Dixie Peach: June 2008

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Monday, June 30, 2008

If It Ain't Hot, It's Depressing

One last blogging opportunity for June. One last chance for dots.
  • Germany lost to Spain 1-0 in the finals of the European championships. I suppose I could say "We were robbed!" or "Spain just got lucky!" but that would be rubbish. Germany didn't play well, Spain played better and the best team of the tournament won. And coming in second ain't so bad.

  • I'm digging the socks I'm knitting. I like the colorway of the yarn a lot. And the pattern? I adore it! It's the construction of the yarn I don't care for. I hate splitty yarn.

  • I made a peach cobbler yesterday. B can't eat peaches because he's allergic to them but he can eat fruit like peaches or apples or cherries if they've been cooked so he gets me to make him peach cobbler. I baked it in the afternoon and the smell was driving me mad. All peachy and buttery and cinnamony. When it came out of the oven I didn't wait long enough for it to cool to a reasonable eating temperature so it was like digging in to molten lava. But a delicious, peachy molten lava. And I have the scorched tongue to prove it.

  • After watching the depressing football final B and I settled down to watch Babel. Now there's a "feel good" kind of film! I vaguely knew the plot of the film and had heard many good things about it so I had been looking forward to seeing it. And now I have one question. How in the hell did I watch that whole film without saying "This is boring! Let's watch something else!"? Was there something about the character of Susan that just screamed to be played by Cate Blanchett? And at what point was anyone going to calm the hell down and employ a little logical thinking? I supposed I'm just thick but I didn't see the point of a 2 hour and 23 minute film whose only message seemed to be "People make some dumb ass decisions.", I don't give a crap about how artfully it's presented.

  • A heatwave is moving in here by Thursday. Wooohooo! 37°C people - Bring. It. On! Get your tickets now to hear me bitch and complain about how miserable it is!


Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Shuffle - Obsession Edition

I've been a little scarce this week. Other things have been taking up my time and it's limited my blog writing and really limited my blog reading. I feel like I haven't visited my regular blog haunts in a month of Sundays and in reality it may be an actual month of Sundays.

So here's what's been occupying me and been my recent obsessions.
  • The Winds of War. Remember that mini-series from the 80s? I recently got it in DVD and have become hooked on watching it. I've still got a few more episodes of it before I'm done but it won't last much more because Natalie's had the baby in Rome and all of the Henry kids are in Pearl Harbor so you know it won't take long for all hell to break out. I remember loving it the first time I saw it and I'm still enjoying it but now I see it with a slightly more critical eye. And Robert Mitchum has one emotion in this series - no emotion. The man is so wooden he's in danger of termite infestation. My next DVD viewing obsession? Roots, The Next Generations.

  • Knitting. Specifically these socks - Spring Forward. I love these socks. Not only do they look cool all knitted up but they are the easiest lace socks to knit. Only two pattern repeat variations to memorize so that means no having to look at the pattern each time you complete a round. No tricky stitches like k3togtbl so you don't have to keep your eyes glued to your knitting. And you know what that means? Greater ease of watching Rhonda explain to Fred why she can't divorce Pug in The Winds of War.

  • Watermelon. I can't stop eating watermelon. Sweet, juicy, flavorful watermelon. I'm in love. And so damn regular you can set a watch by me now.

  • Fluffy summer reading. I'm in the middle of reading 1776 by David McCullough and am digging it the mostest but I also just got in a shipment of books for summertime reading. Y'all know I love books in series and really love mystery books in series and two of my very favorite series are the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich and the Kinsey Millhone series by Sue Grafton. As of Tuesday I now have the not only the two latest Stephanie Plum Between-the-Numbers novels that I've since devouered but have the latest in each of the two series - Fearless Fourteen and T is for Trespass. I love reading a book like 1776 because I can never get enough of reading American history but I have to admit that I look forward to reading my mystery series fluff. Even Julia Child liked to eat at Burger King once in a while.

  • Football. I live in Europe so I'm making a concerted effort to break the habit of calling it "soccer". The final game of the European Championships is on Sunday and Germany will be playing Spain. I've watched every game (except when two were being played at the same time but even then I had the second game on another channel and would flip back and forth) and I am absolutely caught up in the excitement. I've taken to reading sports blogs (I can't read your blogs but I can read sports blogs talking about the football championships - feel free to grumble at me about that) and B and I talk about the matches and the players and consider what strategies the coaches will take. I even went to the public viewing held at our city's old market square last Wednesday when Germany played against Turkey. I really just wanted to see what was going on and was sorely disappointed. I knew that I couldn't get up close to the viewing screen and therefore up where the real fans were so I hung back on the edges and observed. Ugh. Broken glass, drunk, thuggy looking guys, drunk, trampy looking girls and more broken glass. I headed my sandal wearing self back home before I got my foot sliced open and I missed any of the second half. You know I watch football every week during club season - Bundesliga and Regional Liga both - but the excitement I have over the European Championships and the World Cup is different. Most of my Sunday will be taken up with what I normally do on Sundays but by the time late afternoon rolls around I'll be in full football excitement. Deutschland vor!
Let's shuffle:
  1. Time To Pretend - MGMT
  2. Talking To My Angel - Melissa Etheridge
  3. Hedonistic Me - Born Ruffians
  4. Skinny Love - Bon Iver
  5. White Winter Hymnal - Fleet Foxes
  6. Ain't No Fun (Waiting Round To Be A Millionaire) - AC/DC
  7. Mr. Maker - The Kooks
  8. One's On The Way - Loretta Lynn
  9. Ragged Wood - Fleet Foxes
  10. Bron-Y-Aur Stomp - Led Zeppelin


Monday, June 23, 2008

Gray Then Bright

As seen from my kitchen window yesterday evening:




And then honey, did it rain! Not long after I got these photos it was like someone had unzipped those clouds.

Now for something a bit more lively.

I finished the socks I'd been working on for the past three weeks. Loved the pattern but as with most of my projects I have to take a break when they're about half finished so I can do something completely different.


Yarny talk:

Pattern: Froot Loop
Yarn: Dyeabolical Alter Ego Sock Yarn
Colorway: Pot o' Gold

That's some yarn, ain't it? Poppy gave me that yarn when I saw her last October and I remember thinking when I saw it "Damn! That's some bright yarn!". I generally have rather conservative tastes in colors and patterns. I'm not quite as bad as black-and-white-with-occasional-bits-of-beige-thrown-in but I'm also not quite the acid-green-and-gold type. Still I didn't put the yarn in with the rest of my sock yarn stash. It sat out on one of my bookshelves where I could see it every day. The more I saw it, the more I liked the yarn. Maybe its colors are an acquired taste but so is pretty much anything that's not run-of-the-mill.

When I saw the Froot Loop pattern a couple months ago I knew that it would be the right pattern for this yarn - enough color to make the chains and loops stand out but the vivid color wouldn't swallow up the pattern. And let me also add that it was great yarn to work with. Smooth, soft, easy to knit, not splitty at all - I would highly recommend it. I am very pleased with how they turned out and I have Poppy to thank for knowing it was the right yarn to present me. Leave it to Poppy to know what would make some bad-ass socks.

Labels: ,

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Shuffle - Idling Edition

Let's just put the latest happenings together, shake 'em up and dump 'em out and see what turns up.
  • I rarely get into traffic jams, mostly because they simply don't occur very often in my city unless there's a big soccer or handball game going on. I guarantee you I've sat in more traffic jams in my 14,500 person hometown in Mississippi than I have in my 230,000 person hometown in Germany. Today was the exception. I foolishly set out about 4:20 this afternoon to drive about 6 kilometers to the home of some friends. I wasn't more than about a half kilometer from home when I got caught in traffic - commuters and tour buses and trucks avoiding the Autobahn in order to save paying toll. After a while I realized that it wasn't going to break loose at any moment and get going and so I finally cut out of the road I was on and took a roundabout way to my destination. And what time was it when I arrived? 5:40pm. Good thing I topped off my gas tank yesterday!

  • While in traffic I spotted cars and trucks from Poland, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Bulgaria and the Netherlands (that one was a camper - you folks in Germany will appreciate that one). Somehow it made getting stuck in traffic much less tedious knowing it had that international flair.

  • If I don't get this pair of sock I'm knitting for my niece finished I am going to scream. I am dying to start a new pair for my other niece and I'm right at the end of this current pair and I just can't get the time to get them done.

  • Too bad I didn't have my knitting with me while I was in that traffic jam. I'd be finished with them by now.

  • I called B while I was in my dead-stopped traffic jam. Held the phone up to my ear and all - didn't use the hands free function. Using a cell phone non-hands-free while driving a car is illegal in Germany. I've been living the Ordnung muss sein! life too long because I actually feel a little guilty for being a scofflaw.

  • Germany won their match against Portugal last night in the quarter-finals of the European championships so the good feeling the country had two years ago during the World Cup is returning a bit. B and I both have a variety of friends from the Netherlands that we met on various online sites and all of us are wishing for a Germany vs. Netherlands final. What I'm enjoying is the fact that we're all being very friendly about it all and encouraging one another's teams in the meantime. Germany and the Netherlands have a sometimes rocky relationship (lingering bad feelings over WWII) that comes out during soccer matches and even discussions about soccer matches so it's nice to make friends online and stay friendly about it all instead of being asses about it.

  • A few weeks ago I received a card from my younger niece to thank me for the gift I sent to her for her 16th birthday. It in she told me that next year she's dropping taking Latin in favor of taking German - she really wanted me to know that she wants to learn German. Yesterday I received a card from her brother thanking me for the gift I sent him for his high school graduation. He wrote the card in German (he doesn't know German - he just used an online translator so actually the translation is sort of funny) because he really wanted to write something in German to his aunt and his German uncle. It just cracks me up no end (and rather touches me) that these kids that I never get to see still want to do something that'll make me proud of them.

  • We had bratwurst for supper tonight. One of the things I love best about living in Germany is the ease of obtaining the most fabulous bratwurst. One of the things I hate is how after eating bratwurst I am painfully, painfully thirsty for hours.
Let's commence to shuffling.
  1. Runaway - Grant-Lee Phillips
  2. Highway Star - Deep Purple
  3. God's Gonna Cut You Down - Johnny Cash
  4. Your Love Alone Is Not Enough - Manic Street Preachers
  5. An End Has A Start - Editors
  6. White Unicorn - Wolfmother
  7. 1976 - Alan Jackson
  8. Dazed And Confused - Led Zeppelin
  9. When Love Comes To Town - U2
  10. Hello - Oasis


Thursday, June 19, 2008

And It'll Only Get Worse

I'd driven to my appointment with my hair stylist and on the way home I thought I'd top off the gas tank since the news talks every day about how the prices will only go higher now that summer vacations are starting. My tank was still over half full so it only took just under 17 liters to fill it. And those 17 liters cost me 25.50€.

I spent about $39.50 to buy just over 4 gallons of gasoline.

Every time I think about it I start to laugh in a maniacal-on-the-way-to-hysterical manner. I'm pretty sure my eyes are spinning in my head at the same time.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Flower Lady

This afternoon I went down to the old market square to buy some grilled chicken to eat for supper tonight. Often in the summer old folks will come with a couple folding chairs to sit at the edge of the market and sell flowers and sometimes vegetables from their home gardens.

I'm probably reading too much in to things but seeing them always sort of depresses me. All I can think is that they're struggling to make ends meet and so they sell what they can to be able to pay for food and utilities for another month. I could be completely wrong though. Maybe they sell their stuff to take a nicer vacation or just because it's something to do and they like to socialize with other folks.

Still today there was an elderly lady sitting with her flowers in a bucket of water and she looked miserable. I think the sun was getting to her. It wasn't particularly hot today but when the sun was out it was pretty strong and she looked like she was getting overheated.

So I bought the rest of her flowers. She had four bouquets left and I took them all so she could get out of the sun and go home. I'd like to say I was feeling generous and all that but I think I did it for selfish reasons. I could not stand to see her sitting in the sun like that and I just knew it would eat at me the rest of the day if I passed her buy.

My MIL liked the flowers though. I walked over to her apartment (she lives on the other side of the market square) and gave her two of the bouquets. Didn't tell her why. Just told her I got a good deal on them.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday Shuffle - Spreadable Edition

It seems that Christina and Jeannette know the ins and outs of the package delivery game. Christina had hoped that my eagerly-awaited French butter dish would arrive before the weekend and Jeannette suggested that I sleep in, wear shabby jammies and have my hair looking like a rat's nest and surely that would bring on the package delivery man.

Sure enough, today, just before the weekend, and while I was a sweaty, shabby-jammie-wearing mess right in the middle of furiously mopping my kitchen floor before taking a shower, the package delivery man rang my doorbell - two-and-a-half hours earlier than he normally arrives in my neighborhood.

And now, let me present to you - The French Butter Dish!


This particular French butter dish (also known as a French butter crock, Butter Bell, Acadian butter dish, beurrier à l'eau, pot à beurre Breton, among other names) was made by Hermans Keramik and was packed so securely that I'm fairly sure that the delightful pottery making couple could have thrown the box to me and it would have still arrived in one piece. Or two pieces, actually.

Here are the two pieces:


The piece on the right is the part in which the butter is packed. The piece on the left is the water reservoir in which the butter will be stored.

The first step is to have room temperature butter. For those of you who can read German you'll see the word streichzart - an indication that the butter is easy to spread.


I won't say they're lying but this butter is like all butter - fresh out of the refrigerator it's not streichzart at all. It's as hard as a rock and ready to tear your lovely bread, toast or Brötchen to shreds. But lovely French butter dish will remedy that because it is designed to let you keep your butter out at room temperature without it going rancid because the water the butter is stored in creates a seal that doesn't let in air. Clever!

Scoop up the soft butter and pack it in the storage lid:


And then fill the water reservoir about half full with cold water and add about a half teaspoon of water to inhibit any mold growth (keeping the butter free of crumbs will stop mold from forming as well).


When the lid is set back into the reservoir, surface tension keeps the butter from falling out of the lid and the water creates a seal keeping air out. Now all you need do is change the water every 2-3 days and keep the butter topped off (once it's about half empty the air gets trapped between the butter and the water which defeats its purpose). On hot days the butter could melt so putting crushed ice into the water reservoir helps or you'll simply need to put it in the refrigerator. Not even the amazing French butter dish can prevent heat from melting butter.


Mmmmm...perfect, fresh, and truly streichzart butter.

Let's shuffle:
  1. I'm Amazed - My Morning Jacket
  2. Layla - Derek and The Dominos
  3. This Is A Good Street - Mudcrutch
  4. Tuxedo Junction - Glenn Miller Orchestra
  5. You'll Be Coming Down - Bruce Springsteen
  6. Stella Hurt - Elvis Costello
  7. #9 Dream - John Lennon
  8. Zieh Die Schuh Aus - Roger Cicero
  9. Jet Airliner - Steve Miller Band
  10. Arms Of Mary - Everly Brothers


Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Real Reason I Color My Hair

Watching Euro 2008 with two matches each evening is likely aging me before my time. If the Germany vs. Croatia game hadn't already broken my heart then the Austria vs. Poland game certainly would have stopped it.

And I still love every minute of it.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sweet Anticipation

I was expecting him to arrive around 12:30 this afternoon. In anticipation of that I made sure that I had my morning chores and errands finished so I'd be ready and waiting for him. This is not a man that I'd want to leave waiting.

I heard him drive up exactly when I expected him. As I was in the kitchen already I took a quick peek out the window and I'll admit that I shivered a bit with excitement. But I also knew he can occasionally be slow with coming to me.

I'd been making coffee when he drove up so I continued with that. There was no chance at all of him wanting a cup but I made it anyway. As the coffee began to brew I ducked into the bathroom to brush my hair and freshen my lipstick. I knew they were probably wasted efforts but I wanted to do something - anything - to occupy the seconds until he would ring my doorbell.

The coffee finished brewing and I set the cups and cream on the table in the living room. Where could he be? I'd been waiting all morning for him. was worse than that. I'd been waiting all the night before as well. I went to sleep with the lovely thought of him standing at my threshold, his hands extended to me. He really was my last thought before I went to sleep and my first thought when I awoke this morning.

And then I heard an engine start outside. I rushed to the window, not wanting to believe it was true. Not wanting to accept that he had forsaken me.

But it was true. And as I saw him drive down the street, my heart sank.

The package delivery man was gone. He didn't deliver my French butter dish today.


Monday, June 09, 2008

Two Words

Knitting. Soccer. That's all my weekend consisted of. Knitting lots, watching lots of soccer. It was fab.

If I had to add a third word it would be asparagus. I peeled asparagus until I was blue in the face. That part wasn't so fab because I hate asparagus.

I believe my French butter dish should arrive tomorrow. Look forward to a pictorial spread touting its wonderfulness.


Friday, June 06, 2008

Friday Shuffle - Someone's Sweet On Me Edition

Today? Completely uneventful. The most interesting thing is that they moved the outdoor market stalls to run along my street instead of being in the old market place because they're building an outdoor viewing area for folks to gather together and watch Germany in the European Championships.

I was actually feeling a little...blah isn't the right word. Empty is better. Like an empty battery. Not sleepy. Not blue. Not blah. Just empty. B was too. I swear, he and I are turning into one another.

And then a little while ago I heard the BOOM! Fireworks! Again! Two days in a row! Someone must be dying to win my heart to provide me with fireworks two nights in a row for no particular reason. They were even better than last night, or at least that's the way it seemed to me. I even remembered to grab the camera before rushing into the kitchen so I could record some of it for B. That's part of what really sucks about B being a quadriplegic - he can't get to the window or suddenly rush outside to see good stuff like I can.

Boy. Someone's doing a great job at making me a swoony.

Time to shuffle:
  1. The Hungry Saw - Tindersticks
  2. Standing Next To Me - The Last Shadow Puppets
  3. Never My Love - The Association
  4. Summer In The City - The Lovin' Spoonful
  5. The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead - XTC
  6. Black Plant - The Last Shadow Puppets
  7. She's A Rebel - Green Day
  8. Shake The Sugar Tree - Pam Tillis
  9. Good Lies - The Notwist
  10. You've Got A Friend In Me - The Zutons


Thursday, June 05, 2008


Serendipity is defined as the finding of valuable or agreeable things not sought for.

I was sitting here online, ordering a French butter dish because it makes me crazy to have hard-as-a-rock-when-it's-refrigerated butter and even crazier to have damn-it's-gone-sour-on-me butter, when I heard a tremendous BOOM! outside. It was the unmistakable call of Look! Fireworks!

I am a fireworks junkie. Now the noise scares the hell out me - I don't do well with sudden or very loud noises - and the can-get-you-killed aspect of fireworks worries me some but I am still crazy about watching skyrockets and anything else that's sparkly and flashy. Home fireworks on the 4th of July or New Year's Eve are okay but those big community displays? Irresistible. Give me a set of earplugs and I could watch them for hours.

Since I live in the old town section of the city were most celebrations and events take place I get to see my fair share of fireworks. Lots can be rather wimpy displays but on occasion when there's some big event there's a fireworks display that's worthy of the big event. Regardless of the size of the display, I'm drawn to finding where they're coming from and either watching from my windows or balcony or running out to where the display is taking place if my view is otherwise obscured. When I heard the first boom I up out of my seat and off to the direction of the sound.

The kitchen window is where I had the best view of the festivities. I figured it would be one of those simple displays since I couldn't think of any big event going on today but I was absolutely wrong. It was fantastic! And it went on and on and on. Hands down the best fireworks display I've seen since moving to Germany and I've watched fireworks competitions held here. I had a terrific view of everything and was far enough away that the sound was just right. Loud enough to give me that little lump in my throat but far enough away that it didn't scare the crap out of me.

And still I don't know why there were fireworks tonight. I can't think of any big event that took place in Magdeburg on June 5th. I don't recall seeing any posters for some event tonight (but I see so many that I could be wrong). And judging by the direction from where they came and the distance I was from them, it seems to me they were coming from the area of the train station - not at all a typical place...usually fireworks shows are along the river, at one of the local parks or at the Medieval fortress near the university. The train station has had some big renovations going on but I wasn't aware that they were finished nor were the renovations some sort of event to be celebrated by a fireworks show.

Maybe someone with a lot of money and some pull with the mayor just wanted a fireworks display tonight. Maybe they like Thursdays. Or June. Or late spring nights.

Or maybe someone just wanted to surprise and impress me and make me wonderfully happy. I hope that was the reason because if it was, it worked.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Another Sleepy, Dusty Delta Day

I'm not in the Mississippi Delta but I can pretty well guarantee as a Mississippian that if it's the third of June, it's probably sleepy and dusty there.

And even though I'm not in the Delta it's pretty dusty here as well. And sleepy. Sleepy because it's so damn hot here that I have to sleep with the windows open or else melt into a puddle of goo (Today's trivia: My husband hates the word "goo".) and that means being awakened before dawn by the loudest songbirds in creation and every jackass who thinks that it's still okay to drive by apartment buildings and honk his car horn at 4:30am, not to mention the all the delivery trucks unloading to the stores that sit in front of my building. I'm guessing that me screaming down from my open window "Shut the hell up - I'm sleeping!!" will not work on any of my little noisemakers.

So anyway it's been hot here - my thermometer told me it was 91°F on my balcony this afternoon - and that's been keeping me off the computer. It's simply too hot to use it. My wrists get all hot and hot wrists on a hot day make for one cranky peach. I should go down to the basement and get my fan out of the storage area but, frankly, the basement freaks me out a little and I don't like to go down there alone. It's clean and I've never seen a spider or mouse or anything else creepy down there but it's like a maze of hallways and I'm always half afraid that when I turn a corner I'm going to see some grisly image, a la the chopped up twins in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. Therefore, instead of seeking out some relief from sweating, I've been spending my days remaining in the shade as much as possible, drinking copious amounts of water (Note to German readers: hohes C Naturelle in the Apfel-Zitrone flavor is so tasty and refreshing and at 23 calories per 100ml, you'll be as big as a house if you drink a lot of it all summer), and getting caught up on my knitting. I finished these bad boys over the weekend:


and started these as well, after spending about two hours picking apart the tangles I managed to get in the hank winding the yarn into two as-near-as-possible equal-sized balls.


Knitting pattern and particulars in case an actual knitter comes by to read (the rest of you may skip on to the next section):

First pair -
Pattern: Scrolls by Charlene Schurch from the book More Sensational Knitted Socks
Yarn: Schachenmayr nomotta Bambino

Second pair -
Pattern: Froot Loop by Kristi Geraci
Yarn: Dyeabolical Yarns Alter Ego Merino Sock Yarn (fab yarn...and it was a gift from Robin!)

Else things have been rather run-of-the-mill around here. My cell phone (who I have now named Babette) got better. I got in touch with, where I bought the phone, to say that the battery won't stay charged for more than about twenty hours and they emailed me back to get some information from me and I'm waiting to hear back if they want me to send the phone back to them or if they're just going to send me a battery. Evidently though the idea of leaving me scared the hell out of Babette and after giving her one last chance to hold a charge she's been working like a champ. I'm about thirty-six hours into a charge and she's still about 3/4 full. Now I'm afraid that Amazon is going to tell me to send back my phone for repair and I'm going to have to say "Oh...well...she got better.". And then I'm going to have to explain why I refer to her as a her.

I got a very amusing card from my younger niece to thank me for the present I sent her for her sixteenth birthday and when I told my brother that she sent me a card (purposely done to let him know his daughter does have some manners) and to say how much I adore her he told me that out of all the people in the world, she reminds him most of me. I take that as a compliment because my niece is not only smart and sweet but is really adorable but then I stop myself. I personally think I'm turning into my mother and I want to say to my niece "You know how you act like me? I'm starting to act like Granny. Save yourself while you can.".

Time for another glass of water.

Labels: , ,