Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Put on Your Reading Depends

I'm afraid I'm becoming a blog addict. If I don't write something for a few days, I go completely overboard when I finally get around to it. (Why doesn't this happen with my fiction writing?) So be forewarned.

We've been pretty busy recently. Last Friday—the hottest day of the year in Germany—Darling Daughter's class had an outdoor party. Fortunately, there was covered seating and cold drinks, and it started to cool off as the sun went down, so we didn't die. There were only 2 injuries, neither to our child, so it was a success!

Then on Saturday we went to a midsummer celebration thrown by the German-Swedish club, of which we are members. There was a flower bedecked May-pole, a short program by the Swedish school kids (including D.D.), and various games. Plus dancing around the May-pole. One woman with a mic was giving detailed directions before each song. (Later someone pointed out that it would have helped the German half of the German-Swedish club if she had not given all the directions in Swedish.) Most of the kids and almost half of the adults got up to dance in rings. In addition to the able-bodied dancers, I spotted a few elderly folks, 3 or 4 pregnant ladies (one heavily so), a woman with an infant strapped to her front, and a girl with a soft brace on her ankle. Swedes take their midsummer seriously!

We expected it to be hot, but a storm had blown in the night before, and we got a few sprinkles throughout the day to keep things cooled down. Just in case, I packed a lot of heat-friendly foods for our picnic, including watermelon, cantaloupe, plums, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and condiment-free ham sandwiches. I'm surprised we didn't all get diarrhea after chowing down on all that water-filled good stuff.

Although the above-mentioned storm cooled things off for a day or so for us, it caused big problems in other parts of Germany, including flooding, property damage from hail and high winds, and some injuries. We had seen in the paper that there was flooding in Paris, so I guess we got lucky.

Speaking of Paris, I can now announce that my Lovely MIL and PawPaw (I thought people might get the wrong idea if I used S.D. (for StepDad)) are coming to see us in August, and we are going to take a group trip to Paris for a few days. Plane tickets have been purchased and hotel rooms reserved, so there's no backing out now, Gwamma, hahahahaha! D.D. is so excited that she declared a couple of weeks ago that if Gwamma ended up not coming, D.D. would throw away her pompoms and never dance again, except ballet. That is serious.

Unfortunately, the restaurant next door closed after, what, 7 months. So we'll have to drag them a light farther away to get some authentic German cuisine. And we ourselves had never gotten around to eating there. Oh, well, our loss.

According to the temperature gage in our village, today was just as hot as last Friday (36C=97F). I wore jeans. Of course, I could be melted into a puddle of goo, but I'd still yell, "Turn up the heat!" in my best crotchety old lady voice.

Although it is hot, that is no excuse for the 2 morons I saw diving off the bridge into the river of doom. Well, one moron made it into the water, and the other moron got talked down by two locals with some sense. I watched the whole thing from the bus stop.

At least I haven't encountered the +summer –shirt –shoes guy on the bus in a while. I take that back: I saw him wearing shorts, and vest –shirt, and some Birkenstocks that he probably slipped off but I couldn't see. The flesh, it creeps when I spot him taking up a section of 4 facing seats because no one wants to sit next to an overweight, balding, sweaty, half-naked man on a bus with no AC. Capice?

I did see Vin Diesel on the street today, but he's much shorter than I would have guessed. Shortly after that, I saw another bald-ish guy wearing almost the exact same black shirt, but he had man-boobs, so I'm positive he's not also Vin Diesel.

The bus stop gives me both pleasure and pain. Pain, because after I give up my place on the bench to some old people, they compound the imposition by starting to smoke heavily, joined by the teenaged parents hanging around nearby; and pleasure because I saw a woman who couldn't have been a day younger than 65 drinking from a *baby bottle*. Minus the nipple, of course, because she probably couldn't suck that hard, but any adult who considers a baby bottle an appropriate drink container (it looked to be tea) needs a reality check. Then I looked to my left and saw another grandmotherly type about to put a baby bottle, *full of milk and with a nipple*, in her mouth. "What in the Hell is going on today?" I thought. She was teasing her grandbaby in the stroller next to her, not having a delicious snack of formula on a hot day. Whew!

D.D. has mentioned several times today (unconvincingly) that she hopes she doesn't faint due to the heat. Every time I make her drink some more water, she points out that she probably won't faint now. The cat was out of the bag when I took her to ballet, which is un-air-conditioned: "I hope I faint!" said with a grin. I promised her that if she did, I'd drag her out of the room. Then I made her drink some more water.

I'm trying not to be paranoid about the heat, but D.D.'s little classmate didn't help things this afternoon. She walked part of the way home with us after school, and she assured us that D.D. has a "pale blister" on her neck just like the one she herself had had the time she didn't eat or drink during a heat wave. (Ok, whose parent doesn't make their kid eat, and especially drink, during hot weather?) L.H. pointed out that it's not a blister, just a white splotch, and it's most likely due to the patchy job he did of applying sunscreen to her the last time.

L.H. thinks people are trying to take advantage of me when they ask for a little help with something they've written in English, like a couple of girls in my classes. One had translated a letter of recommendation for an au pair position in England (took 5 minutes to look at, plus 10 minutes of chatting), and the other is taking a translation course in the English department, but had missed half of the semester due to surgery on her foot and her professor didn't have time to look at her assignments. So I corrected them and arranged to meet her this morning to return them. I was a few minutes late, but she didn't come, so I assumed she had a class and headed home. On the way to the bus, I stopped in a department store, on the hunt for the Perfect Gift (tm)—*whisper* but it's a secret. They didn't have it, but I looked at their cookie cutters since I need to expand my collection (all xmas and Halloween right now). People! Who wants cookies shaped like *tea pots*? Or *spoons*? Really! That store needs to find a new supplier.

So I leave the store, and I see the girl walking by. Turns out she had missed her bus into town and was just running late. So we made the swap, but then she gave me a pretty Chinese fan to say thanks. (It really came in handy at the ballet studio, too.) I feel like I'm finally building up some positive credit in my karma account after stirring up a bunch of family shit last week (which I won't go into here).

Of course, I will probably use it all up by mentioning the horrible dress my classmate was wearing last week. What is the deal with sequins lately? I don't mean a design with sequins on it (btw, Gwamma, D.D. is the talk of the second grade with her new sequined shirts); I mean a whole section of a garment covered in sequins. Think early Elton John. After the following horrifying event, I saw that a "boutique" in town had placed several partially sequined items in its window.

Anyhow, this girl was wearing a halter-top dress: the top was covered in black sequins; the bottom was a nightmare of chartreuse and white and black in a kind of Mondrian pattern. With loafers. Because nothing says "glamorous" like white leather loafers.

Thanks for hanging in there!

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