Sunday, July 31, 2005

guess who's home?

Boy9's creation


He's exhausted (apparently getting enough sleep wasn't part of the program) and covered in mosquito bites, but he's alive and well. Proper recovery will most likely take a few days. I remember going to a wonderful camp for three weeks once and definitely NOT wanting to come home. Oh, to be young again.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

supersize me

I'm feeling like a big fat cow today. PMS hormones have come out to play, leaving me cranky, moody and 5 pounds heavier. Just kill me now, OK?

I DID, however, choose a 3-mile walk over a bar of chocolate this morning. Not like the other day when I inhaled an entire 100g of the divine stuff (well in excess of 500 calories, I would think) in the blink of an eye. I hate it when that happens.

So at least I've done my exercise. Now it's on to other exciting projects. Never a dull moment around this place, I tell you.

After a further phone call to Spain last night, we found out that our guests will be arriving in Germany on Wednesday, but will most likely be booked up with family visits until next Sunday. So that still gives me a week to learn Spanish. Olé! Turns out they also won't be sleeping at our place all that much, which is kind of a relief. It did feel good to get all that crap out of the guest room, though. I think I threw out about 4 garbage bags worth of ancient, ratty old bed linens, towels and festive Easter tablecloths (who uses tablecloths any more?) inherited from grandmothers the world over.

Our beloved Boy12 returns home from summer camp tomorrow. Mr. M and Oma will be making the trip to pick him up while Boy9 and I stay home (migraine prevention measure) to cook up something nice for him. The poor boy probably hasn't had a decent meal in two weeks. I'm sure he will also be very soggy due to the tremendous thunderstorms and rain showers we've been experiencing recently.

Boy9 and Mr. M will be returning from the flea market any minute. Must go dab a bit of Pine-Sol behind my ears to make it seem like I've been doing something productive. Think that'll fool 'em?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Where were YOU when Elvis left the building for good?

I was having pigs in a blanket for breakfast and listening to the radio in a cheesy diner in Cache Creek, B.C. Really. Haven't been able to eat pancakes since without thinking of The King.

Anyway, because I know you're all just dying to know more about my completely unremarkable life (and because I STILL don't have anything to say), I stole this meme from Garnet's place:

What I was doing 10 years ago:
Dealing with (and rejoicing at) being 9 weeks pregnant with #2 on the first try, renovating our new (to us) house and trying to potty train a 2 1/2 yr. old. Can you say exhausted?

5 years ago:
Preparing for a month-long trip alone to Vancouver to attend my youngest brother's wedding. The Holy Terror was born 9 months later.

1 year ago:
Eating fresh crab and corn-on-the-cob at a beach house in Tofino, B.C.

Cleaning the living daylights out of my house!

5 snacks I enjoy:
good cheese
Greek olives
sesame snaps
homemade salsa and chips

5 songs I know all the words to:
Oh geez, I don't know. Too taxing for my tiny brain.

5 things I would do with $100 million:
Make sure my extended family was well taken care of
Buy and run a bed and breakfast
Give large amounts to charity
Move! Immediately!

5 locations I would like to run away to:
British Columbia
Washington State
New Zealand

5 things I like doing:
surfing the net
driving my husband and kids insane

5 bad habits I have:
being too impatient with loved ones
eating just because there is food available
not finishing what I start
obsessing about the little things

5 things I would never wear (again?):
thong panties on a regular basis
blue eye shadow
anything made of latex
army boots

5 TV shows I like:
TV in Germany is rubbish!

5 biggest joys of the moment:
my two wonderful boys
watching things actually growing in my garden
finally getting this place cleaned up
making new blog friends
knowing that there is always hope

5 favorite toys:
computer with internet access
digital camera
bread machine
food processor

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

not a thing to say

Too much dust to the brain has rendered me speechless so I'm taking my cue from The Blonde Librarian who did one of those funny "You know you're from..." memes the other day. I had already done a similar one on British Columbia a while ago but I found a few more interesting tidbits:

You know you're from Vancouver when...

1. you make over $250,000 a year and still can't afford a house.
2. your car insurance costs as much as your house payment.
3. you're sure you're the only one on the road with a REAL driver's license.
4. a really great parking space can move you to tears.
5. you know what these acronyms mean: PNE, VPL, GVRD, YVR.
6. you can pronounce Coquihalla, Osoyoos, Squamish and Nanaimo
7. you pass an elementary school and the children are all busy with their cell phones or pagers while waiting for their personal rides home.
8. you feel guilty throwing aluminum cans or paper in the trash.
9. your co-worker has 8 body piercings and none are visible.
10.your hairdresser is straight, your plumber is gay, the woman who delivers your mail is into BDSM, and your next door neighbour grows weed.
11. you cant remember.... is pot still illegal?
12. a man gets on the bus in full leather regalia and crotchless chaps; you don't even notice.
13. you realize there are far more rainbow flags in the city than Canadian flags.
14. the gym is packed at 3 PM ....on a work day.
15. you can tell the difference between Japanese, Chinese and Thai food.
16. you had a California roll for lunch.
17. you watch the weather from a Seattle TV station because it's more accurate.
18. you don't even listen any more when the forecast announces "chance of showers."
19. a day of snowfall makes you consider not going to school/work.
20. you know more than 10 ways to order coffee.
21. you can taste the difference between Starbucks, Second Cup, and Tim Hortons.
22. the guy at 8:30 a.m. at Starbucks wearing the baseball cap and sunglasses who looks like George Clooney IS George Clooney.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

as if I'm not fat enough already

Boy9 made cookies.

very tasty despite the weirdness

In other news: I'm cleaning the heck out of the upstairs today so don't get in my way! *sigh* I was not made for a life of drudgery.

Monday, July 25, 2005

is it dusty in here, or is it just me?

I'll be cleaning the house like a madwoman (11:47 a.m. - have done zip so far) today and for the rest of the week, probably (I'm slow), in preparation for our visitors. Mr. M put me in a monumental snit last night by not telling me what he and our friend D from Spain had talked about on the phone as to exactly when and how long they'll want to stay with us since they'll also be visiting D's parents and staying with either his mum or dad and step-mother for a while. We have quite a small house and I just can't imagine four people crammed into our guest room for very long. And of course Mr. M is being a giant jerk about helping get the house in shape. I think the silent treatment will be in order until at least Wednesday. Unless I get flowers. Lots of flowers.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Go, Lance!

And go he did. As predicted, Lance Armstrong is the man once again. No surprise really - it was pretty clear right from the start that he'd win. I'm sure most of us can only dream of having that kind of focus and mental discipline. I wonder what challenge he's going to take up next.

Grand Central Station

It's been a wild weekend of non-stop entertaining. No, not really, but we invited our good friends over for a barbeque on Friday night and then our neighbours from across the street came for a farewell dinner on Saturday. It took about 8 years to break the ice with them and now they move. Figures. They want us to come visit them some time and we may just take them up on it. They say Freiburg, where our neighbour found a new job after he was fired last year, is really beautiful.

the GrillMeister at work (this was actually taken on Canada Day but I thought I'd throw it in here anyway)

As we all know, Boy12 is at summer camp having a wonderful time and probably forgetting to brush his teeth. Boy9 was invited to spend Saturday and Sunday with his Oma and Opa. This resulted in an almost unknown phenomenon in our house: the kid-free weekend. So when Mr. M got back from dropping off Boy9 on Saturday morning the first thing he says is, "No kids! Excellent! Now we can spend the whole weekend chasing each other around the house naked!"


(Although I suppose at my advanced age I could take that as a compliment.)

We had a great time with our friends on Friday night. T was able to keep his job even though they let 40 other employees go so he's a bit calmer these days.

We got to talking about our other friends from Spain who will be arriving the first week in August. D is German but got sick of the German lifestyle many, many years ago and moved to Spain where he opened a dental lab with a Spanish partner. There he met M, a lovely Spanish girl, and they married on the very same day and year that we did, which is a nice coincidence. They have two children a bit younger than ours and seem to be very happy together.

D is a total entrepreneur - a very un-German trait. First he had his dental lab and then went on to open up a very nice bar/bistro in the town he and M live close to. We visited them there once ages ago at Easter to enjoy the Semana Santa (the week leading up to Good Friday) festivities and spent a lot of time hanging out in that fabulous establishment.

But the bar and the dental lab weren't enough. They started looking around for another profitable business and stumbled across a great opportunity. So for the past few years D has been running a sex shop. Yup. You heard me. And it's booming. People are people wherever you go, I guess. Our friend K was joking on Friday night that when D and his family come up in August they should bring a bunch of free samples for us so we can see what's new in the Spanish love market! That should be interesting. And no, I will NOT be posting pictures!

Besides needing to sandblast the house from stem to stern in the coming week, I'm having another tiny little problem with the pending visit. 3/4 of our guests don't speak German and 4/4 of our family don't speak Spanish. Whee! There will be much waving of hands and feet. D and M and their son visited us before their daughter was born and we got along just fine so I suppose we'll survive all right. The kids may speak a little bit of German now, I don't know. D didn't take the bilingual thing very seriously, I'm afraid. But his mother in Germany speaks perfect Spanish so at least she can communicate with her grandchildren.

After three days of rain it's sunny again which will give me an chance to take some time out from running through the house naked and get some much-needed gardening done.

If you need me you will find me poking about in my petunias.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

all better now

Well, that was fun. The headache only lasted until late Monday night, but then I got busy doing other stuff and haven't had much chance to blog.

Friday night's dinner with the father-in-law turned out to be lovely. I mean the food - the FIL was the same as usual. I had a sushi, sashimi and tempura combo that was beautifully presented and very tasty. We rarely go out to eat since the restaurants here are mediocre and overpriced for what you get, but this was worth it, especially since we weren't paying. Heh.

One thing that got me a bit ruffled was meeting a neighbour of my in-laws' in the stairwell of their apartment building as we were on our way to the restaurant. He asked where we were going, and when we told him, instead of saying, "Oh, great! Have a nice meal!" the old guy says, "Sushi? Bah, can't stand the stuff. I don't like rice, I don't like fish...and I can't be bothered with those Asians anyway." Why do people insist on being so ignorant and unpleasant? I suppose I'm especially sensitive, being an Ausländerin myself, but is it really necessary to go spouting your (prejudiced, uninformed) opinions to all and sundry whenever and wherever it suits you?

Except for me getting the killer migraine, dropping off Boy12 at camp was uneventful. He got all his stuff unpacked in record time and ran off with his buddies, hardly giving us a backward glance. A postcard today has confirmed that he is still alive and that his team found the treasure chest (full of Snickers!). He and his tent mate, who is also his best friend, were a bit put off at first at having another kid in their tent with them due to poor planning on someone else's part, but I'm sure they're managing just fine.

la dolce vita (check out the giant feet on this boy - he's only 12!)

5 star accommodation?

On the drive back we stopped at a roadside stand for some wonderful fresh blueberries and cherries. Had it not been for my head, I would have enjoyed the day. I guess the long car drive and the heat just did me in. I don't do well at all in moving vehicles, be it planes, boats or cars.

Meanwhile, Boy9 and I have been having a grand old time at home. Mr. M can only take two weeks holidays in August this year when we'll be hosting visitors from Spain, so the little guy and I are on our own until then. So far he's been playing on the water slide in the garden with his best pal from school a lot and doing various arts and crafts projects.

faster than a speeding bullet.

Yesterday he and I went to lunch at Burger King (lord help us all) and then to see "Madagascar". The movie was a bit silly, I thought, and they could have made much more out of it, especially with the penguins, who were great. As far as I'm concerned, Pixar still runs circles around Dreamworks. I don't seem to be able to see a movie, any movie, these days without falling asleep after about an hour. I've had this problem for a number of years and haven't figured it out yet. No matter how loud, or how much action, you'll find me nodding off and dropping my popcorn all over the floor.

Speaking of sleeping, I'm dead tired today. Didn't sleep well at all last night and I've just looked at the calendar and noticed that there's a full moon tonight so I know I'll be tossing and turning once again. Great.

Monday, July 18, 2005


On day 2 of what looks to be a 3-day migraine. Back when I can see straight again.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Roman German Holiday

If you live in Germany you can make staying home for the summer holidays seem like a vacation by saying "Dieses Jahr verbringen wir unseren Urlaub auf Balkonien." - "This year we'll be vacationing on Balkonien." And just what is this mysterious Balkonien, you might ask? Why, it's your very own balcony, or terrace or patio or wherever it is that you plunk down your deck chairs and your ice tea when it gets warm enough to sit outside.

We can only swing one big holiday every two years, so Balkonien is where you'll find us sipping our cool drinks this summer. Last summer at this time we had already landed in Vancouver and were headed out for a week in Tofino on the West Coast of Vancouver Island (another picture here). I had been to Tofino frequently as a child, but this time we stayed on a beach that was unfamiliar to me and has to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life. This house was our accommodation for the week and it was truly wonderful.

my babies on the beach

miles of solitude

a storm brewing

we call this one "Canadian Tire" - a joke only Canadians will get

When we rented the house we were told there was a tenant in the basement who lived there year round. We caught sight of him once or twice in the first couple of days and wrote him off as just another long-haired hippy, typical of a lot of Tofino's population, especially in the summer. Boy were we wrong. The guy turned out to have more brains in his little finger than all of us combined. My mum got talking to him one day and he told her he was a biologist, a veterinarian and a naturalist and that he had just finished a book he'd been working on for the past seven years. It sounded so interesting that we all rushed off to the book store to get a couple of copies. Well, we weren't disappointed. His book, Chasing Clayoquot: A Wilderness Almanac, turned out to be a fascinating read. I don't know that it will ever be a best seller, but it certainly got a lot of attention locally and has made many people more aware of what's happening to the West Coast environment.

So that made our holiday very special. I even got to fold the guy's Fruit of the Looms one day when they came out of the dryer in the basement while I was
doing our own laundry. Hey, it's not every day you get to touch a famous person's underwear!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

yeah, I'm hot

But only in the sense that it's been 30°C here since about 8 a.m.and we've barely been able to move. Our house is well-insulated so if we keep the doors and windows closed during the day it's usually bearable but today was pretty bad. Luckily we have a pedestal fan in the living room and ceiling fans upstairs in our room, the kids' rooms and the guest room. I'm seriously thinking of getting one for my kitchen because it was a sauna in there even though I barely cooked anything.

Tomorrow evening we're going out for sushi to celebrate my father-in-law's 76th birthday. He can never remember the word 'sushi' so he always says, "Let's go get some of that white Japanese stuff. You know - fuji!" What a card. The guy is a laugh a minute. NOT.

I got a funny e mail from my mum yesterday in which she described her and Dad's recent trip to Osoyoos (a resort town in south eastern B.C.) to check out a lake house for us all to spend a week at when we go over next summer. My youngest brother, his wife and their 4-yr-old Holy Terror were there as well, along with a friend of my sister-in-law's with two holy terrors of her own, ages 2 and 4. The original Holy Terror has behavioural problems that are not being addressed properly and apparently the other two children were also uncontrollable so a loud, lousy time was had by all. To quote my mum, "I've never in my life heard such screeching, bellowing and screaming going on, and that was just the mothers!" Heh. I will be stocking up on ear plugs in preparation for our next holiday.

On a quieter, more peaceful note, I stumbled across this site the other day and have been busily reading the archived essays. Very calming and inspirational.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

school's out for summer!

Where's Alice Cooper when you need him? Although that's not a very nice song now, is it? Our schools are still standing and will hopefully be there when the kids go back in August.

Report cards were fair to middling. No one was sent to the dungeon, however there is certainly room for improvement. Just imagine how much they're going to forget over the course of six weeks. The mind boggles.

I'm feeling somewhat better today but still a bit peaky. Just too damn hot to do anything productive.

Tonight we're hoping to dust off the telescope and perhaps catch a glimpse of the Space Shuttle Discovery which as far as I can gather they are planning to launch shortly before 10 p.m. CET. Looks like the skies will be clear so we may have a chance. I love all this space stuff. The solar eclipse that occurred here several years ago was completely awe-inspiring and we got to watch it right from our own garden with our special eclipse glasses on. Very cool.

**update** 8:15 p.m. - Looks like no space shuttle tonight. Darn.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

just a little unwell

Like the Messrs. Ullrich and Armstrong (whom I adore despite my morbid fear of all things bicycle) yesterday, I am having my day of rest today. Girlie troubles have taken the forefront, rendering me unable to do much else for the time being but lie on the couch and sip tea. To make matters worse it's 30°C outside with no breeze in sight. Oh well. Nature takes its course and tomorrow is another day.

Speaking of tomorrow, Boy9, who if you will remember has been sick with the flu since last Tuesday, will return to school just in time for his last day before the summer holidays. He was still running a bit of a temperature yesterday so I kept him home today, not wanting to take any risks, but they're only there for a couple of hours on Wednesday to get their report cards so he should be all right.

Boy12 leaves for summer camp this Sunday. That means laundry and packing for me, three hours of driving each way for Mr. M and lots of excitement for our young man. The theme this year is "Civilization 2005". we'll see what kind of fun they've cooked up for the happy campers.

Monday, July 11, 2005

shoot 'em up

ChicagoKarl recently outed himself as a wannabe German so I thought I'd elaborate a bit more and explain to you why he's wearing that funny hat.

Most small towns have what you call a Schützenverein. As far as I've been able to understand, this type of club or association originally started out in the 19th century as a sort of voluntary civilian paramilitary group designed to protect small villages from the enemy. Nowadays it serves a more social function with activities such as shooting contests, marching bands, parades and hosting the annual Schützenfest, a sort of county or state fair with an amusement park, local culinary specialties, and lots and lots of beer.

Each year the town's Schützenkönig and Schützenkönigin - king and queen - are chosen according to each club's arbitrary rules, usually, but not always for being the best marksman/woman. One of our neighbours was the king this year, so we were treated to a very loud marching band coming into our little cul-de-sac to pick him up for the celebrations. I've heard that being the king can get pretty expensive seeing that you have to provide beer for the whole Schützenverein.

This year as every year, Hannover hosted the world's largest Schützenfest. It proved very popular with almost 2 million visitors in 10 days. At the beginning of the festivities, there is always a Schützenausmarch, or parade, with the club members from neighbouring towns dressing up in their traditional uniforms and marching through the streets of Hannover, ending up at the fair grounds.

This little guy, known as "Baller Kalle" ( very loosely translated as "shooting Karl") is the Schützenfest mascot.

The Hannover Schützenfest is also known for a particular mixed drink called Lüttje Lage. It consists of a certain type of light (as opposed to 'lite') beer that was originally brewed in 1526, and a plain schnapps, usually made from wheat, rye or barley. The fun part is the way one is supposed to drink it. The beer (5cl and 2.8 % alchol) and the schnapps (1cl and 32% alcohol) are served in separate glasses and it's up to you to get all the booze into your mouth at the same time. You need to hold the beer glass between your thumb and index finger and the schnapps glass with the middle and ring finger of the same hand. The schnapps glass is supposed to be positioned directly over the beer glass as you drink so that both liquids are combined by the time they reach your mouth. Sound complicated? It is. Bibs are provided for the inexperienced. I found this little video to make things a bit clearer. Click on the man in the top hat to see how it's done.

Prost! (that's "Cheers!" in German)

Friday, July 08, 2005

squeaking in under the wire

Ich habe den Fernseher längst ausgemacht, aber die schreckliche Bilder von London werden eine ganze Weile in meinem Kopf bleiben.

Nichts besonderes heute. Ich mußte mit Boy9 heute doch zum Kinderarzt weil sein Fieber noch nich runter war und ich mich sorgen gemacht habe. Der Diagnose:"Sommergrippe". Da ist nichts zu machen, es geht von alleine weg, sagt der Arzt. Da war ich berühigt. Ich selber habe eine wundervolle geschwollene Lymphknote am Hals und Kopfschmerzen. Auch Sommergrippe? Ich weiß es nicht.

Morgen gibt's ein Schulfest in Boy12s Schule und da werden wir uns alle hinschleppen und so tun als ob wir gesund sind. Danach geht's zu den Schwiegereltern. Mein Schwiegervater war die ganze Zeit im Krankenhaus bis die endlich herausgefunden haben, was für ein Gerät er nachts tragen muß gegen sein Schlafapnoe.

So, die Sprachenwoche nähert sein Ende. Das hat Spaß gemacht und ich habe die Einträgen von den anderen Bloggern (Bloggers? wer weiß?) gerne gelesen.

Jetzt geht's ab ins Bett. Guts Nächtle!

Translation: I turned off the TV ages ago, but the terrible images of London are going to be with me for some time to come.

Nothing special going on today. I ended up having to take Boy9 to the pediatrician after all since his fever didn't seem to be going down much and I was getting worried. The diagnosis: "summer flu". Nothing you can do about it and it goes away on its own, said the doctor. That made me feel better. I myself have a wonderful swollen lymph node on my neck and a headache. Maybe the summer flu as well? I don't know.

Tomorrow there's a summer festival going on at Boy12's school so we're all going to drag ourselves over there and pretend to be healthy. After that it's on to the in-laws. My father-in-law just now got out of hospital after they finally figured out what sort of apparatus he'll have to wear at night to help with the sleep apnea.

So, Language Week is coming to a close. It was great fun and I really enjoyed reading the contributions of other bloggers.

Off to bed for me now. Nighty night!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

no words

I'm so sorry.

Auntie Gwen is alive and well

(No, I'm not ignoring the terrible goings-on in London. Just too shocked to say much of anything. Those bastards.)


Got a snail mail letter from my dad today (he doesn't do e-mail) with some newspaper clippings from the ferry crash last Thursday along with this note:

Hi, I thought you might enjoy these pictures. "Auntie Gwen" was not damaged but I am selling her. No time to go boating.

Love, Dad

Auntie Gwen marked with an arrow.
(click on picture to make it bigger)

Yeah, you know how busy those pensioners are. Wanna bet he'll have a new boat by next summer?

Kommt mir vor wie eine halbe Ewigkeit

Oh god, is it still language week? All right then. Here are three things I used to be able to do but can't do any more:

  • count to ten in either Mandarin or Cantonese, can't remember which one
  • say "I can't speak Japanese" in Japanese
  • say "I love you, my little kitten" in Greek (don't ask)

First I'll whine in German, then in English, OK?

Heute vor 15 Jahren bin ich am Flughafen Hannover aus dem Flugzeug ausgestiegen und habe mein neues Leben in Deutschland angefangen. Damals saß meine rosarote Brille ganz fest. Die habe ich aber ganz schnell verloren und durch ein anderes Model ersetzt. Jetzt wo ich das, was vor mir steht, viel klarer sehen kann, frage ich mich ob alles wirklich wert war.

Translation: 15 years ago today I got off the plane at the Hannover airport and started my new life in Germany. Back then I had my rose-coloured glasses firmly in place. I soon lost them, however, and replaced them with a different model. Now that I can see so much more clearly what's in front of me, I ask myself if it was all worth it.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Ich blogge, ich bloggte, ich habe gebloggt

Dafür, daß sie kaum Gelegenheit hatte die Sprache zu üben, konnte meine Oma ziemlich gut Englisch. Wir wußten nie so genau, wie oder wo sie das alles gelernt hat. Sie konnte es einfach. Zum Glück, weil mein Deutsch damals ziemlich schlecht war.

Ich und meine zwei jungere Brüder wurden leider nicht zweisprachig erzogen. Mit seinen deutschsprachigen Freunden und Bekannten in Vancouver hat mein Vater Deutsch gesprochen, aber ganz selten mit uns Kindern. Ich glaube, es gab dafür einige Gründe. Erstens konnte meine Mutter fast kein Deutsch und zweitens sprach (und spricht) mein Vater Vorarlberger Dialekt, was sich sehr von Hochdeutsch unterscheidet. Ich denke, er hat sich einfach nicht getraut und wußte nicht, wie er es anstellen sollte. Daher freute es ihn umso mehr, daß wir unsere Jungs zweisprachig erzogen haben.

Translation: For someone who didn't have much opportunity to practice the langage, my Oma's English was pretty good. We never knew how or when she learned what she knew. She just knew it. Thank goodness for that, because my German was pretty bad back then.

Unfortunately we weren't raised bilingually. My father spoke German to his German-speaking friends and aquaintances in Vancouver, but rarely to us kids. I think there may have been a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, my mother could hardly speak German at all, and secondly, my father spoke (and speaks) a Vorarlberg dialect, which is very different from High German. I think he just didn't have the confidence to do it and didn't really know how to go about it. So he's doubly pleased that we've raised our boys bilingually.


In other unbelievably exciting news: last night we were all supposed to go to Mr. M's goddaughter's birthday party. However when Boy9 got home from school yesterday afternoon he conked out on the sofa for three hours and woke up with a raging fever. Great. I got to stay home and nurse him back to health while Papa and Boy12 went off to party with the birthday girl. Just before they were about to leave, Boy12 started raising a huge fuss and when I asked him what his problem was and he said, "If you and Boy9 aren't there, all the old grannies are going to corner me and bug me the whole evening." I told them he was right and that they were probably all practicing their cheek pinching at that very moment. Turns out he did get cornered for about 15 minutes and given the third degree about school, how tall he was getting (Ooh, he's walkin' already!), if he had a girlfriend (he hates girls, this week, anyway) and so on and so forth. Poor guy.

Boy9 is still draped over the sofa like a limp rag but seems to be somewhat better. Looks like one of those summer viruses. 7 kids in his class were absent last Friday the day after the field trip so something must be going around.

And I actually got off my rapidly expanding behind today and watered the crispy-looking garden. Also threw away all my Summer 2004 catalogues. Packrat or what? I'm on a decluttering roll, though. Thanks to the two pairs of 7/8 length s-t-r-e-t-c-h jeans I bought on Saturday when I was downtown, I am once again able to bend over and pick things up without having my circulation cut off. The house should be looking much tidier in future.


Boy12: Mummy, how many t-shirts am I taking with me to summer camp?
Me: Well, at least 15, I guess. One for each day and a few extras, right?
Boy12: Phew. That's good to know. I don't want to be like that kid who was there last time and wore the same t-shirt for two weeks!

Boy12: Look, we're learning about "Karl the Big" in history class now.
Me: Karl the WHO?
Boy12: You know, "Karl der Große" - "Karl the Big"
Me: Ahh, you mean "Charles the Great"
Boy12: Oh. Why does English have to be so hard?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Mausi does Europe

Mit 11 Jahren bin ich das erste Mal nach Europa geflogen. Wie ich hier schon vor einiger Zeit erwähnte, ist mein Vater in Österreich aufgewachsen, in Bregenz am Bodensee, um genauer zu sein. Meine Oma (eigentlich die Stiefmutter meines Vaters, aber die einzige Oma die wir Kinder kannten) und mein Opa waren öfters bei uns in Vancouver gewesen als ich jünger war, und jetz war die Zeit gekommen, die zu besuchen.

Eine alte Freundin der Familie die zur gleichen Zeit in Deutschland Urlaub machen wollte hat mich und meine Freundin, auch 11, von Vancouver nach Frankfurt begleitet. Da haben Oma und Opa uns getroffen und wir sind mit dem Zug nach Bregenz gefahren um 3 Wochen dort zu verbringen.

Ich fand alles ganz toll. Meine Großeltern hatten eine winzig kleine Wohnung mit Wohnküche, Speisekammer, Schlafzimmer und Bad. In der Zeit wo wir da waren, dürften meine Freundin und ich im großen Doppelbett schlafen während meine Oma auf der Couch und Opa auf einem Klappbett in der Speisekammer schliefen! Nur das beste für uns. Das lustigste and der Sache war, finde ich zumindest, daß meine Eltern mich in genau diesem Doppelbett gezeugt hatten als die im Herbst 1962 in Bregenz zu Besuch waren. Die sind zu zweit nach Europa geflogen und zu dritt wiedergekommen. Ich finde, ich mache mich ziemlich gut als Souvenir...

So, genug für heute. Morgen geht's weiter.

Translation: I was 11 years old the first time I flew to Europe. As I've mentioned here before, my father grew up in Austria, in Bregenz on Lake Constance, to be exact. My Oma (actually my father's stepmother, but the only Oma we kids knew) and Opa had often visited us in Vancouver when I was younger and now it was time for me to visit them.

An old friend of the family who had plans to vacation in Germany accompanied me and my friend, also 11, from Vancouver to Frankfurt where Oma and Opa met us. From there we took the train to Bregenz where we would spend 3 weeks.

I thought everything was great. My grandparents had a tiny little apartment with a kitchen/living area, pantry, bedroom and bathroom. During our time there, my friend and I got to sleep in the big double bed while Oma slept on the couch and Opa on a camp bed in the pantry! Only the best would do for us. The funniest thing about this, for me, at least, was that I was conceived in that very same double bed when my parents were visiting Bregenz in the fall of 1962. They left Vancouver as a couple and returned as a threesome. I'd say I make a pretty good souvenir...

So, that's enough for today. More tomorrow.

Monday, July 04, 2005

before I forget

Happy Fourth of July to my American friends and family (in California and Massachusetts)!

Hope you have a good one.

here goes nothing

So...ich soll die ganze Woche auf Deutsch schreiben? Das wird ja sicher lustig. So schwer fällt es mir aber auch nicht, in dieser seltsamen Sprache zu schreiben. Nach 15 Jahren hier in Deutschland ist Deutsch zu meiner Alltagssprache geworden. Da unsere Kinder zweisprachig erzogen werden, sprechen ich mit denen natürlich nur Englisch, aber mit meinem Mann und mit allen anderen rede ich Deutsch. Als ich nach Deutschland gekommen bin, haben Mr. M (oder muß ich ihn hier Herr M nennen?) und ich Englisch miteinander gesprochen weil mein Deutsch nicht besonders gut war (sein Englisch auch nicht, aber wir haben uns trotzdem gut verstanden). Nach einiger Zeit haben wir zu Deutsch gewechselt, und so ist es bis heute geblieben.

Translation: So...I'm supposed to write in German all week long? That'll certainly be fun. But it's not all that difficult for me to write in this strange tongue. After 15 years in Germany, German has become my everyday language. Since our children are being raised bilingually, I speak to them in English only, of course, but to my husband and everyone else I speak German. When I first came to Germany, my husband and I spoke English together because my German wasn't that great (his English wasn't that great either, but we managed to understand each other just fine). After a while we switched over to German and that's the way it has stayed.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

I found this a few days ago at Armin's The Ministry of Propaganda and have decided to give it a try. From July 4 - 8 the idea is to blog in a language different from the one you would normally blog in. More details can be found here if anyone else would like to participate.

Since my French and Spanish are not fit to be seen in public, I'll be attempting to blog a bit in German every day along with my regular entries. And yes, a translation will be provided for the linguistically challenged.

paradise lost

Crater Lake, Oregon. July 1985

Has it really been 20 years?

Missing a very dear friend, today and every day.

I guess there are some things you just never get over.


Saturday, July 02, 2005

Let there be pie!

Well, we got a bit rained out yesterday and the maple syrup races on the lawn (use your imagination) had to be cancelled, but that didn't prevent us from eating like there was no tomorrow: ribs, corn-on-the-cob, salad, evil tasting cherry-flavoured beverage that we will never buy again, maple leaf sugar cookies, watermelon and strawberry rhubarb pie.

I'm still full.

Friday, July 01, 2005


Check this out. I grew up close to Horseshoe Bay and have been on one of those ferries many, many times. Luckily no one was injured. My dad has a boat down there. Haven't heard yet if it got squished. Nice way to start the holiday weekend, eh?

Canada Day

Happy Canada Day!

July 1st marks the anniversary of Canadian Confederation in 1867.

looking down from our balcony

I had planned on making a run to the big city this morning to hit the summer sales but Boy9 managed to effectively veto that idea by waking up with a wicked stomach ache. So it's no school for him and no new pants for me. I suppose I'll have to brave the crowds tomorrow instead.

Although tonight's barbeque is being threatened by damp and dreary weather, we refuse to let a little rain stop us from celebrating.

More later...

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