Wednesday, April 30, 2008

a work in progress

Ha! I bet you all thought I had skipped town. Would have been nice, but, alas, that was not the case. I've been here all the time. Just had other stuff to do. You know how it is. Wow, I can hardly believe it - as of tomorrow we'll have been living in this house for 13 whole years. Tomorrow is also a public holiday (Labour Day, Ascension Day and Father's Day all rolled into one neat package this year) so we'll be relaxing out on the terrace if the weather is fine.

Mr. M. finished off said terrace back in March and somehow ended up with a big pile of dirt that needed to be moved somewhere. And because he just can't leave well enough alone, and also because even after 13 years, this place STILL isn't finished, he announced that he was going to think about a new solution for the rain barrels and maybe build a few steps on that slippery slope leading down the barbeque. Little did I know that it would take 500 kg (no joke) of cement and an awful lot of elbow grease on his part to complete this task. But he loves stuff like this, in fact he says he often dreams about moving to Oregon and making a living as a handyman. Hmm, yeah, I'd be in to that. Just need to rustle up a couple of green cards.

Anyway, here's how it looked starting out.

As I mentioned, where the stairs are now there used to be a dusty, steep path leading down to the dark and dismal place where we keep the barbeque and other assorted gardening junk. You really needed to watch your step to keep from slipping but somehow we never did anything about it. Until now.

Here you can see a pile of the flat stones he used to create the steps.

Halfway done...

Finally! A decent place to park the barbeque.

Almost finished...

If you squint you can see the lids of the rain barrels in the back of the photo. We have four in this location and two more at the front of the house and since we do get a lot of rain here, we mostly use that to water the garden. The barrels used to be above ground, so to speak, and were pretty much in the way and not all that attractive, so Mr. M moved them and made them their own little wall to hide behind.

Ta daa!

Well, OK, not quite ta daa. The grass still needs to fill in at the bottom of the last step and it's my job to plant all those flowers in pretty pots and create a pleasing arrangement. We decided to extend the stairs around that curve because nothing grew under the big tree anyway and this way we can have a lot more colour and variety. It's not officially planting time yet in Germany, there's still danger of frost, but what the hey, eh? Nothing like living dangerously.

So what have YOU been up to?

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Friday, April 18, 2008

you just can't shut her up

Whoah, I started blogging 3 years ago today. Where does the time go? Will I still be here in 5 years? Will anyone care?

Thanks for reading even when I have nothing to say!


Friday, April 11, 2008

meme, my shelf and I

Cathy, mum of three (that's a little in joke, read her blog to get the scoop), tagged me for this What's on Your Shelf Meme

We have bookshelves all over the house, most of them very dusty and randomly stuffed with books of all different kinds. No rhyme or reason to it whatsoever. One of the bookshelves in our bedroom, the one on my side, also falls into that category except that I also use it as my kitsch/nostalgia corner.

Cheesy, what?

Let's take a closer look, shall we?

At the top we have a grouping of ancient, scruffy stuffed animals that I can't bear to part with. Susie the blue lamb I received when I was born. Flossie the rainbow trout came a bit later with her friend Kimba the pink elephant (hiding in the back). I bought Piglet (of Winnie the Pooh fame) at a school fair when I was 11 and both my kids have loved him almost to death. He's absolutely filthy now (you would be too if you hadn't bathed in over three decades!) but I'm afraid he'll fall apart if I wash him. The lion was a gift from a dear and very special friend of mine at university who knew just the right thing to do when I was feeling down, and Mr. M gave me the little seal, his name is Fridolin, as a welcome gift when I moved to Germany.

Below that we have a (most certainly fossilized by now) gingerbread heart with the inscription "Du bist so süß" - "you are so sweet". Apparently my husband kind of likes me in between fights. Heh.

And there's this

Pepe the chihuahua has been keeping me company since I was about 8 or 9 when I went on a special trip to Vancouver Island with my parents without my two younger brothers in tow. I begged and pleaded for that little dog until my dad finally gave in. Being the only daughter in the family has its advantages.

The postcards of Vancouver and surrounding area are my view when I wake up in the morning in this place of little scenery. It's always nice to pretend.

I know, I know. Now that you've seen my shelf I may as well start uploading blinky banners and pictures of adorable kittens to my blog. But it's only that one shelf. Really. The rest of me is all business.

So that's the kitsch, but what about all those books? You know, I'm not even sure any more what's there since I haven't looked at most of them in a long time. Seems to be a weird mixture of self-help and non-fiction. Let me take a look and give you a selection

Psychic Development for Beginners

Darwin's Dangerous Idea

Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui

Living Well with Hypothyroidism

Eat, Pray, Love

The Lovely Bones

Why Marriages Succeed or Fail

The Celestine Prophecy

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

How Not to Be a Messie: The Ultimate Guide for the Neatness Challenged

The Darling Buds of May

Hemingway's Chair

Confessions of an Organized Housewife

Ahem. Yes. You get the idea.

Wan't that fun? If you want to do this meme, go right ahead, I'm not tagging anyone.

Oh, and while we're here, I'll get another one out of the way. The Six Word Memoir Meme comes to me via Lesley. Here's the deal:

1. Write a six word memoir and post it on your blog.
2. Add a picture if you wish.
3. Link to the person who tagged you.
4. Tag 4 or 5 others, with links, to keep it going.
5. Leave a comment for the ones you tag with an invitation to play.
6. And link to the original post about the Six Word Memoir meme.

All righty...

Turned left. Should have turned right.

There you have it. Again, I'm not going to tag so do this one at your peril.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

you won't even know he's there

We've had a guest staying with us over the past few weeks and it's been a real pleasure. But now, through no fault of his own, he has overstayed his welcome and it's time to go.

This is Flat Stanley, visiting all the way from the U.S.A.

Isn't he cute? Some of you may be familiar with the Flat Stanley projects, this particular one being carried about by a second grade class in Ohio. The deal is that Stanley travels all around the world, sending in reports of his adventures from time to time before he heads back to his place of origin. We had another visit from a guy called Flat Steve a couple of years ago and he seemed to enjoy his stay.

So we took some pictures and showed Stanley a good time. Well, as good as it gets in Dullsville.

But now he really needs to get a move on, and we're looking for someone to pass him on to. I know he's been to Spain and now Germany, so a different European country might be nice. It doesn't really matter, though. If you're willing to take him, I'll send him anywhere you happen to be. Just drop me an e mail (address on my side bar or in my profile) with your postal address and off he goes.

How could you say no to a face like this?


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