Saturday, November 20, 2004

The Ghost of Mr. Whipple

My husband seems to be...well, obsessed with toilet paper. Here are a few instances of his new preoccupation:

D.D. had wanted to try this fizzy drink mix, a bit like Kool-Aid, so we were sampling the different flavors. The green wasn't lime like we expected; it was the mystery flavor "Waldmeister." We were a little leery of drinking something called "woods-master" (woodsman flavored?), but it turned out to have a light, flowery taste. * L.H. commented, "Reminds me of the smell of toilet paper." It was oddly true.

* It tastes flowery because it's a flower that grows in the woods. We've since seen the flavor in ice cream.

Then another time he called our fluffy Eliza-cat "Soft n Pretty." He had to explain that it is (was?) a brand of t.p.

And today he brought home an 8-pack of winter-scented Charmin. He's been looking for it since last winter; that's how big an impression it made on him. Normally he hates buying t.p. because he has to drag the groceries home on the bus, and he doesn't want anyone to know that he (whisper) uses the toilet.

I'm starting to suspect some kind of soul-selling deal with Procter and Gamble, or perhaps illicit drugs in the winter scent. Hmm....


D.D. School Update:

Just wanted to brag on our little brainiac. Despite being the only non-native speaker in the class, she made 0 errors on her dictation test and only 1 on her math test last week (57 out of 58 points; she forgot to do the second half of one question). The kids practice writing the dictation over several days before the test, but D.D has never managed to get all her letters properly placed on the line before, despite all the practice, so this was a really big achievement for her. The words and spelling and punctuation haven't been a problem this year, so we're glad that her cursive penmanship is improving.

The Sick Lady Blues

I don't know why I bothered to get out of bed this morning. Actually, I do know—because darling daughter played her crappy McDonald's mini-jambox repeatedly to force me out of bed. Stupid Happy Meal.

I feel a cold coming on—sore throat, squidgy stomach, stuffy head—plus the nosebleed is back (both nostrils now!), and I have my period. L.H. says I should rename this blog "The Menstrual Annals." I told him to stuff it up his ass. Well, I didn't, but I normally would. This time I took his suggestion and one-upped him: "Aunt Flo's Diary." It has a certain ring to it, no?

L.H. and D.D. are off at the movies, so I'm composing this, translating a student paper, and trying to organize the suffocating amount of school-related papers and books that keep turning up. I have 70% of the horizontal surfaces in the dining room covered, so it's time to do something with them before they spontaneously combust under the pressure of their own weight.

Germany is Way Cool

After more than a year here, I feel a bit like a local. Maybe not as much as my darling daughter, who is picking up our village's dialect (yes, every little village has its own dialect) from her classmates, to the delight of her linguist father, but I feel comfortable here. We've all gotten to the point where we no longer note our environment, except on rare occasions when we can see things the way we did when we first moved here.

Then we are reminded: we live in a kick-ass place.

There is a ruined castle within walking distance of my classes. I can look up and see it hulking over the town as I walk between classes. I have to cross a bridge that has been there in various incarnations since the 1200s. And there's a *witch tower* in one corner of a courtyard at the university. There is no witch-history in Texas, unless you count those Wiccans, but as far as I know, no one has ever tried to burn them or lock them up in a specially dedicated tower.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Organization, My Waterloo

I have never seen a little clutter as a big deal. Of course, I've come a long way since my teen years when my grandmother threatened to have my room condemned on the odd occasions when she was at our house, but still, I have a deep-seated need to make piles. Sometimes L.H. and I joke about putting documents on the compost pile, a la Dilbert. But I can put my hands on whatever we're looking for, so the pile system isn't a complete disaster.

Normally I make my piles, then every week or 2 or 5 I sort and put away everything. Turns out that maybe I should be doing that on a daily basis for my class notes pile. I really try to keep everything sorted, but there's just so much. I seem to have misplaced my Latin notes from Monday, and it's making me a tad nuts.

[Mystery solved in the evening: the Latin notes and books were taken out of my bag, but only the books made it back in. Whew!]


Note scrawled on today's Latin notes:
Dull red pencil...straining—must not...stab. I need it to correct my homework.

Two chatty girls behind me, and me and 60 other people TRYING TO HEAR!

That time of this and that

It's that time of year when we bundle up and hunker down at home as much as possible. Lovely husband gets stir crazy after a while and tries to drag darling daughter out, but unless there's snow on the ground to play in, it's a hard sell. For me, snow is Nature's way of saying, "Stay inside where it's warm and dry, stupid," so I must obey.

Soon it'll be a little tougher to stay in my cocoon because the xmas market is being set up in town even as I type this. It's like a magical village of tiny, wooden, unheated huts selling all kinds of delicious foods and candies and interesting knick-knacks. And it's right on the university plaza under the window of my Latin class, so that'll be good when the carousel gets going.


I have a bit of a schizophrenic attitude about school. On the one hand, I have this horrible egotism that I've carried around since Kindergarten. That's what happens when you're told you're "bright" your whole life, I'm afraid. So I go into class automatically assuming I'll be able to understand everything, even though I'm so far behind in my reading. I think the 2 are related.

But on the other hand, if I do get something right (like actually knowing a few etymologically related pairs of words in English and German), I feel like I've just proved the unified field theory. Deep in my black little egotistical heart I know that I'm not making enough effort; in addition, I can feel the age- and childbirth-related hardening of the brain setting in, so it's somewhat shocking to see that new info has stuck in there, info that I'm actually able to retrieve.


Son of a bitch! I started my period 3 days early. Then when I got home, I got a nosebleed. I had had a pretty good day up until that point, outside of being tired from a bad night's sleep that included a dream about being on the Death Star (from Star Wars, for the less geek-ily inclined), but never doubt that Mother Nature will run up and kick you in the crotch when you least expect it. She plays dirty that way.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

FIL update

After L.H. got home, he reminded me that he had joked he was me in the joint letter to FIL, which I still don't remember, but it's been a few weeks. Anyhow, we're now 75% certain his dad realized the change in author but chose to perpetuate the "joke" that I was the one who wrote the whole thing.


And I did call him and leave a message that I was passing the letter on to L.H.

From now on, L.H. doesn't get to add on to my letters. I totally support him calling his dad on his insanity, but he can do it on under his own byline. I prefer to be blissfully ignorant of his dad's religious vitriol, or at least of the full extent of it.

A Rant: FIL

I know I said I would leave my FIL out of this blog, but I really have to rant to someone before my head explodes. L.H. is still at work, and I don't want to say some of these things in front of my daughter.

FIL has lost his fucking mind. That's all there is to it.

I wrote him a nice, chatty, family letter in *script*, then L.H. added to it in his mass-murderer's scrawl. L.H. never misses a chance to bust his father on some of the more absurd, racist, bigoted things he puts in his letters to us, so you can imagine that the tone of his half was a bit different from that of mine.

I get a letter from FIL today--addressed only to me--in which he addresses some of the issues L.H. had put in his part of the letter. *IT WAS NOT ME!* Arguing with FIL about religion just makes me homicidal, so I avoid it, then I get personally attacked out of the blue.

He did start with the "cute" quip, "A word of advice--stick to script; your printing is miserable." Considering how nasty he was in the rest of the letter, still addressing *me*, I wonder if he actually realizes that his *own son* wrote it, not me. It wasn't some kind of conspiracy, Dad.

Jesus H. Christ! I can't even say how much this pisses me off. I try to be a nice DIL and let him know how we are all doing, then he is so out of it that he doesn't even recognize *his own son's handwriting*!

I'd better stop, or I'll probably have a stroke. That doesn't mean that I won't continue the rant with my L.H. when he gets home.

Fuck that. I'm calling and leaving a message on the FIL's answering machine. I will be calm, but I will let him know that it wasn't me, so I'll pass his letter on to the other "little liberal, athiest [sic], pinko intellectual" in this house.

[I fixed "bigoted", but any other typos will just have to stay since I can't make the spell-check work without pop-ups enabled.]

Monday, November 15, 2004

Our clever girl

Darling daughter was watching a movie, and there was a line about a "make-believe land." So she asks, "Canada?"

When lovely husband and I finally caught our breath from laughing, we were able to sort out that she had misheard the line as "Maple leaf land." She obviously knows her flags.