Friday, April 29, 2005

The quintessential hausfrau

I'm a little behind with the laundry today (understatement of the year) and as such have been forced to wear a pair of Boy12's socks (he has large feet) and make up Boy9's bed with a pink fitted sheet. Think he'll notice?

sunny side up or over easy?

This is how my third-grader's mind works:

One afternoon last week I walked down to meet Boy9 at school. He's usually pretty quiet after a hard day of using the ol' noggin so we don't talk much in the 7 minutes it takes us to get home, but last week was different.

Boy9: Mummy, now I'm REALLY glad that I'm a boy.
Me: You are? How come?
Boy9: Well, you know we're learning all that where babies come from stuff in school right now? We saw a movie today. And now I know all about the blood...and... the eggs...and I'm just happy I'm not a girl.
Me: Well, being a girl isn't all that bad.
Boy9: But...just how big are those eggs? Can you SEE them?
Me: Oh no, they're very small.
Boy9: Phew! Because I was thinking they were like thiiiis big. [holds hands about 8 inches apart]

Cluck cluck.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

A meme

Borrowed this from here:

Accent: Southwestern British Columbian. I like to raise my dipthongs, eh?
Bra size: More than a handful
Chore I hate: Folding laundry, ironing, scrubbing floors
Dad's name: Ferdinand Joseph
Essential makeup: Foundation, mascara, lipstick - the works
Favourite perfume: Lily-of-the-valley
Gold or silver: Gold
Interesting Fact: It used to be illegal to drive on the right-hand side of the road in Victoria, B.C. Until 1921 everyone drove on the left side as they do in Britain today.
Job Title: Domestic engineer/ESL instructor
Kids: Two boys
Living arrangements: Half of a duplex in a quiet cul-de-sac somewhere in Germany
Mum's birthplace: Rome, Italy
Hometown: West Vancouver, B.C.
Number of apples eaten last week: Three?
Overnight hospital stays: Two (babies)
Phobias: telephones, bicycles, small spaces
Question you ask yourself a lot: Is this all there is?
Religious affiliation: None
Siblings: Two younger brothers
Time I wake up: 6:30 a.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. weekends
Unnatural hair color: Chestnut brown.
Natural hair color: Ash brown
Vegetable I refuse to eat: Okra
Worst habit: Procrastination
X-rays: Teeth, thyroid
Yummy food I make: Sushi, Vietnamese salad rolls, lemon chicken
Zodiac sign: Gemini

warts and all

Very grateful today that this is not happening in MY neighbourhood. Yuck.

I phoned Vancouver on Monday to wish my mum all the best and ask why they had such a big party for her 69th birthday. Turns out that dear old Dad had miscalculated and told everyone she was turning 70 and my brothers were too clueless to figure it out for themselves. Men. During the party someone asked Dad how old I was, and he said "Oh, she must be about 25". Isn't that sweet? I guess when you're almost 76 you're allowed to make mistakes, especially those kind! Mum was right in the middle of making a cake from a Nigella Lawson recipe when I called. She didn't have a scale and was desperate to know how much 300 g of flour and 100 g of sugar was. Yeah, Canada went metric a long time ago but it looks like SOME people got left behind. So still talking on the phone, I ran to the kitchen, got out my little scale and measured everything out for her, converting it into cups and tablespoons, and she was happy as a clam. My good deed for the day.

Mr. M. has to leave straight from work today for a business trip and won't be home until late Thursday evening. Poor thing - 4 1/2 hours on the train each way and a crappy hotel that he's stayed in before. That means I'll be sleeping all alone in the big ol' king size waterbed tonight. Why a waterbed? No, not what you think. Mr. M. is 6'4" and when he moved into his first apartment in 1988 and went shopping for a new bed, the waterbed was the only one long enough for him. So his bed became our bed. We're on our third mattress now - they get kind of brittle after a while (no, they don't explode, they just spring a slow leak and dribble 800 litres of water everywhere) -but I wouldn't trade this bed for anything. Downside of sleeping alone: no 220 lb. hot water bottle to warm my freezing feet. But on the other hand, no snoring! And I can read in bed! All night if I want to! I have a huge pile of books on my side of the bed that I haven't got around to reading yet because His Royal Highness says I turn the pages too loudly. Hmphh.

Yesterday's English class at the library went well. I have two groups of 8 children each who come on alternate weeks and this week it was the wild group's turn but they were OK. We did prepositions. Woo hoo. A couple of days ago I was searching for tongue twisters to do with them and came across this one (which I did NOT use):

I'm not a fig plucker, nor a fig plucker's son
But I can pluck figs 'til the fig plucker comes.

Nice, eh? Try saying THAT ten times in a row with your mouth full of crackers. Who makes these things up anyway?

Monday, April 25, 2005

Way too much stuff

We have three of everything. Really. But because you can never have enough stuff, Mr. M. and Boy12 get up at the crack of dawn (6:30 around these parts) EVERY Saturday and head off to the flea market in Hannover where they buy even more crap that no one needs. Soon every single nook and cranny in this house will be full and we'll have to move. This week's haul? 24 (!) teaspoons (yes, we've been stirring our coffee with our thumbs all these years), a set of outdoor garden lights, 3 XXL sweat shirts, 4 plants for the rock garden, a Game Cube game, a travel guide to Canada from 1993 (?), assorted Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and an immersion blender (we had one already). You can imagine how thrilled I was. I have absolutely nothing at all against second-hand stuff, it's just the sheer amount of it that gets dragged in here on a weekly basis. Oh well. I guess it's teaching the kids the value of a Euro. Or something.

The weather was beautiful on the weekend - still a bit chilly but sunny enough to sit outside so we threw some marinated squid and vegetables on the grill on Friday and had a lovely meal. To go with it I made a couple of whole wheat sun-dried tomato and fresh herb baguettes that turned out really well and were great sliced as bruschetta with various toppings. Yesterday we had felafel pizza, a recipe I tried out for the first time. It was really interesting and I think I'd make it again although the food critics were not all that enthusiastic and Boy9 refused to even try it, however his vote doesn't count since he lives on air anyway.

In other news: as fate would have it, today is my mother's AND my mother-in-law's birthday.
I miss my mum so much - 7850 km is a long way away and sometimes email just doesn't cut it. She really is one of my best friends and a wonderful role model. My two younger brothers and my dad held a surprise party for her 69th yesterday and I'm waiting to hear about the details. Tonight we're getting all tarted up and going to the Pfannkuchen Haus to celebrate Oma's 71st. It's a pretty rustic place but the kids love it and it's right around the corner from Oma and Opa's so they don't have far to go. And you can order anything you like as long as it's pancakes!

See that turtle? We bought her when we moved in here 10 years ago.

Friday, April 22, 2005

15 things about me (because that's all I could think of)

1. I have 3 kidneys. Want one?
2. I met my husband on a blind date 19 years ago and married him 4 years later.
3. My maiden name consisted of a vowel followed by 4 consonants.
4. I have a B.A. in Anthropology and a TESL Certificate. And just look where it got me.
5. I'm the oldest of 3 children.
6. Put me on a bike and I fall off.
7. I love to cross-country ski.
8. I'm a first generation Canadian.
9. I will drive only if absolutely necessary.
10.I'm so nearsighted it's not even funny.
11. My children are bilingual.
12.I have a telephone phobia.
13.If it ain't broke, I'll break it.
14.I haven't seen my soulmate for almost 20 years. But that's OK. For now.
15.Practicing acceptance and mindfulness are two of the biggest challenges in my life at the moment.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

faithful subject

In honour of HM Queen Elizabeth's (real) 79th today, I will put on my tweed skirt, talk with a British accent, pat as many corgis as I can find and consume large amounts of cake. Possibly washed down with a gin and tonic. Happy Birthday, Your Majesty, and Many Happy Returns, eh?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Never put off until tomorrow what you should have done last week

My fridge freezer was in dire need of defrosting so I decided this was the day to do it. We have one of those strange German fridges that's about 2 ft. wide and 6 ft. tall with four freezer drawers that were filled with all sorts of unidentifiable freezer-burned goodies. Took me most of the morning to sort throught the stuff and chuck anything suspicious and then chip off the thick layer of ice that had formed since the last time I'd defrosted the thing which I figure must have been about, oh, maybe 2 years ago. Ahem. I'm just no good at this homemaker stuff and procrastination is the story of my life. Also tried to make a dent in the mountain of dirty laundry, but I was still so tired from yesterday that I didn't get very far. Tuesday is my "busy" day. Well, busy for me, anyway. Tuesday mornings I volunteer at the library at Boy9's elementary school teaching an English class to a small but wild group of fourth graders. Then in the afternoon it's 3 straight hours of tutoring German high school students in English. Might not sound like much to normal people, however I'm a very low-energy person and Tuesdays just suck the life out of me. I enjoy it, I guess, it's just very draining. I also think I'm coming down with something since my head kind of feels like it's going to explode. Going to bed early for a change might be an idea. Nothing on for tomorrow either. On Thursdays I usually have a university student who comes for tutoring in the morning and another high school girl in the afternoon but the student's horse died (really!) and the girl has stomach flu, so they both cancelled. Maybe tomorrow I'll finally get caught up with that damn laundry. Yeah right.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

How time flies.

On Sunday we celebrated Mr.M.'s goddaughter S.'s confirmation. This involved a very pleasant church service, which we were glad to participate in even though our family's belief system (or lack of it, more like, and no thank you, I'm not looking) doesn't include these rituals, followed by lunch and afternoon coffee with friends and family. S. was born in July 1990, three weeks after Mr.M. and I were married in Vancouver and two days before we returned to Germany for good after our honeymoon in the Channel Islands. We've watched her grow from a sweet little girl into a beautiful, talented young woman and I can still remember holding her at her christening, stroking her tiny peach-fuzz baby head and looking into those bright button eyes. She has more hair now, but the eyes are still the same.

Monday, April 18, 2005

and so it begins

I have no idea where this is going to go, but I hope I'll be able to get a few of my thoughts written down in a coherent manner and maybe meet a few kindred spirits in the process.

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