Monday, January 30, 2006

guess what I'm making for lunch?

Reservations!! Woohoo! The boys and Mr. M are off today so we're on our way to Dullsville's gourmet temple - the Chinese buffet. Yum! You'd be excited too if you saw the other restaurants around here.

After lunch Boy12 and I are going downtown to get him some new pants (trousers) because he's developed this nasty habit of growing a couple of inches every few months. Boy9 is hot on his heels so we're now placing bets on how long it will be until I'm the shortest person in the family.

And thank you all so much for your great comments on my German school system post. We (Mr. M, Boy9 and I) are scheduled for a conference with Boy9's teacher on Wednesday afternoon. We'll see if anything comes of that.

Friday, January 27, 2006

*sigh*

The boys brought home their first term report cards today and the news is not all that good. Boy12's marks are passable, he'll have to apply himself a bit more in Math and French, but I know he's got it in him. Boy9's report, however, was quite depressing. I don't know what I had been expecting, but it wasn't that. So today I'm p*ssed off at three things: at Boy9 for being lazy and sloppy in his schoolwork (even though his is incredibly cute and smart and wonderful), at myself for not being on the ball and catching this sooner, and at the German school system for basically sealing a child's academic fate when he or she is not even 10 years old.

You wouldn't think that mediocre marks in the 4th grade would make that much of a difference, but in Germany they do. Especially now that the school system in Lower Saxony has gone though some changes. It used to be that after elementary school, which encompasses classes one through four, the children would go on to a two year "orientation level", a kind of transition between elementary and high school. At the end of this time, they would get a 'recommendation' from the school as to which one of three form of secondary school they should attend.

The Hauptschule is the least academic school form and is for students with poor marks who will later go on to do part-time vocational training or an apprenticeship. The Realschule is designed for average to good students who may later do an apprenticeship in a bank or office setting. The highest form is the Gymnasium. Upon successful completion of the final exams, a student receives his diploma, the Abitur, which allows him to attend university. But many other jobs also require the Abitur these days and it's a very desireable goal.

So...a couple of years ago the orientation level in our state was dissolved, and children are now starting secondary school in the 5th grade instead of the 7th. That means that they are already being separated into three groups at such an early age. This appalls me. I think it is far too early. How can you judge the academic performance of a child who has only had four years of schooling? Ridiculous if you ask me.

Anyway, today Boy9 got his preliminary Empfehlung - the recommendation, and it was for the Realschule. We're not pleased with that for two reasons: 1) We KNOW he can do better and just needs a chance to prove himself, 2) We would prefer that he attend the same Gymnasium as Boy12. It's a challenging school, but a good one and we think Boy9 would thrive there. He's a smart boy who just needs a push now and then. He's also just a little 9-year-old who needs more time to be a kid before the academic pressure starts.

In Lower Saxony the final decision lies with the parents, thank goodness, so we do still have the chance of sending him to the school of our choice if his marks improve between now and June. I think the German system is archaic (check out the most recent PISA study if you want to see how poorly Germany placed in world-wide school comparisons) and unfair to those students who may be late bloomers.

So there. (please visualize me sticking out my tongue)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

whine whine whine

The First Annual Whiney Expat Bloggers in Germany Meet Up in October 2005 was such a resounding success (even if only 6 people actually made it!) that we've decided to do it again, especially since so many more fabulous expat bloggers have been coming out of the woodwork lately. Suggestions for time of year and location can be put in for consideration at J's blog . Any whiney expats, anywhere in the general vicinity (this includes Indiana, Angie!) are welcome to brave the horrors of the Deutsche Bahn and come along, of course. The more the merrier!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

a big hunk of pork makes it all better

Mr. M must have known he was going to have a bad today today, because yesterday he came home with two giant Schweinshaxen - pork hocks, and asked me if I'd make them for tonight's dinner. Not one to deny a German his daily slab o' meat, I went to work this afternoon lovingly massaging these unsightly blobs (have you ever seen a raw pork hock? Not pretty) with herbs and spices and tenderly basting them with beer as they roasted. Sauerkraut and mashed potatoes were procured to go alongside.

After a couple of hours they turned out something like this, and good thing too, because Mr. M was very cranky when he got home. He's been trying with little success to fix the rear window defrost thing on his car and has stayed longer at work a couple of times to do it. It used to be that "his people" in the repair shop were allowed to take care of stuff like this, but those days are gone and it's now strictly verboten so Mr. M has to do it himself. Usually things like this don't phase him at all - the guy can fix anything -but this seems to be a sticky problem and it made him really mad.

Enter the pork hock. Amazing what a good meal can do for a guy. He seems to have forgotten all about his car troubles and is now lounging on the sofa smiling quietly to himself.

A happy husband is worth his weight in gold, I always say.

I wish I didn't have to go out

Last time I checked it was about -6C outside. Just a drop in the bucket compared to the temperatures in other parts of Germany or in places like Russia but cold enough for me. Four people have frozen to death so far in Germany and many, many more further east. Can you imagine?

I'd rather stay inside but today is my last after school ('after school' in Germany being 12:45 p.m. - go figure) English class with this particular group of fourth graders at the school library. It's the end of the first school term so the kids get their report cards this Friday and then don't have to be back at school until next Wednesday. I guess they figure they need four days off to recover from the shock.

I enjoyed this group, but there are always one or two kids who will just not stop talking and poking at each other no matter what I do. I've told them many times that all of us are there on a voluntary basis and that they're free to leave the group if they so choose. They stay anyway. I guess they enjoy being yelled at. Ha ha. We'll see how fast I can whip the next group of kids into shape.

Today we're making little "All about Me" booklets where they have to write one sentence about themselves on each page and draw a picture to go with it. I've done this before and it was a big hit. I mean, how many people don't enjoy talking about themselves?

Maybe we'll have a bunch of future bloggers on our hands!

Monday, January 23, 2006

so you wanna be a gangsta...

The end of Karneval time is drawing near. Well, not that near, but if you're a kid, it can't come soon enough because that's the day you get to dress up and party. Rosenmontag (literally 'raving Monday' - nothing at all to do with roses) is the Monday before Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, the official start of Lent. There are parties all over the place and the children go to school in costume.

Rosenmontag falls on February 27 this year, and although northern Germany supposedly isn't that big on Karneval, the stores are already full of all kinds of fancy outfits and accessories. You name it, they have it - clowns, policemen, knights in shining armour, princesses, escaped convicts, devils, angels - the choice is yours.

About a week and a half ago, Boy9 was leafing through one of the glossy department store Karneval flyers we've been getting lately and fell in love. With a gangster costume. Really. He cut out the picture. He slept with it under his pillow. He scanned it and put his head in in place of the kid in the picture. He had to have that gangster costume. It was all he talked about.

Now I'm not usually one for buying stuff when I can make it myself, especially stuff like costumes that most likely will only be worn once, so I told him we'd go downtown, have a look and then decide. So we did, and he was in heaven. My sewing skills are quite decent, but I decided there was no way I could make something like that for the money it cost ready-made, and besides, the last time I sewed a pinstripe suit for someone was...well...never, so I just went ahead and bought the thing and made him promise not to grow any more so he could wear it again next year.

Boy9: Oh Mummy! This is the best day of my life! *sigh*
Me: Oh, really?
Boy9: Well, OK, I guess the real best day of my life would be if I won a Lamborghini Diabolo, but I'll just say it's the best day of my life up until now. I always dreamed of being a gangster.
Me: But you know that gangsters are bad guys, right?
Boy9: I know that, but it's only dressing up, and anyway, I'll be a good gangster! I won't even shoot anyone!

How can you argue with that logic? Check it out.



(to be modelled by Himself at a later date)

Because he's such a slender, wiry little guy, the suit fits him like a dream and the 'Al Capone' hat just makes it. He had to try it on again as soon as he got home.

Me: Papa will tie your necktie for you and here, your shirt looks much better when it's tucked into the pants.
Boy9: Noooo, Mummy! Don't do that! Don't help me!
Me: Aww, you won't even let your poor mama help you a bit?
Boy9: Gangsters don't have mamas!

(But gangsters, or at least the one that sleeps in Boy9's bed, DO insist on having a little cuddle on the sofa every morning for 20 minutes before they go off to school!)

Boy12 has also decided on a costume, but his is being kept under wraps for now.

And speaking of stylin' young men, do go take a look at what Sal, Spain's most fashionable expat, has been up to lately. Did you know that thanks to his faithful readers his blog was recently declared a guaranteed Tipper Gore-free zone? It's true!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

bloggers unplugged!

Well, I tore myself away from the keyboard this morning and hopped the bus downtown to meet Ginnie. Wow, no wonder she calls her blog In Soul. What a soulful lady!

We met at the train station, as planned, and made our way over to one of Hannover's oldest cafés - the Holländische Kakaostube - literally The Dutch Cocoa Parlour. Funny name for a café, but they are apparently famous for their many varieties of cocoa drinks. No cocoa for us, however. Since we were both quite hungry we decided to go all continental and chose the Italienisches Frühstück - the Italian Breakfast - beautiful dark rolls, herbed cream cheese and prosciutto ham with a delicious latte macchiato to wash it all down with.

While we were eating we talked. And then we laughed. And then we talked some more. I am a shy person. I can't talk to just anybody. But it was easy to talk to Ginnie. You know the kind of people who make you feel really good about yourself? Ginnie belongs to that select group. And what interesting times she's had! I'll let you ask her about that yourself if you care to. The twists and turns each of us take on this journey we call life just amaze me sometimes.

At some point we actually stopped talking for a second and asked the waitress to take our picture.



Are we cute or what?


Two and half hours flew by in what seemed like the blink of an eye and it was time for me to catch my bus back home. I said goodbye to my new real life friend with a big smile on my face.

The treat's on me next time, Ginnie!



all talked out


But wait, there's more...

Coincidentally, yesterday's Daily Om article was all about "soul seeing" and I've included an excerpt here. I think you can apply this to almost anyone you meet, not just a partner as they mention here.

When we want to see deeply into the heart and mind of another person, soul seeing, also called soul gazing, allows us to see their soul. The soul is the purest expression of an individual and is not bound by physical forms or fleeting emotions. Through a simple art that involves looking deeply into a partner's eyes, soul seeing can show you a person's inner beauty that you might otherwise miss. It is possible for someone who appears cold to have a warm, giving, nurturing soul or someone of average appearance to have a beautiful soul. Soul seeing is a way of looking past shapes, sizes, attitudes, and behavior to see the real individual that lies beneath the surface. It allows you to see the true essence of another person, the radiance of their being, and their spirit within...

...So little of who each of us is can be captured by our appearance or personality. The thoughts, fears, desires, and longings that are part of what makes us whole are not always written across our faces. Often, the most surprising thing you may learn while soul seeing is that while you and the other person may appear on the surface to be quite different, you actually share many of the same inner qualities. And then there is the unique beauty that resides within that is longing to be revealed to another who is willing to see. Soul seeing can help you experience the people in your life as they truly are, beyond any mental barriers or physical limitations.



I like that.

small world

I don't have time to do a real post right now because I'm headed downtown to meet my wonderful new bloggy friend and part-time expat Ginnie who is in town for a few weeks. Wheee!

But I'll leave you with one of those incredibly accurate quizzes.


You Are a Jelly Donut

So you're a little rounder than most folks - but it's only in the right places!
You maintain a clean exterior, even if you're all messy on the inside.
You think you're the best, and that's mostly true...
But remember, you're just an empty shell without your jelly!





Oh yeah, that's me all right. Round? Check! Clean exterior but a mess inside? You betcha! The best? Well, the best in something all right, just haven't figured out what that something is yet (maybe collecting fridge comments?). And of course the jelly is the only thing that's holding me together!


I will return later properly caffeinated and socialized to tell you all about my day...

Monday, January 16, 2006

Q: what did the mayonnaise say to the refrigerator?

A: Close the door, I'm dressing!

I spent most of the afternoon yesterday cleaning out my fridge. High time too. I'm terrible when it comes to keeping my frige clean. I mean, everything is in little plastic containers, but there's not telling how long they've been in there. Did you know that mold comes in many fascinating textures and colour combinations?

Anyway, it wasn't that bad, but we've also been having a problem with this fridge - it's supposed to be self-defrosting, but the back wall keeps freezing up and after I got rid of any offending foodstuffs, it took me about an hour to hack off the iceberg that had formed back there. Definitely not a good thing. I have a feeling there's something wrong with the temperature sensor. I also have a feeling that this fridge is on its way to the great refrigerator graveyard in the sky some time very soon. It's at least 12 years old now, and is actually too small for us. German fridges do tend to be smaller and that's why people go shopping more often. But...they are making newer models now with much more space. The only problem is where to put one. Mr. M thinks we should get an American-style side-by-side ("Yeah!" says Boy12, "One with a TV and ice cubes!" and I said it was OK with me but that we'd have to build on an extra room just to accomodate it. We're looking into getting a new kitchen anyway, one of these years, so this may be my chance to finally get a decent area to cook in. Our present kitchen - well, the cabinets anyway - were already 7 years old when we ripped them out of our old apartment and stuck them in this house when we moved here in 1995 so you can imagine how attractive everything looks now. Bleh.

Our fridge looks something like this - fridge on the top and 4-drawer freezer down below.


Meh.

What we'd love to have is something like this with plenty of room.


Woohoo!

I know it's silly to get all fussed up over a fridge, but it's all I have, you know?

Here's my real fridge, and this is the 'after' picture.


Positively claustrophobic, huh?

Side-by-side, here we come!

Friday, January 13, 2006

cold hands, warm heart

Brilliant sunshine outside today, although it's still quite cold, 1°C to be exact, 33.8°F for the metrically challenged. Cold enough to be able to see your breath and make you actually consider wearing that funny hat your mother sent you last year for Christmas.

These past few days we've been hovering around -3°C to -5°C during the day and that didn't suit me at all. I've since discovered why, but that will come later in this post. When I get cold, I get really, really cold. My internal thermostat broke long ago and I'm often freezing when others are perfectly comfortable. To make it even more fun, when others are putting on sweaters and heavy socks, you'll often find me wiping my brow and complaining about the heat. It's just the way I am.

Last weekend our lovely duplex neighbours invited us over to finish up the rest of the Glühwein. Because after Christmas is before Christmas, right? I was still getting over my marathon cold, so instead of drinking Glühwein, I brought my own wimpy hot lemon drink with me, figuring that cheap red wine with a shot of rum probably wouldn't do much for my immune system.

Thinking back, maybe I should have drunk that Glühwein after all, because after an hour of standing outside on the freezing cold patio, I was chilled to the bone. I couldn't warm up even after we came home and the feeling lasted all week. It was like I had a block of ice inside me that was slowly melting into my veins. Weird. And cold.

Anyway, I've mentioned before that I have this autoimmune thyroid problem with some annoying side effects, one of them being temperature intolerance. I've been feeling pretty lousy for some time now and went for a blood test about a week and a half ago to check my thyroid levels. When I went to check on the results, the nice lady behind the counter told me that everything was 'perfectly normal' and that I didn't need to see the GP again. Being the suspicious type, I asked her for a printout of my lab results and lo and behold, they are anything but normal. So that's why I've been freezing and sniffling and needing to sleep 12 hours a day. It might also explain those 20 extra pounds that snuck up on me out of nowhere this past year. I just love it when patients can interpret test results better than doctors can.

I've now made an appointment with my doctor of nuclear medicine to discuss my options with her. This time it's only a 3 week wait instead of the usual 7, which is nice. I'm hoping she'll let me up my dosage to a level that feels comfortable to me, because this is not it and I'm soooo tired of being tired. I don't know how this is going to go over with her because she's the one who reduced my dosage in the first place and took me off a controversial type of thyroid hormone replacement when she thought it was having an adverse effect on my heart. I'll have to do some research and bring her a few well-chosen documents and see what she says.

But how to keep warm in the meantime? Flannel sheets and pyjamas, a heated water bed and a hot water bottle (AND my husband, of course) are helping at night. But what about during the day? It's mostly my feet that feel like blocks of ice, and luckily Mr. M gave me this cosy pair of wooly green slippers for Christmas.




I've been wearing them, but it's just not enough and I've had to resort to more drastic measures.



Ahhh! That's better!


(And yes, my feet really are that stubby. Go ahead and laugh.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

say something. anything.

(ACHTUNG! I'M KEEPING THIS AT THE TOP FOR A FEW DAYS. MORE RECENT POSTS ARE UNDERNEATH.)


If you surf the net as much as I do, you'll know that it's National De-Lurking Week (well, international in this case.) A whole week instead of just a day like last year.

So if you're a lurker, leave a commment. If you're not a lurker, leave a comment anyway. Please? I know you're out there. You can't hide forever. I can see you. I know how often you visit. I know where you live. I know your mother's maiden name.

why I like my blog

  • When I come back to look for it, it's always right where I left it
  • It has no missing or broken pieces
  • There are no crumbs, sticky fingerprints or muddy footprints on it
  • I don't have to feed, dust or water it
  • It doesn't talk back
  • It doesn't smell like unwashed little boys
  • No one spills apple juice on it and forgets to tell me for two days
  • It is not draped with sweaty socks
  • It does not go off and pout after hearing the phrase , "Not tonight, dear, I have a headache!"

But most importantly I like my blog because of all the wonderful blogger friends I've made through it!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

dirty laundry

So yesterday evening the kids are in bed, I'm sitting in front of the computer perfecting my mad HTML skillz and Mr. M is safely ensconced in the living room inhaling yet another episode of either American Chopper or Top 10 Tanks/Helicopters/Fighter Jets on Discovery Channel. At least I thought he'd be watching TV for a while, until he suddenly appeared at my elbow and said, "Hey, Mausi, can you google 'stuck in the mud'?"

(He said this in English although we almost always speak German to each other)

Me: 'Stuck in the mud'? Are you sure? Don't you mean 'stick in the mud'?
Mr: No, 'stuck in the mud'. I want to see some pictures.
Me: Pictures of people stuck in the mud? Umm, OK, here you go...look! There's a guy and his tractor!
Mr: Hmm, nope, that's not what I'm looking for. I want pictures of girls stuck in the mud.
Me: GIRLS?? Pictures of girls stuck in the mud? That's called mud wrestling. Let's see...m-u-d...
Mr: No, no, not mud wrestling! Just girls stuck in the mud with their cars.
Me: Whatever you say, dear. See? There aren't any pictures.
Mr: Darn. Try videos then.
Me: Videos? People make videos of girls stuck in the mud??
Mr: Yup. I read about it last week.
Me: OK, I'm checking. I can't believe it, but here it is.
Mr: Cool! Oooh, can you download that one with all the steam coming out?
Me: I certainly will not!

Monday, January 09, 2006

January 9th is the start of MY new year

Our much-loved but very noisy children started school again today so I've been dithering around all morning not knowing quite what to do with myself. Oh, I have plenty to do, I just don't feel like doing it.

But how about those new year's resolutions, eh? I tend to make resolutions every day rather than saving them up for the end of the year. But I do think January is a good time to start afresh and take stock of what's OK and what needs to be modified or improved.

If you haven't made any resolutions and still want to but can't come up with anything, you can always use the Random Resolution Generator that I found through Lynn's blog (go and check out the beautiful photos on her photo blog!) and had to try it. I just kept clicking until I found the ones I liked best.

In the year 2006 I resolve to:

1. fill my house with chocolate pudding.
2. get a(nother) invisible friend
3. poke a badger with a spoon
4. blame Canada
5. dare to stick my tongue on that icy pole (as opposed to that icy Pole? Ed.)
6. generate more bad karma
7. sleep my way to the top
8. take over the world
9. point and laugh more
10.stop checking my e mail at 3 in the morning style
(Get your resolutions here )

Well, those are just for fun, my real resolutions are much more mundane and boring:

1. Plan and shop for meals more than two hours ahead
2. Be nicer to my husband
3. Exercise, dammit
4. Meditate every day
5. Make some new real-life friends
6. Read, read, read

Hmm, let's see how it's going so far. Well, I could still stand to lose 15 pounds or so and I have no idea what we're having for dinner, but I'm doing really well on the reading part. My mother sent me The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood, one of my favourite Canadian authors, for Christmas and I'm enjoying it very much. It's Ms. Atwood's take on the the Odysseus myth from the point of view of Odysseus' wife Penelope. If you like myths, you'll love this one

In anticipation of the movie Brokeback Mountain which is already out in the U.S. and will open in theatres in Germany in March, I also just bought two collections of short stories by Annie Proulx, whose writing I have always enjoyed. Both Close Range and Bad Dirt centre around life in Wyoming, the first book containing the Brokeback Mountain story. I'll be interested to see what kind of a reception the film gets in Germany.

Must go now - laundry is calling...

But before I run off , a couple of pictures from this morning when the sun was just coming up. Everything was covered with frost and the effect was so monochromatic that I almost thought I was looking at the whole neighbourhood in black and white.





Sunday, January 08, 2006

expat blogger in distress

No, not me.

Nate at Chillmost has been having a very rough time the past week. Please go over and give him a virtual pat on the shoulder.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

garçon!

Our dinner tonight





The big red crustacean (that had been lurking in our freezer for at least a year and just had to go) was supposedly Canadian.





But how did they know for sure?

Do you think they checked his passport?

Friday, January 06, 2006

you try to raise them to be upstanding citizens and what happens?

On Thursday afternoons Mr. M leaves work early and goes swimming with the boys. They love going with him but although they usually get along fairly well, there are times when things get a bit out of control and Mr. M comes back pretty frazzled. Yesterday was interesting.

Mr: Boy9 practiced creative anger management today.

Me: (Turning to Boy9) Oh, really? Tell me all about it.

Boy9: Well, when we were getting changed after swimming, Boy12 made me really, really mad. But I didn't hit him.

Me: That's good. You know I don't like it when you hit each other all the time. What did you do instead?

Boy9: I rubbed my underpants in his face!


Eew.


(I'm off to bed at a reasonable hour this evening to get into practice for back-to-school on Monday morning. Bleh.)

across the pond and beyond

Although my tiny life has been humming along at the same pace for some time now with only the occasional sputter, there are big changes afoot in the world of expat bloggers in Germany and elsewhere.

Richard arrived in Germany from New York shortly before Christmas; James just last weekend from San Francisco. Michelle is either on her way to or may already be here in Europe as I write this. And it's only 56 days until Mama Jens and her family leave German soil and returns to the US.

J, who has lived in Germany for some time now, hopes to make the move to Bonn in a few months, and Jen, way over on the other side of the world, is hoping to become a permanent resident of Canada before the year is out.

All this change and movement makes me wonder what it would have been like to have had a support system of fellow expats when I moved here 15 years ago. Would it have made me a different person? I don't know. I also wonder what's in store for us as a family in the next few years. Will we ever be able to realize our dream of moving or is this all there is?

Just some things I'm pondering today.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

no, I didn't run off with the butcher

Not yet, anyway. I've just been enjoying the last week of the kids' Christmas holidays in my own way - going to bed much too late and sleeping until noon. Not very conducive to getting things done. Thank goodness the boys, who also love sleeping in, are able to fend for themselves. My 'breakfast' today consisted of my thyroid pill, something for my sinuses and two gingerbread men washed down with a glass of Diet Pepsi. There's healthy livin' for ya!

On Tuesday I took the boys to see the latest Harry Potter movie and lo and behold, even though it was two and a half hours long, I, very old person, didn't fall asleep even once. The boys loved it and I quite enjoyed it, really, although it wasn't very true to the book. What I found most interesting were the costumes and the way the teenage actors have grown and matured since the last movie.

We're all still sniffling a little bit. Whatever this virus was, it was a sticky one. When I went to the pharmacy last week I asked the pharmacist for a cough supressant to help me make it through the night. The little bottle of Robitussin I had brought back from our holidays last time was long gone and I needed something new so I took her advice. Big mistake. The stuff, to be doled out 40 drops at a time, was completely useless. And the taste. Ugh. How can I describe it? The bitter, bitter tears of a thousand scorned lovers comes to mind - lingering and almost unbearable.

So to give my long-suffering husband a bit of a rest from the middle of the night coughing attacks, I retired to the guest room for about a week and have only just been welcomed back into the marital bed. Mr. M, who is rarely ill himself, has to put up with so much from me, and not just in the cough and cold department. As my father once said to me "Pity the poor patate that gets you." Gee, thanks, Dad!

Mid-week when the coughing was at its worst, I considered going back to the pharmacy and buying something different to try to calm the storm. But in Germany you can't just walk into a pharmacy, grab your drug of choice, pay for it and slink away. No, you have to ask for it by name because everything even remotely medicinal is behind the counter. So I decided to look online for German cough medicines (like my Robitussin) containing dextromethorphan which usually works for me although it makes me feel a bit loopy. Things I learned:

- Vick's Formula 44 is called Wick's Formula 44 in Germany because if you left the V there and let Germans pronounce it, it would be pretty close to a nasty German word

- dextromethorphan is an opiate in the same category as codeine and morphine. No wonder it works

- there are online drug message boards where people are slugging down 3 or 4 bottles of dextromethorphan cough syrup at one time, followed by a litre of grapefruit juice (a known drug enhancer) and then reporting what kind of 'trip' they had. I lead such a sheltered life

Tomorrow is January 6 - Three Kings Day or Epiphany which is a gift-giving day in many European countries. Not in our house. January 6 is our signal to take down the Christmas decorations. I'm actually looking forward to this. Enough with the red and the green and the shiny. The days are getting longer now, which pleases me no end, although the weather has been its usual grey, wet, windy self. This time of year is definitely not my favourite, but spring is just around the corner and soon the snowdrops and forsythia will be blooming...

where have you been? do you know what time it is?

That's probably what my blog would say if it were my mother. Luckily, my blog is not the boss of me - I can write whenever and whatever I want. And I'll be doing that, just as soon as I tend to some of the rather urgent domestic duties that are apparently part of my job description. Real life gets on my nerves sometimes, you know?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

(It's 3 a.m. and I can't sleep. May as well stay up all night.)


A few fireworks photos I thought turned out pretty well









And now on to

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