too! I'm trying to make this as painless as possible.

First - new sock project. I'm still raving over Sensational Knitted Socks and don't know how I lived before I had my own copy. I have eight skeins of this same yarn (boring long story as to why I have eight skeins of the same sock yarn - don't ask) and so for this pair of socks I wanted a fun stitch to liven up this solid color yarn but wanted something a bit brainless to knit since lately I'm having to fit in knitting time when I'm watching TV - no time to knit otherwise. For once I'm knitting a pair of socks for myself and doing them in the Woven Stitch - so easy it should be outlawed.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I'm a little farther now - about halfway into the heel flap. Here's a closer shot of the stitch.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This blue/gray yarn will make these perfect socks to wear with jeans.

Now for the meme. Shamelessly stolen from Rachel - fabulous knitter and hand painter of yarns. I hold those who hand paint their own yarn in the same reverence I save for brain surgeons, those who scale the heights of Mt. Everest and anyone who makes a perfect red velvet cake.

If you've done it, write it in bold. If you plan to do it one day, use italics. If you have no plans to do it, write it normally. Any comments from me are in parenthesis.

I-cord (I can do it but only in practice. I've never made anything that's needed i-cord.)
Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire (I wouldn't count it out but I can't envision an metal wire project for me.)
Sockinette stitch
Socks - top down
Socks - toe up (I keep swearing I'm going to make my next pair toe up.)
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens - cuff up (Don't like to wear them so I won't be knitting them.)
Mittens - tip down
Hat (A good way to insure I finally have a hat to fit my huge melon of a head.)
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting (I'm going to have to know what that is first.)
Participating in a knit-a-long (But I didn't get much out of the experience.)
Sweater (If for no other reason than to say I've done it.)
Drop stitch patterns (Never finished it though)
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting/modular knitting (Don't know what this is either)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting (Oh hell no.)
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing (Something for Lottie, the sock monkey would be good.)
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items
Knitting with your own handspun yarn (I can't ever see myself becoming a spinner.)
Graffiti knitting
Continental knitting (But I can't purl continental)
Designing knitted garments (I think almost every knitter dreams of designing at least one thing)
Cable stitch patterns
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting
Knitting to make money
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dyeing with plant colors
Household items - dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies, etc.
Knitting socks or other small tubular items on two circular needles
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else's handspun yarn
Knitting with double pointed needles
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living (I couldn't stand the pressure to knit without errors.)
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dyeing yarn
Knitting art
Knitting two socks or other small tubular items on two circular needles simultaneously
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener stitch (I looooove Kitchener stitch)
Knitting with beads

Long tail cast on

Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self patterning, self striping, variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular knitting

Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/armwarmers

Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog or cat hair
Knitting items for a wedding
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

If you knit and want to swipe this for yourself, feel free. If you don't knit and want to swipe this, that might be even more interesting.

Labels: ,

Sunday, June 03, 2007


I had to spend a dull hour at with Aunt Annoying and Uncle Milquetoast yesterday to celebrate Uncle Milquetoast's birthday. An hour of Aunt Annoying announcing at least three times to everyone that I don't drink coffee and that she made a pot of tea especially for me.

Golly, Aunt Annoying. Perhaps next time we're having a party I'll announce over and over that I buy non-alcoholic sparkling wine especially for you since you're a recovering alcoholic.

The hour wasn't a complete loss though. Aunt Annoying is in charge of the restoration of an old ass church there in POS Cow Town (I don't know if she's actually in charge but if you hear her tell it, she's the boss). I did have to suffer through her telling us a couple times that they've written to the bishop and he's accepted their invitation to see the church when the restoration is complete. She was bragging that the invitation to the bishop was all her idea and this will be such a prestigious event. It's not about having a spiritual leader come bless or rededicate the church or something - it's all about prestige. The woman is a life-long atheist. She has about as much knowledge of the Church as I have about brain surgery. Yeah, I know you don't have to be religious or a believer to be interested in restoring a church but when you only want the bishop there to make yourself look important it seems somehow a bit phony to me.

Anyway, getting back to the actual restoration, they've found lots of old documents in this church and they're cataloging them and using them to help fill out holes in the history of POS Cow Town. Yesterday Uncle Milquetoast showed me a couple documents that they found. They're handwritten in that old sort of German handwriting that went out of style after the war - I can't read that sort of handwriting. B even has a lot of trouble reading that sort of handwriting - my MIL does a bit better at it since that's the way her parents wrote. One document was a mystery to me - I never did understand what it was all about, although it involved my MIL's family and the date on it was from 1846 - and the second document was the posting of banns for a woman with the same last name as my MIL's maiden name. Catherine Dorothee Elisabeth...well I won't post the last name as it's the same last name Aunt Annoying and Uncle Milquetoast have. I don't know if those two know how to Google up stuff but let's not get me into the position to have to explain to them the definition of milquetoast. The document was dated September, 1844. Since it was a woman with that name we know B's not a direct descendant of her but it does show us that at least a branch of that family was living in POS Cow Town back in the mid 19th century.

What was really amazing about the whole thing to me wasn't the fact that they were old documents for distant relatives of my MIL's family but the documents themselves. One would think the documents I saw would be fragile and brittle and yellowed with faded writing but the opposite was true. While the edges showed age, most of the paper was still a creamy white and still smooth and rather pliable and the handwriting was still clear - if you can read that sort of writing anyway. Both documents had official seals in wax and the seals were still pretty clear to read and weren't cracked. The sealing wax was even still shiny. It was as if they documents were written, stamped, and filed away immediately and they haven't seen the light of day in the past 160-some-odd years. I would love to have those documents for myself but they belong to the town, not to the family. And it's better that they stay with the town archives anyway. My MIL's family is dying out. Her cousins didn't have kids and Uncle Milquetoast doesn't have kids and that makes B the last one ever. The only other relatives there would be would be children of siblings of B's great-grandfather and as far as I know, not even my MIL would know who they are if they ever existed. Funny how after four or five generations you no longer have any idea of where you're connected to anyone else.

Even though I didn't want to go out to POS Cow Town, it did end up being worth it just to see those documents. They make me wonder about those people from long ago - who they were and what they were like and how they lived. That's what I love about history. It's not just the events and the people surrounding the events but it's the ordinary people as well. I love thinking about their lives and who they were and what they did. I can imagine that back 163 years ago when Catherine Dorothee Elisabeth was getting married and posting her banns that she couldn't possibly have imagined me holding them all those years later and thinking about her.


Saturday, June 02, 2007


Magdeburg's soccer team missed going up to the second league by one goal in the last three minutes. And we just found out a good friend of the family has inoperable lung cancer.

Just an awful day.


Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday Shuffle - Not All They Did Is Perfect Edition

Even if I skip other days, I always try to post on Friday so I can do the regular Friday shuffle. I'm fairly sure I haven't missed a Friday in a few years. And since I know I'm going to post something on Friday I spend my day thinking about what else I'll write about before the actual shuffle.

Since today is the 40th anniversary of the release of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, I thought over writing about what an impact that album had on me. It came out when I was five years old and still I have a memory of my mother buying that album for my sister. I was going to write about how it's my favorite album of all time. About how I was introduced to certain pop culture figures by seeing their images on the album cover. I was going to write about having listened to that album so many times that it has to be in the thousands by now and how my other Beatles-loving friends and I would analyze the lyrics in depth and discuss what we thought they meant. In short I was going to write a tribute as to why I believe it's the best rock album of all time.

I changed my mind though because I don't really think I have anything to say about Sgt. Pepper that hasn't already been said by rock critics and other fans of the album. There are others who have been analyzing it and revising their opinions back and forth for years now and I don't see myself having much to add to the discussion. I can't really say more than what I have just said - that it's been a big part of my music loving life since before I started Kindergarten and I think it's brilliant. The Beatles are my favorite band of all time and I think this album was their high point.

Instead I think I'll talk about something that great fans of bands don't often admit - that their favorite bands are sometimes responsible for songs they really hate. And while I adore the Beatles, I also recognize that not every song they ever recorded is my taste and some simply drive me crazy. I know of other Beatles fans who think that when I say this it's something akin to blasphemy but I believe that's because people somehow think the Beatles are somehow above reproach. I don't like every movie by my favorite actors or books by my favorite authors - doesn't it stand to reason that I wouldn't like every song my favorite band sings?

But my hate list is pretty short:

~ Hey Jude - To many this is their favorite Beatles song and they can't understand why it's on my hate list. And to be fair, I don't completely hate this song - I just start to hate it at the nah, nah, nah, naaaah part. It's then that it becomes the Paul Self-Indulgence Show.

~ Paperback Writer - Simply grating.

~ The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill - I need more to drink if I'm going to listen to that crap.

And my top pick for Beatles songs I can't stand:

~ The Long and Winding Road - More of the Paul Self-Indulgence Show. Over produced and too much of everything. I like to call it The Long and Whining Song

Anything special on your please-don't-play-that-song list?

Time for Bixente the iPod to shuffle.
  1. Flowers On The Wall - Statler Brothers
  2. Paint It Black - Rolling Stones
  3. Push The Button - Sugababes
  4. Ain't Too Proud To Beg - Temptations
  5. I'm Taking The Train Home - The Twilight Sad
  6. Hamburg Song - Keane
  7. Can't Get Enough - Bad Company
  8. Jessica - Allman Brothers Band
  9. A Boy Named Sue - Johnny Cash
  10. Tupelo Honey - Van Morrison
Enjoy your weekend. Keep praying that Magdeburg beats St. Pauli on Saturday afternoon.