Friday, September 30, 2005

tequila!

Yes, I've conquered the mystery flu and am up and cooking again. We've invited our friends over for Germanized pseudo-Mexican food tonight and I am hyped! I got limes! I got avocados! I got jalapeños! And it was Mexico Week at Lidl (why shop anywhere else?) this week so I got cheap taco shells and tortillas. Whee!

I'm making guacamole, tacos, vegetable burritos, and black bean and corn salsa.

And let's not forget the Tequila! Lots and lots of Tequila. Which I won't be drinking if I want to make it through the evening. The Tequila is for the real men. I thought the rest of us sissies could have virgin margaritas (I was hesitant to Google "virgin margarita", but it wasn't as interesting as I thought it would be). Must check to see what I can use for margarita glasses.

Many years ago my youngest brother had a nasty run in with a bottle of Tequila and a large plate of nachos and hasn't imbibed since. I wasn't there at the time but I hear it wasn't pretty.





Several Americans have informed me that Canada has really crappy Mexican food. Hmmph. They're probably right. But what you would get in Germany is much worse, I'm sure, because Germans like to put corn in everything and call it Mexican.

I've visited a total of three "authentic" Mexican restaurants: one in Vancouver, one on Maui and one Medford, Oregon, the latter being the one where I recall steam coming out of my ears, so that must have been the best one.

Olé!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

please pass the ibuprofen

Haven't been up to blogging the past couple of days.

I started feeling quite odd (OK, odder) on Tuesday afternoon just before my tutoring student came over. We managed to get through the hour but it wasn't fun and I couldn't wait for it to be over. After 9 hours sleep from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning I still felt like crap and went back to bed for three more hours after getting everyone who needed to go somewhere out of the house. Woke up with a splitting headache that only large amounts of ibuprofen could relieve. Nice. Now I have muscle and joint pain and am either freezing or sweating. Maybe a strange tropical virus? I did go downtown twice last week, coming into contact with all those nasty door handles and other people's money, so who knows.

On a more interesting note: Boy12's bee project is finished! He did a really good job and I'll try to get a picture later.

Monday, September 26, 2005

put down that pretzel!

So, before Blogger so rudely ate my post, I was talking about my pretzels. They didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped because I sort of just followed bits and pieces of about three recipes I had, but they were gone by 8 p.m. last night so they couldn’t have been all that bad. Those boys will eat anything!

Traditionally they’re supposed to be boiled briefly in a solution of water and baking soda before baking to give them a hard, shiny crust, but I left out that part (lazy) and instead brushed them with egg white and sprinkled with coarse salt, as the following recipe suggests. I may try a new recipe next time just to check out the difference.



This recipe is meant for a 2 lb bread machine, but I’m sure you could make them by hand just as easily if you know how to make a yeast dough. Also? This was supposed to make 16 smallish ones, but I made 8 big suckers instead. What a rebel.

Soft Pretzels

1 ¼ c water
3 ½ c bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
1 T oil
1 tsp lemon juice
2 T sugar
1/8 tsp white pepper
1 T (one .25 ounce package) active dry yeast

Glaze
1 egg white
1 T water

Toppings
kosher (coarse) salt or sesame seeds

Place ingredients in bread pan in order recommended by manufacturer and use dough setting. When setting is complete, remove dough and punch down.

On a lightly floured surface cut dough into 16 (8!!) equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a rope about 16” long. Shape each rope into a pretzel by crossing the ends of the rope to make a loop, twisting the crossed ends once and folding them across the loop. (got that?)

Place pretzels on a greased cookie sheet 1 ½ “ apart. Brush with combined egg white and water. Sprinkle with salt or sesame seeds and bake in preheated 375°F (190°C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Eat them while they’re still warm and beg your mum to make more!

*******************************************************

Speaking of pretzels, last Friday our friends invited us over for a Bavarian evening to celebrate Oktoberfest. Besides loads of pretzels, or Brezn as they’re called in Bavaria, we also had Weißwurst, Hendl (roast chicken) and white radishes cut into very thin slices. Mr. M and T drank Löwenbräu beer out of a Maß – a large glass designed to hold one litre. I’ve heard the barmaids in Munich can heft 6 of these things in each hand. You don’t want to mess with those ladies.

At the Oktoberfest opening ceremony this year, Munich’s Oberbürgermeister (lord mayor) set a new record by managing to tap the huge beer keg with only two blows of his wooden mallet, shouting "O’zapft is!" (it is tapped!) to let the guests know that the party had officially begun.

Anyway, as our meal went on, our hosts maintained that the proper way to eat a Weißwurst was not to slit the skin down the middle and separate it from the sausage, but to do it the Bavarian way by making an opening in one end of the Weißwurst and sucking out the contents, leaving the empty skin behind. The Germans have even thought up a verb for this interesting activity: zuzzeln. Yum.

Mr. M, being a traditional kind of guy (ha! that’s a good one!) had of course donned his Lederhosn, knee socks and funny hat and pretended to be a Bayer (a citizen of Bavaria) instead of a Saupreuß (roughly “pig Prussian” – a name sometimes given to northerners by southerners). I actually have a traditional Austrian/Bavarian costume of my own, a Dirndl dress handed down to me by my mum, but unfortunately the last time I fit into it was about two kids ago, and no amount of holding my breath was going to do it.



I guess this dress must be about 30 years old because I know my mother wore it before she gave it to me. The traditional Dirndl, which is the short form of Dirndlgewand, meaning clothing worn by a young girl or woman and stemming from the High German Dirne (young girl), usually consists of a cropped white blouse, a low-cut, tight-fitting bodice with laces or buttons, a full skirt and a matching apron. Sometimes a scarf or shawl is wrapped around the shoulders. Apparently the way the apron strings are tied gives a clue as to the wearer’s marital status. If the bow is on the right, the woman is already spoken for. Apron strings tied to the left signal availability. But as far as I can tell, everyone is available at Oktoberfest. It’s just that kind of place.

There are many, many variations on the Dirndl theme and you can see that the bodice on my Dirndl is very conservative and not low cut at all. There are some really racy ones indeed to be seen at Oktoberfest, cut up to here and down to there, and I doubt I could ever compete with all those buxom Bavarian beauties. I’m pretty sure I’ll never make it to the Wiesn (the local name given to Oktoberfest) anyway – too much beer and bottom pinching for me.

Here’s some good information on Oktoberfest and a great Bavarian dictionary to help all those poor tourists figure out just exactly what their Bavarian hosts are saying. Also go check out Elemmaciltur's adventures. Oktoberfest runs until October 3 this year, so there’s still time to get there. By the time the festivities are wrapped up, almost six million people may have visited the grounds. Wow, that’s a lot of pretzels!

ja mei!

That means something like "bloody hell" in Bavarian and I'm saying that because %+#%$ Blogger just ate my huge Oktoberfest post! I think I'm going to scream.

Must go do housework now. More Oktoberfest later. Stupid Blogger.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

have not fallen off the face of the earth - yet

I'm just busy making soft pretzels in honour of Oktoberfest. Details to follow!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

smart snacks

You never know what you're going to find in the snack food aisle of your local supermarket. Some time ago, Mr. M discovered these little babies and we've been eating them ever since. Aren't they great? Now you can consume vast amounts of MSG and saturated fats AND learn about some of Europe's great monuments all at the same time! Talk about multi-tasking.



Let's see, we've got the Colloseum in Rome, the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen and Big Ben in London. And look! There's the Eiffel Tower in Paris. And the Parthenon in Athens. And last but not least, the Atomium in Brussels. Wow. So much knowledge all rolled into one tasty little potato snack.

You would think they would have chosen sturdier landmarks, though. Most of the tiny Eiffel Towers were already busted when I opened the bag (so I had to eat the broken bits to get them out of the way, of course), I only found one intact Parthenon, and the Big Bens weren't looking that hot either. Suprisingly, the Little Mermaid seemed to fair the best even though she's so delicate-looking. Do they not test these things in the snack development lab? I must research this. Right after I finish off what's left of today's geography lesson.

**************************************************************

Looks like fall is well and truly here. It was about 11°C (about 50°F) this morning and the boys could see their breath in the air when I sent them off to school bundled up in their warm jackets. Time to get out the scarves and mittens too, I think.

Boy9 has his longest day today - Math, German, English, Gym, Math (again!) and Religion - so he'll probably come home for lunch pretty tired. He's a cranky little guy at the best of times (takes after his mother!) and not always that easy to deal with, but we still wouldn't trade him for anything.

Boy12's big project at the moment is dissecting a dead bee for biology class. He has to take it apart, glue the pieces inside a matchbox and then label everything. The dead bee in question has a missing feeler, so we're going to have to search around for other dead insects to steal body parts from.

And me? Well, I'm just sittin' around trying to think of something to make for dinner. Can you stand the excitement?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

clear moon, frost soon




While I was out in the wilderness foraging for food (aka grocery shopping at the discount supermarket) this morning, I came across a little book of German Bauernregeln, or weather proverbs. I've heard these here and there, but never seen them all compiled into one handy resource. How could I resist?

These ones are organized by month and by season for easy reference and they also include proverbs for the saints' memorial days that are so common in Germany speaking countries. Today, for example is Matthäustag - St. Matthew's Day, and the proverb goes as follows:

Trifft Matthäus stürmisch ein, wird's bis Ostern Winter sein.

(If it's stormy on St. Matthew's Day, winter will last until Easter)

Lucky for us it's brilliant sunshine today. We'll see what tomorrow holds in store, though. The proverb for September 22:

Zeigt sich klar Mauritius, viele Stürm' er bringen muss.

(If St. Mauritius is clear, he'll bring many storms with him)

So if it's sunny tomorrow, we're in for it.

A couple more proverbs for September:

Im September kommt der Regen
Wohl dem Bauern stets gelegen,
Doch wenn er den Winzer trifft,
Ist er grad so gut wie Gift
.

(Rain in September is the farmer's pleasure but the wine maker's poison)

Septemberdonner prophezeit vielen Schnee zur Weihnachtszeit.

(Thunder in September means a lot of snow at Christmas.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

and Bingo was his name-o!

We started off the English library group this afternoon by singing "Bingo", everyone's favourite kids' song. You know, the one with the farmer's dog and the B-I-N-G-O and all the clapping. Lots of fun and no one even mentioned my serious lack o' singing skills.

I had a totally different group today because half of last week's crew were told by someone or other (the right hand never knows what the left hand is doing at this school) that this week's class had been cancelled and kids who were missing last week showed up this time. Then there were a couple of strays who snuck in somehow so I let them stay too. It was nice to see all their little brains working and producing things they thought they had forgotten.

My English friend F and her little boy R, 2 yrs, 8 months old, visited for a few hours this morning. They showed up an hour early so you can imagine how things looked since I had planned on having that extra hour to make a dent in the mess. No rest for the perpetually disorganized.

F is overjoyed to have finally gotten a place for her son at a kindergarten one town over from where they live. He'll be able to start when he turns 3 at the end of January. Because he is deaf, he needs to be in an integrated kindergarten where "normal" (whatever that is) children and those with physical or mental disabilities are put into one group. Getting a placement can be difficult if not impossible so F is feeling very lucky. R is doing extremely well with his cochlear implant and is speaking more clearly and using a much larger vocabulary than many of his hearing peers. He's quite the bright little boy and seems to have a photographic memory which I think will serve him well when he starts attending elementary school.

In order to start kindergarten, R needs to be potty trained by next year, so the race is on. He's got his fancy Thomas the Tank Engine underpants to help with the transition and today he only had one tiny little accident (good thing we don't have carpets!) while insisting that he absolutely, postively and most certainly didn't need to go. "Kein Pipi machen, Mama!" he was shouting as his mum whisked him off to the bathroom for the third time. Little kids are so funny. Especially other people's little kids who I don't have to potty train!

F's struggle to reach a sensible divorce settlement (i.e. one not involving blackmail) with her soon-to-be-ex-husband continues, and steam comes out of my ears every time I talk about it with her. But we won't go into details here.

Besides the good company, once nice things about F's visits is that she often comes bearing small gifts. This time my eyes filled with tears when I saw what she had smuggled back in her suitcase for me from her last trip to England a couple of months ago. It's like manna from heaven, I tell you.



Bingo!

Monday, September 19, 2005

sometimes? I bake

I call this one "Sunlight Falling on Muffins"


let's hope it stays that way

This is one good thing to come out of last night's crazy election results. A week or so ago these losers (in every sense of the word) were actually going around to secondary schools handing out CDs containing songs with neo-Nazi lyrics disguised as "folk music". Another reason why I just adore living here. NOT.

sprouts!

Just for Tat


could life get any more exciting?

(At least they match my blog)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

these boots were made for walking

On Saturday we visited the Mühlenfest (windmill festival) and Kartoffelfest (potato festival) held in a neighbouring village. Since it was such a beautiful day, Mr. M, Boy9 and I decided to get some fresh air and go on foot (Boy12 had taken his ever popular self off to yet another birthday party). Following the paths along the edges of the fields that separate one town from another, it took us almost an hour to get there.

The little village of Benthe, current population 1,970, was first mentioned in historical writings in 1138 A.D. and is home to a beautiful old windmill, the focus of some of yesterday's festivities. Unfortunately the line-up for guided tours of the windmill was so long that we decided not to go up. Maybe next time.





The Kartoffelfest was held at the organic farm and market not far from the windmill. As well as having a huge selection of potatoes of all different varieties (we bought some blue ones to try!) they also offered cut flowers, fruit, vegetables, honey and cheese for sale. Guests enjoyed vegetarian potato chile, homemade cake and organic wines and juices.



For the kids there were pony rides and face painting and of course the wonderful farm animals. These two were my favourites: an enormous boar who really wasn't as sad as he looks in the picture and a gorgeous white billy goat with beautiful horns.







Mr. M and Boy9 were very interested in this 1937 BMW motorcycle.



After fortifying ourselves with a bratwurst or two, we headed on home again and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening recovering from our long hike.

Friday, September 16, 2005

make believe

Let's just pretend, shall we, that it isn't 10:35 a.m. already and that I'm not still sitting around in my (very stylish, thank you very much) flannel Winnie the Pooh jammies and flip flops, drinking my third cup of coffee (and I don't even drink coffee!)and feeling totally unmotivated.

It's pouring rain outside today after a week of sunshine. I need to go mail a birthday card and we're having friends over for dinner this evening. Paella is on the menu.

Better get cracking.

P.S. I was hoping to take some pictures of tonight's dinner, but my digital camera, like its owner, seems to be having some slight memory and focusing issues. Hopefully those will be resolved soon.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

I have (almost) regained my composure

Aww, thanks for all the sympathy, guys. That was really nice.

What I did to get over myself:

  • camped out in the guest room for a couple of nights
  • bought myself a bunch of flowers
  • had a T-shirt printed up - "Being taken for granted since the early 90's"

Sometimes it's the people closest to you who piss you off the most, you know?

***************

And now for some Canadian content. I have this little book called "You Can't Do That in Canada - Crazy Laws from Coast to Coast" and I thought I'd treat you all to a small sample:

  • Be on your best behaviour if the Queen visits. Doing anything to "alarm Her Majesty" is against the law. An adult who alarms her on purpose can spend up to 14 years in prison.
  • A law was passed in British Columbia making it illegal to squeeze or "manhandle" fruit at public vending stalls unless you had already bought it.
  • Do you exercise in a way that might frighten a horse? Then you can't do it in Quesnel, B.C., without permission.
  • It is an offence to let the fish you caught in national park waters go rotten, if it was fit to be eaten.
  • Cyclists in Vancouver must paint 22.5 centimetres of their rear fenders white. That get's tricky for some cyclists, because rear fenders are not required in Vancouver.
  • Disturbing an oyster bed is a crime anywhere in Canada.
  • Being naked in your own house used to be illegal in Winnipeg unless your blinds were drawn
  • In Quebec, English signs must be no more than one-third the size of their French counterparts. This law was created to help protect the French language. A customer in Napierville may have gone too far when she said a shop was breaking the law because it showed her a parrot that could speak only English.
  • In Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, it may still be illegal to allow a chicken to cross the road.


It's off the the slammer with you, eh?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

wanted: a different life

Ever have the feeling that every single thing you say or do (or don't say or do) is wrong and that nothing will ever, ever be good enough? Welcome to my life.

Sorry, just having a bad day/week/year/decade. Regularily scheduled programming will commence again tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

ziss und zat

My little English group down at the school library starts this afternoon. I have no idea yet how many kids I'm getting or who's taking part so I'll just be winging it today, brainstorming to see how much English they already know and how much I think they can absorb.

Tongue twisters are always good and this is one of my favourites. Lots of those tricky "th" and "t" and "d" sounds that can often be mighty difficult for German speakers. Just ask my husband!


A tree toad loved a she-toad

Who lived up in a tree.

He was a two-toed tree toad

But a three-toed toad was she.

The two-toed tree toad tried to win

The three-toed she-toad's heart,

For the two-toed tree toad loved the ground

That the three-toed tree toad trod.

But the two-toed tree toad tried in vain.

He couldn't please her whim.

From her tree toad bower

With her three-toed power

The she-toad vetoed him.



Let's see if my new students manage to wrap their little Teutonic tongues around all those interdental fricatives and stops. (Hmm...does that sound naughty?)

Funnily enough, Boy9 has pretty much mastered the two different "th" sounds in English, while Boy12 still occasionally substitutes a different sound for the "voiceless th", usually a "d" if I don't remind him to concentrate on his pronunciation.

Monday, September 12, 2005

hey, now you can get drunk anywhere!

(Thought I'd post this today since I got maybe three hours sleep last night and woke up this morning feeling like I had the world's biggest hangover and am therefore very, very cranky. I blame it on the cheese.)

Leave it to the party-hardy German Spaßgesellschaft (hard to translate, but "pleasure-seeking society" will have to do for now) to come up with this stuff. Alcohol in powder form. Just add water. Wow.


Prost!

"Alcopops", those sweet alcoholic mixed drinks served in bottles, are very popular in Germany, where excessive alcohol consumption among young people is on the rise. In an attempt to curb this trend, a tax of 80 to 90 Euro cents per bottle was imposed last year making the drinks too expensive for many teens.

Subyou to the rescue, so to speak. No tax, no bottles to deal with, and a really "cool"(=aggressive) internet marketing campaign aimed directly at teenagers. You know, the ones who are supposed to be drinking less? Great. Just great. Anything to make a buck, eh?

Though we have some of this weirdness at home, I haven't tried it yet, and probably never will. I've heard the taste described as being "nasty", and reading over the ingredients on the label, I can believe it.

This article (in English) describes the concerns of those opposed to this new way of feeding the habit. I would tend to agree with them.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

how do you say 'my one true love' in French?

We had the remains of the very yummy French cheese today - Neufchâtel Coeur de Bray, Roquefort and Munster Géromé, along with grapes and fresh figs. Is there anything better?



So much for trying to lose weight. *sigh*

Saturday, September 10, 2005

recycling

We're having a lazy day puttering around in the garden. It's really too warm to do much of anything else but we're not complaining. Looks like summer is back with a vengeance.

Anyway, as the air cooled off a bit this afternoon I decided to put down my ice tea and pull a few weeds and came across an old friend, almost completely grown over with vines. One of Mr. M's hobbies (before he got old and complacent) was making good use of other people's rubbish by creating robots out of old tin cans. I can't even remember how long this little guy has been hiding out in the garden keeping an eye on things.


We call him "Rusty"!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

got jelly? or honey, even?

I found a picture of the technological miracle. Do we need this? I doubt it.




And for all you wildlife fans out there thinking of visiting Canada, a link to a pdf. brochure entitled There's a Bear in My Backyard!

gimme back my mojo right now

I'm having kind of a zero motivation week, thus the lack of blogging. Really, really REALLY tired all the time and not feeling all that enthusiastic about anything much. Somtimes I wonder how (or if) I'm going to be able to stand 25 more year of this.

HOWEVER, let it be known that I, Queen of Sitting Around, exercised 6 times in the last 9 days - real exercise, too - aerobic power walking and Pilates. I think that deserves a pat on the head. Or maybe even a plate of bicuits and gravy? Please? (Not being a southern belle, I've never actually eaten biscuits and gravy, but they do sound good.)

I tutored my biology student for the first time today after the summer holidays. It's always nice to see her and we had fun. She's in her thirties, but hasn't really travelled much and now she and her husband have planned a two-week trip to China in October. She's really excited about it. I asked her why China and she said that they had first considered New Zealand, but found it to be beyond their budget. Then they looked into going to Canada and vetoed that too. "You know, because of the bears", she said, in a very serious voice. I had to laugh out loud, but she's right. My parents regularily have bears in their garden and we were witness to one last year when we were visiting. No big deal though. You leave them alone, they leave you alone. Usually.

The animal shelter is on the agenda for tomorrow. Dream Dog still hasn't appeared, but we won't give up trying.

Yesterday evening Mr. M was reading through a flyer for one of our local discount supermarkets which seems to stock more inedible than edible items:

Mr: Look! They're selling a radio and toaster in one! Who the heck needs that? You should post a picture of it on your glob thingie on the internet.
Me: On my WHAT?
Mr: Your glob. You know, that thing you're always writing.
Me: (Laughing) Oh, you mean my BLOG!
Mr: Yeah - blog - that's it. Blog, glob, I'll never get all this internet stuff straight.
Me: That's all right, Schnucki, that's what I'm here for. You just keep on going to work and earning the money, OK?

It's "French Week" at above mentioned supermarket. Mostly edible things this time, so I'm going to trot down there now and see what I can scoop up for dinner tonight. I just know I'll succumb to those lovely French cheeses. Why do they have to taste so good?

Monday, September 05, 2005

the days are just packed

I'm exhausted. Anyone can do anything for 15 minutes, that's what FlyLady, patron saint of the disorganized always says. I thought I'd get to it today and try to get a few things done in 15 minute increments. I went a little overboard, it seems.

On Friday Mr. M and I went to the building centre to check out their Schnäppchen Markt (a Schnäppchen is a really good deal). Lots of bits and bobs there but nothing that caught our fancy. Just as we were about to leave we saw they had a bunch of plants for 50% off. Being in a money-saving frame of mind anyway, we came away with a whole carload - hydrangeas, lavender, garden hibiscus, asters etc. - all really cheap. Today I thought I'd start by just popping a few plants into the front garden, moving on to something else right away, but 15 minutes turned into about five hours and I ended up totally trashing the entire garden, ripping this out and replacing it with that, moving things around until I was mostly satisfied with how it looked. Not quite right, but it's an improvement. Everything was just getting too overgrown. By the time I was finished I was dripping with sweat and fairly cranky. A productive kind of cranky, though.

Friday evening we went to our friends' for dinner and had a good time although the mood was not that great since their 15 yr old daughter, S., was recovering from a concussion she got by being hit by a heavy ball right at the base of her skull last Monday in gym class. She wasn't feeling any better by Thursday so they had her checked out at the hospital. The doctors really couldn't find anything serious but since she was still in a lot of pain and they wanted to get to the bottom of it, they made her come back Saturday and Sunday and have now decided that the poor girl also has whiplash and will have to wear a neck brace and have physical therapy later on. Excellent. To top it all off, her mum phoned the school to ask if she could pick up S.'s text books which were handed out on Tuesday when S was absent. The school said they couldn't possibly find the time to arrange that and left her hanging. More on this and other lousy schools another day because that is a rant in itself.

The weather was fabulous all weekend and we spent most of our time hanging out on the terrace relaxing. Sunday all the boys took a bike ride to their favourite frog pond to visit the frogs and pick some apples that were growing wild.


Boy9's tiny frog friend


Boy12 really knows his apples

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Expat Bloggers in Germany 2005 Meet-Up Update!

So, progress has been made and we've decide on a date - Saturday, October 22, 2005 - and a place - Marburg (Lahn). All are welcome to come along! For more details as they develop, check out the posting at J's blog.

Friday, September 02, 2005

how much fun is this?

Spell with Flickr! Found via EasyJetsetter


FUNGraffiti exclamation

Thursday, September 01, 2005

adieu, froot loops

(Posting this in an effort to lighten things up a bit)

Like many of us in the blogosphere (what a strange word) I seem to have piled on the pounds over the summer, eating this and that and these and those and not paying much attention to the fatty deposits forming around my middle. Now I need to get serious about getting them off again. So far this week I've done my 3-mile aerobic walking tape three times and will try to continue to make time to exercise each and every day until I have undone the damage and then some.

Ever since Boy9 was born, I've had problems with hip, leg and foot pain, mostly on the left side, and no one seems to be able to explain it, however it doesn't seem to be exercise-related at all. When I approached my regular doctor about it he just said "Ach, we're all getting older." Well, thanks, that's really helpful. I'm sure some of it is the autoimmune stuff coming back to haunt me, but I do know that as a small child, I had some sort of foot and leg problem that required special footwear. One of my very first memories is of Halloween 1965, me being allowed to go over to the neighbours' with my trick-or-treat bag. My costume? Plastic princess mask, pink stretch pants and fabulous brown orthopedic shoes. Somehow I've never gotten around to asking my mother what the heck was wrong with my feet. But if I do find out, you can bet I'll be faced with spending hundreds of Mr. M's hard-earned euros on fancy orthotics and what have you.

Anway, along with exercising, I'll be trying to eat more responsibly. Starting tomorrow, that is, because our neighbours came home from Spain this week, bearing gifts of food too delicious to pass up. Some fabulous allioli ("Mmm...you could take a bath in this stuff!", one of our friends likes to say) and a large chorizo sausage are now lurking in my kitchen, tempting me to have just a taste.

And what's with the Froot Loops? Well, I don't eat those all the time, but when they're around, I'll start munching on those seemingly harmless little rings and never stop. I think now would be a good time to get that under control.

Wish me luck.

I'll need it.


not my breakfast any more

can the week get any crappier?

My thoughts have been with the victims of hurricane Katrina all week. I can't watch the news without sobbing.

Closer to home and another reason to sob - remember that little kitty that came in for a visit the other day? I think she's dead. The day before yesterday I was out with the kids and we saw a small dead cat lying on the side of the road. It had obviously been run over by a car, most likely during the night. I couldn't even bear to go over and take a look, and by the time we came back, someone had removed the remains. No kitty visits since then. We have no idea who she belonged to and I feel so bad.

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