Thursday, June 30, 2005

the lesser of two evils

My internet was broken for about three hours this morning, thus forcing me to actually do laundry and other things that don't require a mouse. It's fixed now so I can get back to wasting time.

If things go as planned, Germany will hold a federal election in September. Since none of the candidates seem to be all that great, you can try your hand at building your very own Chancellor with the Chancellor Generator. Even though I've lived here for 15 years, I'm still officially an Ausländerin (a foreigner, and a female one at that ) so I'm not allowed to vote. They're perfectly happy to have me pour money into the economy, pay taxes and sweep the street in front of my house once a week, but they won't let me vote. Oh well.

Must go pick up Boy9 from his field trip now. It's pouring rain. Poor soggy little things.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

winding things up for the summer

Today was the final meeting of the library volunteers before the school holidays in two weeks time. Two years ago Boy9's elementary school didn't even have a library, if you can believe it. Thanks to a bunch of energetic mothers, it became a reality and the kids love it. I sort of joined in after things had gotten organized, so I don't really count myself as one of the Library Ladies, but I guess I've done my part in keeping things running. Like the time I helped make 365 "candles" out of painted corks and wooden skewers to help celebrate the library's first birthday. That was fun.

Just as we were starting our discussion this morning, the school principal came in and invited us all to a surprise breakfast to thank us for our contributions and to celebrate the successful parent/teacher co-operation. Germans are really big on breakfast, especially ein gemütliches Frühstück - a cozy breakfast. And cozy it was. The table was decorated with flowers and pretty serviettes. Candles were lit and the usual rolls, cold cuts, cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, jam etc. were served with a glass of sparkling wine to wash it all down. Yeah, sparkling wine at 8:45 a.m. No wonder I never get anything done around here.

Anyway, it was very nice and a couple of the mothers took the time to tell me that their daughters had enjoyed my little weekly group very much and had gotten good marks in their regular English class because of it. Sort of made me feel more a part of the community, like I kind of belong here and have some sort of a purpose. I don't feel like that very often.

The three high school students I tutor have signed off until school starts again at the end of August so I'm only left with the university student on Thursdays and she's no trouble at all. I really need to concentrate on getting things around here in order and I'm going to take the summer to do that. Living in chaos all the time is getting old, you know? "If in doubt, throw it out" is my new motto.

Tomorrow Boy9 is going on a field trip with his class and has to be at the train station at 7:30 a.m. so I'll have to be showered, dressed and beautified by 7. Bleh. I like schlepping around in my bathrobe much better. The kids are visiting an ecology centre and are supposed to bring a fishing net. 26 children with fishing nets. On the train. With all the other regular commuters going to work. Can you picture it? I did my share when I went to the museum with them in April so I'll let some other mothers take care of this one. Heh.

Friday is Canada Day, a big day in our house. The flag is already waving. Pictures may be forthcoming if the weather holds out. There are rumours of a big thunderstorm coming our way tonight and the weather staying iffy until the weekend.

One last thing - I haven't managed to reduce my caffeine intake by much, but suddenly I'm sleeping like a log every night. Can't figure out what that's all about. Maybe it's the blog therapy? Whining to the internet seems to be a Good Thing. For me, at least.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

my day so far

The Plan

  • perservere with the weeding
  • make a dent in the laundry mountain
  • dinner prep
  • work on next assignment for translation course
  • order stuff Boy12 needs for summer camp
  • send long overdue e mails
  • declutter master bedroom
  • meditate
  • write in affirmation journal
  • phone best friend

The Reality

  • blog a bit
  • surf aimlessly
  • stare into space (possibly humming showtunes)
  • twiddle thumbs
  • shake fist at karma gods
  • sigh a lot

Monday, June 27, 2005


For someone who had a shot (or two) of vodka last night after dinner, I'm feeling pretty damn good today. Seems like my arch nemesis hardly affected me at all this time. Maybe I should stick to hard liquor in future. Our neighbours were delightful, as usual. They brought over some leftovers from a barbeque they'd had on Saturday, so we had just tons of food and were stuffed by the time dinner was over. But there's always room for vodka. I think I see a Cosmopolitan in my future.


Das Wetter am Siebenschläfertag sieben Wochen bleiben mag

Today is known as Siebenschläfertag in Germany. German weather folklore claims that the weather on June 27th predicts the conditions for the next seven weeks. Apparently they're right on most of the time too, even though before the Gregorian calendar reform the real Siebenschläfertag was between July 5th and 7th. Go figure.

I did a bit more research on this and discovered that this day got its name from seven shepherds who were prosecuted for being Christians way back in 251 B.C. Legend has it that the Roman Emperor Decius sealed them up in a cave in Ephesus (known these days as Selcuk, Turkey) and when someone opened it up in 447 A.D, 196 years later, out they all popped, fresh as daises. Shortly after this blessed event they died with halos around their heads and were promptly declared martyrs. That's the Christian story anyway, but because of similar pre-Christian legends, it's felt it may have been borrowed, as much of what makes up Christianity was.

Digging deeper, I found that there's also an animal called a Siebenschläfer. It's a dormouse (yes, that's the correct spelling) a sort of large, chubby mouse-like rodent that hibernates 7 months of the year, hence the name "seven sleeper". Nothing at all to do with martyrs or weather. As if I wasn't confused enough already.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

the footy, lots of flea market junk and weeds galore

9:45 a.m. and still surprisingly cool outside - only 20°C so far. I've thrown open the terrace doors to let the house air out a bit before we close it all up for the afternoon to keep out the heat. One nice thing about the warmth is that it makes the air so wonderfully fragrant. The scent of roses and jasmine from the neighbouring gardens is everywhere lately and it's amazing.

Last night we broke out the popcorn after dinner and watched the FIFA Confederations Cup 2005 game between Germany and Brazil in Nürnberg. We're not a very sporty family, but will make an exception for soccer. In my case because of all those gorgeous legs. There was a lot of local interest in this game since one of the players, Per Mertesacker (# 17), is from a town only a few kilometres away from here and all the kids think he's the cat's meow.

Tonight Mexico and Argentina play against each other in Hannover which means they're going to have most of the city blocked off to traffic. The trams will be bursting with sweaty, drunken fans and a good time will be had by all, I'm sure.

They went fairly easy on the flea market this weekend: a Japanese sake set (unused, thank goodness), some of those Chinese Chi-Gong meditation balls, a sage and a lavender plant for the garden, a folding chair for camping, two Enid Blyton books (didn't you read those when you were a kid?) and a Game Cube game. Geez, we could hold our own flea market.

When I said I had finished weeding yesterday, I didn't mean that the garden was now weedless, I meant that I got sick of it because there are so many, many, many weeds. Where do they come from and how do they grow so fast? We've spontaneously invited our duplex neighbours over for dinner tonight so I'll have to do something today to tame the jungle. I've never really thought about it, but I guess you could say we have an organic garden since we use neither herbicides nor pesticides (OK, except for a bit of slug bait now and then) to keep things under control. That means we have more weeds and bugs than real plants (but who's to say that a weed isn't a real plant?). Doesn't really matter to me - I just like being able to look out onto something lush and green, whatever it happens to be.

P.S. 10:30 a.m.- Mr. Mausi just came home from his weekly Sunday tennis game and sauna (where everyone is stark naked and no one cares!). Usually he only brings breakfast rolls with him but this time his best friend an tennis partner had given him a huge bag full of little Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars. There must be a hundred of them in there. *sigh* Will the madness never end?

Must go now. There is cooking and cleaning and weeding to be done.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Wilting from the heat

We got some rain today so things cooled off a bit, but really only a bit. Still very warm and humid.

After I finished weeding the garden I took a few pictures. The first one is my favourite.

I always wanted a red Beetle!


bacopa 'snowflake'

oleander starting to bloom

Friday, June 24, 2005

feels like home - for a couple of hours at least

When I moved here my mother thought it would be a nice idea to present me with a gift subscription for Canadian Living magazine - recipes, crafts, the latest Canuck news and a bit of Canadiana thrown in for fun. A little piece of home away from home and one of the best things she ever gave me. The June issue arrived yesterday (they are sooooo slow) but I haven't had time to sit down and leaf through it page by page yet. I can hardly wait. Just look what's in there, will you:

Perfectly Elegant Tea Sandwiches! Yummm!

The 15 Swimsuits You'll Love to Wear! I doubt it. We'll see.

Favourite Rib Recipes! Oh, yes please!

Think Yourself Beautiful! Still working on it, thank you.

Discover Goat Cheese! Been there. Done that. I am so very cultured.

Garden Escape - 20 Plants and Ideas! I'm all over that one.

Strawberry Lemon Custard Shortcake! How good does that sound?

So I've been getting this magazine once a month for the past 15 years and I think I've only thrown away a very few issues, and those probably by mistake. I have trouble throwing stuff out, especially if it means something to me. Just like Mr. M hasn't thrown away any of his Old Timer car magazines or that moldy wood in the garage that he's been saving for a rainy day. Moldy wood seems to have some sort of sentimental value for him. I should have actually called this blog Packrat meets Packrat, I suppose.

On days when I'm pinin' for the fjords I love to flip through old issues of this magazine because they're just so darned Canadian, and what's not to love about that?

The thunderstorm they promised us on Wednesday never did arrive. The sky is looking pretty threatening this afternoon, however, so we'll probably be in for a downpour later. We're visiting friends for dinner tonight . I hope they weren't planning a barbeque.
My father-in-law is in the hospital right now having all sorts of tests and it turns out he has severe sleep apnea. I've been telling everyone this for years, and it took them until now to make an appointment with a specialist and get things sorted out. He'll need to wear a mask at night to keep him breathing and hopefully he'll start feeling better soon. Right now he's a wreck and not very pleasant to be around. He's in there until Monday and then we'll see. Dealing with aging parents freaks me out sometimes.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

At our house it's all SpongeBob, all the time

This is about as close as the boy is going to get to a SpongeBob tattoo before he's 18.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

it's not the heat, it's the humidity

I've always been extremely sensitive to changes in the weather. Wetterfühlig, as the Germans call it. They like to have precise names for everything, you know. I looked all this up and apparently the kind of weather sensitivity I have is a disturbance of the vegetative nervous system which involves dizziness accompanied by slight nausea, the inability to concentrate and the feeling that your head is about to implode, and is totally different from the other kind where your bum knee or your old head wound start acting up when there's a storm front nearby. That's called Wetterempfindlichkeit. Go figure. It's all very complicated.

We live in Northern Germany so we've been spared the Southern German Föhn, a warm dry wind similar to a Chinook, which can raise temperatures as much as 30°C within a few hours and has occasionally resulted in people going nuts and killing each other, I've been told. Thank goodness for small mercies.

But still, one of the things I haven't managed to get used to after all these years is the humidity where we live. If you're weather sensitive, the humidity can do you in if you're not careful. We've had a few days of lovely weather and I felt all right, but yesterday turned out to be so awfully humid that I thought I was going to tip over right then and there. You go outside and the sweat just starts dripping off you (well, off me, anyway) because there's no place for it to evaporate to. The temperature feels much warmer than it really is. Wonderful.

So the thunderstorm in my head on days like yesterday invariably leads up to a real thunderstorm, since that's usually what happens here after a few days of heat and humidity. According to the weather forecast, we're in for a storm some time today and I'm looking forward to it, I tell you.

Anyway, the whole point of this entry (what? there's a point to all this?) is that my head almost imploding made me start thinking about an article I read a few years ago about conditions specific to certain countries. I wish I could remember more details about it because it was fascinating. I'll recount as much as I can recall, but please don't quote me on any of it.

In Germany, a lot of ailments seem to focus on the Kreislauf - the circulation system. If you're feeling poorly, you're probably having a Kreislaufkollaps - a collapse of your circulatory system, and your doctor will be able to fix you up with any number of pills and potions to remedy this condition. I've noticed Germans also seem to have a thing about their veins (again with the Kreislauf, I guess). Tons of ads in magazines and on TV about stuff you can smear on your legs to counteract all those years of sitting with your legs crossed.

Living en France and feeling lousy? Well, your liver is the root of all evil.

Off your feed in England? It's because you're not getting enough roughage, of course!

And America's claim to fame is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Who would have guessed?

I'm sure they talked about other countries as well, but my memory fails me.

Another condition I'd never come across until I moved to Germany is the Hörsturz, a kind of a mini-stroke in the inner ear where the blood supply is cut off, causing sudden hearing loss, dizziness etc. It's a very serious and alarming thing and you hear all the time about people getting it. It's happened to a couple of Mr. M's work colleagues as well as to a woman who lives in our street. Strange, because my English friend F had never heard of it either back in Old Blighty.

But enough talk about country-specific illnesses for the moment. I need to wrap this up and go grocery shopping. Hope I can make it the whole way without my Kreislauf giving out. Ha ha.

Here's another garden picture I found this morning. It's from last year but things haven't changed much. I like to sit in the swing to read or just daydream.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

James Bond gets all the girls

When I talk about my kids here it seems like I mostly talk about Boy9. It might look like I'm playing favourites, but I'm not. It's just that at the moment much of Boy12's pre-adolescent life is taken up by eating, sleeping, playing computer games or moaning about how much homework he has. He just doesn't say all that much. It's Boy9 who keeps us entertained with his antics. His big brother says he's better than television.

[Boy9 is on his way to bed. 'Never Say Never Again' is on TV. A youthful and sexy (for a Scotsman) Sean Connery works his magic on a scantily-clad vixen and the following conversation ensues.]

Me: Yep, James Bond gets all the girls.
Boy9: Ahhh! What are they doing?
Me: Oh, you know, kissing and stuff.
Boy9: Eeew! That's digusting! I'm never, ever doing that.
Me: You mean you're never going to have a girlfriend?
Boy9: Nope...but maybe a cat.
Boy9: Look! James Bond has a tattoo! Why do people get tattoos, Mummy?
Me: I ask myself that question all the time. I guess they think it looks cool.
Boy9: Hmm. When I'm big I'll get a tattoo right here on my arm.
Me: And I bet I know what it's going to say: 'I love Mom', right?
Boy9: No, silly. 'I love SpongeBob' !!
Guess you had to be there.

I'm off to the library in about an hour. My English group is much quieter since I kicked those two boys out. The mother of one of them confronted me in the school's stairwell a couple of weeks ago and I thought I was in for it for sure. Luckily she wasn't like some of the other ÜberMommies you meet here who think their little darlings can do no wrong. I told her that her son was a nice kid and very smart but that he was disrupting the whole group and nobody was having much fun. She understood completely and didn't beat me up or anything. Very nice of her, don't you think?

Monday, June 20, 2005

oh to be buff

I'm feeling pretty energetic today (for me, at least) after managing to cajole my feeble self into a three-mile power walk with upper body weights this morning. Did it on Saturday, too, and will be aiming for another couple of walks this week. I've also upped my thyroid meds a teensy bit to see if that makes a difference in my energy levels without making me too hyper. I really need to get this exercise routine established not only for weight loss and muscle building but also because I'm at risk for osteoporosis after taking thyroid hormones for over 30 years. That kind of scares me sometimes. Another thing that scares me is looking at the shape my father-in-law is in after a life of little exercise, all the wrong foods and way too much alcohol. A walking zombie with myriad health problems directly related to his lifestyle choices. I don't want to end like that.

Well, our internet provider has finally decided to let our town enter the 21st century, so as of Thursday we'll be the proud owners of a brand spanking new DSL connection. It'll be so nice to have a flat rate instead of paying by the minute like we were before. This is going to cut down on the Internet Guilt Factor (aka Shouldn't You Be Doing Something Else Right Now?) considerably. Mr. M is very excited that we are going to be able to surf side by side. Is he kidding? I surf alone. I don't know who the genius was that decided that we should have two computers in the same room, but I don't like it one bit. Just try to concentrate with a 12 yr old sitting beside you with the volume turned up. I may have to get a lap top. Or one of those computers that doubles as a microwave or something.

We had a barbeque with our dear friends at our place on Friday night and our friend T was pretty depressed because the company he works for is on the verge of declaring bankruptcy and no one really knows what's happening. They've scheduled a meeting on June 30 where they're either going to let 40 people go or announce that they've found an investor and that things will be OK. We're crossing our fingers. With unemployment so high at the moment who knows if he would find another job at all.

Only 24 days until the kids have summer holidays and Mummy can stop getting up at the crack of dawn for 6 weeks! Nothing much planned for the summer but that's the way we like it.

And now a few pictures for your viewing pleasure.

anniversary flowers

Saturday's pretty roses in full bloom

almost on their way out

Sunday, June 19, 2005

my dog has fleas

Wait, that can't be right. We don't even have a dog. Or a ukulele. I guess I have fleas on the brain since this weekend was all about flea markets.

First it was the children's flea market on Friday afternoon at the elementary school where the kids managed to get rid of the big plastic roaring T-Rex and other assorted junk that someone else needs more than we do. They made a bit of money and came home with a DVD of The Incredibles. We'd seen it at the movie theatre in English and they were all excited at being able to see it again in German or English whenever they wanted. They're really interested in how certain expressions are translated and what names the characters are given.

The haul from the second flea market on Saturday included tent pegs, a small hand-held sewing machine (as seen on TV! and yes, it really does work), several books, a wrought iron combination hanging basket/candle holder (can you say fire hazard?), a remote-controlled airplane, an old curtain that Mr. M wants to make pillow cases out of, a bag of batting for stuffed animals (Boy9's creative passion at the moment), and a beautiful bouquet of terra-cotta coloured roses for me. Please believe me when I say we are drowning in stuff. Except for the flowers, of course. Mr. M has recently learned how much more pleasant life can be if you bring your wife flowers once in a while.

Today Mr. M and Boy12 went out for a short while and much to my amazement didn't buy much except for a book on origami. Upon seeing it I was immediately transported back to my childhood where I used to spend hours on that hobby. There's something so satisfying about creating a beautiful three dimensional form out of a thin square of coloured paper. I got some origami paper for my birthday last year and now have the incentive to use it. I haven't done anything really creative in such a long time. The business of raising a family and all that goes along with that seem to get in the way so often and usually I'm just happy if I can get the basics done and make it through the day. I used to be very creative and I miss it. Time to start making that a priority again.

Happy Father's Day to all those dads out there. I'm thinking of my dad today and will phone him later. He's 75, I'm 42,but he still thinks of me as his little girl, which I don't mind at all. I'm so grateful to have both my parents alive and relatively healthy and I miss them so much. If all goes well we'll get to to see them again at this time next year. Can't wait

Thursday, June 16, 2005

'trouble and strife' or 'til death do us part'

"No one told me it was going to be this difficult."

That's how Mr. M will answer if you ask for his impressions on being married to a strange woman from a strange land for the past 15 years.

Yes, today is our 15th wedding anniversary. A milestone of sorts if you go for quantity more than quality. If I had it to do all over again, would I? The honest answer? No, not under theses circumstances. We both realize now that deciding to settle here was a mistake and that we most likely would have had a much happier and more harmonious relationship living elsewhere. These circumstances are our reality right now, however, so we're dealing with them as best we can, but neither of us like it much.

The crossing of language and culture barriers was never easy and communciation still breaks down at times due to these factors. After all these years the balance of power has been tipped too far to one side to ever get it back where it belongs and I feel as if living here has made me lose a huge part of who I used to be. Mr. M agrees. He says he often wonders what happened to the happy girl he married and what he could have done to help her keep a bit of that happiness. Maybe I'm just not as adaptable as I thought I was. The way this country has made me feel about myself (or more aptly - the way I've chosen to allow this country to make me feel about myself - because it's all about choices, isn't it?) has had a huge impact on our relationship.

That's not to say that I don't care for my husband. I do. I love him. We've built a life together. While I know things could be much better, when I read about other people's relationship struggles, I give thanks for being stuck with someone like Mr. M. He is responsible, reliable, creative and a wonderful father. He makes me laugh (he also makes me cry - a lot) and most importantly - he can fix stuff. I like that in a man.

Happy Anniversary, Schnucki! Ich habe dich lieb.

the blushing bride

June 16, 1990
West Vancouver, B.C.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

nothing to report...

...but I'll try anyway.

The Blonde Librarian just got back from a trip to Bulgaria. Go check out her travelogue. Very interesting and definitely on my list of holiday destinations now.

My doctor's appointment was uneventful and all my girlie bits were deemed to be in perfect working order. Seems I have the ovaries of a 30 year old. Don't know if that's good or bad since I am DONE having babies, thank you very much.

The caffeine cold-turkey is not going well. I made it until noon but then couldn't stand it any longer and ended up having three cups of tea AND a fairly significant amount of dark chocolate. If you're looking for me I'll be the one up reading until 3 a.m.

Tomorrow Mr. M and I celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. What fun!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

things can only get better from here

(This is going to be a mish-mash of different stuff so bear with me while I ramble on and bore you all to death while changing the subject without prior notice).

I woke up with a killer headache this morning and the news about everyone’s pal Michael Jackson isn’t making it any better. He was such a cute little boy. What happened? I still have to do my volunteer group at the library at 12 and tutor for three hours straight this afternoon. Will I make it? Tune in later and find out. I’m really trying to cut down on my caffeine consumption, which is already very low, but obviously too high for me because I’m not sleeping like I should and it’s having an effect on my daily life. I gave up coffee years ago because it makes me wingy, however I can’t seem to get off the black tea. It’s not really the caffeine lift that I’m after, it’s that lovely flowery taste and aroma that you don’t get from any other drink. I’ve tried decaf tea, but the brand I bought just tasted like dishwater. Herbal teas don’t do it for me either although I do drink them sometimes just for something different. Oh well. Giving up artificial stimulants has never been easy, I guess.

This is making me feel ill today: Since Friday there have been reports in the paper and on the news about a male kindergarten teacher sexually abusing at least 7 little children at a private kindergarten (a German pre-school that takes kids ages 3-6) only a few blocks away from where we used to live in Hannover. After an anonymous tip-off from a colleague last week, this 32-yr-old single man who lives with his mother close to Hamlin (Pied Piper, rats and all that) has been arrested and accused of molesting these children over 200 times. He had been working at this particular kindergarten since 2002 and before that as a substitute wherever he was needed so it’s not clear if there was also abuse elsewhere. Apparently he would take the children into a darkened room meant for naps and would “cuddle” with them. Police say this “cuddling” went far beyond just touching but the children never confided in anyone. You think you're doing your child a favour by enrolling him in a private school instead of one of the state-run places which aren't always the highest quality and then something like this happens. Ugh. The kindergarten has obviously been closed for the time being and every child who attended in the past few years is being questioned to find out how something like this could happen. I’m on a couple of mailing lists for people either living in or interested in Germany and it always amazes me that people (usually the ones who have never lived here) seem think that Germany is some kind of paradise for raising children. Believe me, it’s not. This type of things happens everywhere.

Mr. M is at a retirement bash for one of his colleagues this afternoon and evening so I can make fish sticks for dinner and no one will care.

Tomorrow is my long overdue annual ob/gyn exam. I don’t know why I kept putting it off this time since I don’t really mind being prodded by strange men in white coats if they’re interested in saving my life. My doctor is a really nice guy who got me through the entire 41 weeks of my last pregnancy 9 years ago. He has wild hair and wears no socks and usually has the time to answer any questions I may have. One of my internet friends is going through serious breast cancer issues right now so it’s making me think about my own health and how lucky I am not to have to face that, right now, at least. Who knows what the future holds.

We sent in our tax return several weeks ago and were delighted to get a nice refund in the mail this morning. Spend it or save it is now the question of the day. I’m leaning toward the spending side. What’s money for, after all?

Man, I wasn’t kidding after my birthday about having no pants (OK, trousers for you Brits – I’m not talking about underwear here) that fit. I’m getting desperate. I mean, I can get them done up, but it’s so uncomfortable, you know? Reminds me of a greeting card I saw once that read: “Remember, ladies, stretch pants are a privilege, not a right!” I’ll have to leaf through a few catalogues and order myself a smashing elastic-y summer wardrobe. If we ever get any summer, that is. It’s supposed to go up to 24°C today, though. We’ll see.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

And Sunday night rolls around again

Boy, that was a fast week. Must be true what they say about time moving faster the older one gets. When you get to be as old as I am the days just whiz by, I tell ya.

Saturday afternoon we went to the local Stadfest which is a sort of annual community day/fair/rock concert/outdoor party type of thing also known as Another Really Good Excuse to Drink Lots of Beer. Apparently there was a beer stand every 10 metres or so, although I wasn't really counting, beer not being my drink of choice. Besides the beer there were pony rides and rescue dog demonstrations and games for the kids. We were lucky enough to come away with a soccer ball and a badminton set as prizes. Good times all around.

Boy9 had his very best friend sleep over on Saturday night, the word "sleep" being relative when you get two nine-year-old boys together. I had thrown the ingredients for pizza dough into the bread machine in the late afternoon, so shortly after P got here we all sat down to a nice, kid-friendly dinner that disappeared like magic. After dinner the boys retired to the guest room, their room for the night, to watch Asterix and Obelix on TV and eat the special treats I had bought for them and Boy12.

When bedtime rolled around (for the rest of us old people, anyway), I was supervising teeth-brushing and thinking how small and vulnerable these skinny little boys looked. I guess Boy9 will always be our "baby" and at times I think we have protected him too much because he seems so fragile, although he's really a tough little nut inside. He is the exact opposite of his older brother who is a big, friendly, confident, cuddly bear of a kid without a care in the world and the nature vs. nurture debate really comes to mind when we see how different from each other our two sons are.

The boys actually managed to get some sleep and after a late breakfast of crepes and bacon P's dad picked him and we went on with our day.

bite me

the remains of the day

In my comments Mr. Haddock wondered if the strawberries were good. They weren't just good, they were fantastic. We picked three baskets, just over 3 kg altogether, in about half an hour and then went home to enjoy them. Most were just eaten out of hand, but I also attempted strawberry ice cream in our new ice cream maker. It was interesting, to say the least. The boys made a competition of picking only the reddest, ripest, juciest berries and ate more than they actually picked, I think. The field owners set a minimum of 1 kg per adult (a good deal around here at €2.25/kg) when you pick yourself so people don't just drop in for a quick snack.

Friday, June 10, 2005


Although I've been trying to keep my mind on other things, those familiar feelings of loneliness,despair and hopelessness at the thought of being stuck here for the foreseeable future have been welling up in me quite often this week. I just feel like I have absolutely no control and no say in the way my life is going. That's nonsense, of course. I'm the one who created this reality for myself and I'm the one who decides which path to take, but it's hard to see that sometimes.

I'm a fairly nervous, uptight person and one thing that has helped me to relax a bit is attempting to learn how to meditate. I'm by no means an expert, but I'm getting there. One aid that I really enjoy is this creative visualization audio CD which includes techniques for chakra clearing, deep relaxation, guided meditations and ideas for creating an inner sanctuary. I have to watch what time of day I listen to it because I, being a perpetually tired sort of person, often fall asleep and that's not really the point of the whole exercise, although it's an excellent way to get a good nap in!

It's really amazing how much of our outside world is created through our thoughts and attitudes and I'm working very hard to get to a better, more peaceful place in the attitude department.

On a lighter note, Mr. M. only has to work until 1 p.m. on Fridays (lucky bastard, you're all saying) so after he and the kids get home, we'll all have a bite of lunch (homemade lentil soup today) and go strawberry picking. Yay! Hours of back breaking fun! No, it really is lots of fun and the berries are fantastic. Chalk one up for Germany. Today, at least.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

procrastination is my middle name

Fifteen minutes before she was supposed to arrive this morning, my biology student called to cancel her tutoring session because she forgot she had to be at work earlier today. So I found myself with a nice chunk of time that could have been spent getting the laundry done, tidying up and throwing stuff out. Did I do any of that? Of course not. I spent the time updating my links list and reading other people's blogs. Will I never learn? Probably not.

Today's breakfast was not as successful as yesterday's. It started off well with some muesli and a banana but then somehow segued into two very large spoonfuls of chocolate hazelnut spread and a couple of slices of cheese (not together - yuk). No self control at all, I tell you. Perhaps I should exercise today to make up for my sins.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A few garden pictures

We've been having a cool, rainy spell lately so I haven't been able to take many pictures. Most of the spring flowers have faded and the summer ones are coming up now. I love green stuff.

welcome to our garden

good place for a nap

not bad lookin' for a compost heap, eh?

not sure what this is called but I like it

I adore fuchsias

more adorable fuschsias

variegated geranium

still only half awake

This was my breakfast today: canteloupe, muesli(mostly twigs, sticks and dried bugs), plain yogurt with a bit of honey and a cup of green tea. I've been doing my best the past few weeks to concentrate on eating well so I won't even mention the fact that yesterday I stuffed about 12 marshmallows into my mouth (not all at once, it's not that big) before I even realized what I was doing. Blame it on the hormones.

Wednesday's (blurry) breakfast

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


Despite getting a fairly good night’s sleep I’m feeling all headachy and crampy today. Just one of the joys of being a girl. I may just have to dip into my stash of Advil (Ibuprofen) that we brought back from our vacation last year. Yes, I know you can get the stuff here, but it’s about 4 times the price so I’ll have to ration my remaining supplies carefully.

I was too busy yesterday to recount my fun-filled weekend so I guess I’ll do it now. We didn’t meet our friends for dinner Friday because their daughter (Mr. M’s goddaughter) was ill with a slightly inflamed appendix which may or many not need to come out. Poor thing – she has a whole bunch of exams coming up for the last 6 weeks of eighth grade and now this.

Saturday morning after Mr. M. and Boy12 got back from the flea market I went out to run a few errands around town and came back at lunchtime to find my husband and our wonderful neighbour sitting on our terrace having an impromptu wine-tasting party. That morning Mr. M had purchasd one bottle each of Californian and Spanish red. And up from the depths of our basement came some cheap (like €1.69 a litre cheap) French plonk with a fancy label. So they were tasting away and I decide to be all grown-up and join in. I actually swore off alcohol years ago, not for any kind of moral reason, but simply because it usually makes me feel like crap, not just the morning after, but sometimes even half an hour after I drink it. Instant hangover, if you will. But me being me, I sort of forgot about that and managed a few sips (OK, half a glass in total) of each. And what do you know, no headache at all. Amazing. All was well until I started trying to unpack my groceries and felt my legs going numb. Oh oh. When the numbness spread to my brain I decided it was time to take a nap. Twenty minutes turned into 2 hours and I woke up strangely refreshed and not at all hungover. I’d probably try it again if it weren’t for the not-being-able-to–walk-properly part.

Oh yes, I almost forgot – right at the beginning of our little party the doorbell rang and I jumped up, thinking it was the postman with a long awaited package fom my mum. Hmmph, it wasn’t the postman at all, it was the Jehova’s Witnesses. Great. Every couple of years and just when I least expect it, they pop up again. Last year it was two darling little grannies who I would have happily invited in for tea if they hadn’t been trying to push their religious beliefs on me on my private property. We had a little chat at the door but after they heard what I had to say, they left pretty quickly. I guess I must have scared the…um…bejeezus out of them? Anyway, the visitors this time were a shiny young couple and as it turns out, they were the same ones that had been here a couple of years before looking for English speaking people.I think they have some kind of convention here during the summer and bring a bunch of young people over from the US. Someone in the neighbourhood must have tipped them off, but the last time they were here I was out shopping, thank goodness. So this time they asked if I knew of any English speakers in the area. And what did I do? I lied. In my very best German I told that I had absolutely no idea where they would find anyone like that. And they left. Just like that. Aren’t I mean?

Sunday was mostly spent doing the stuff I should have been doing on Saturday while I was busy being drunk. Mr. M and the boys decided to get out a bit so they hopped on their bikes and pedaled over to the next town for the annual Erdbeerfest – the Strawberry Festival. Check out the giant inflatable strawberry, the painted cow and the tractor rides. Wow. Apparently it was a bit of a soggy affair, since it had been raining on and off the whole weekend, and they somehow managed to time their visit to be too late for beer and bratwurst and too early for cake, but they got some good exercise in and came home with soft pretzels and a pint of lovely strawberries fresh from the field.

Now it's off the the library to educate the masses.

Monday, June 06, 2005

The Adventures of Super Carrot

This is part of the comic Boy9 made me for my birthday. Think he'll be able to support us in our old age?

Our hero

Bad Cherry threatens to destroy Garden City. This looks like a job for Super Carrot.

Super Carrot foils Bad Cherry's dastardly plan.

Bad Cherry must explain himself to his master, Evil Eggplant (with banana dog). Will Bad Cherry succeed next time? Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

three things meme

May as well do this one...

Three names you go by
1. Christina
2. Mummy
3. Mausi
Three screen names you have had
1. Sugar Plum
2. Sweet Pea
3. Eyes of Gaia
Three things you like about yourself
1. Sense of humour
2. Adaptability
3. I’m very intuitive
Three things you dislike/hate about yourself
1. I procrastinate way too much
2. I’m a good liar
3. I’m afraid of everything
Three parts of your heritage
1. English
2. Irish
3. Austrian
Three things that scare you
1. People in general
2. My children becoming seriously ill
3. The thought of being left all alone here
Three of your everyday essentials
1. Black tea
2. Affirmation journal
3. Internet time
Three things that you are wearing right now
1. Green t-shirt
2. Blue leggings
3. Grey hooded jacket
Three of your favorite band/artist at the moment
1. Moby
2. Coldplay
3. Sarah McLachlan
Three of your favourite songs at the moment
1. Lift Me Up – Moby
2. Give a Little Bit – Goo Goo Dolls
3. Incomplete – Back Street Boys (who I actually hate)
Three things you want to try in the next twelve months
1. Making new friends
2. Finally finishing up my distance learning translation course
3. Exercising consistently
Three things you want in a relationship (love is a given)
1. Spiritual connection
2. Friendship
3. Humour
Two truths and a lie
1. I can speak Spanish
2.My grandfather was an opera singer
3. I have made love in at least 6 European countries
Three things you just cannot do
1. Keep a clean house
2. Ride a bicycle
3. Finish what I start
Three of your favorite hobbies
1. Cooking
2. Surfing the net
3. Reading
Three things you want to do badly right now
1. Go to bed
2. Have someone else sort the socks
3. Run away
Three careers you are considering
1. Translator
2. Linguist
3. Psychic
Three places you want to go on vacation
1. Ireland
2. Japan
3. New Zealand
Three kids names
1. Boy12
2. Boy9
3. Stephen
Three things you want to do before you die
1. See my soulmate again
2. Hold my future grandchildren
3. Figure out my purpose in life

Friday, June 03, 2005

it was like being stranded on a desert island!

Our computer bit the dust last Sunday night. Took until today to get someone to come look at it. Luckily the guarantee hadn't run out yet so the guy repaired it for free. It was the Netzteil - no idea what that's called in English, just that it's the part that switches the computer on and off. We had this problem a few months ago with our other computer. Hmm. So I'm up and running again after having my life put on hold for almost a week. The nerve.

Copyright © 2005-2012 by 'Mausi'. All rights reserved. It's not nice to steal.