Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Fog Lifts

Apparently my brain wasn't firing on all cylinders this past week, even with the bulk of my exams out of the way. L.H. finally had a spare minute to look over my recent posts, and he pointed out 3 egregious errors (like calling him D.D. and having the river flow the wrong direction). In the meanwhile, they've been fixed. Mea culpa.

We woke up this morning to falling snow, plus 4-5 inches piled up on our patio furniture. The planters out there still look like giant snow cones. D.D. went to her friend's house to slide down their "driveway". It's fenced all the way around, and no one actually parks on it because it's so steep, so it's perfect for a mini-sledding course when there's enough snow.

Although I am tempted to lie around doing nothing, I have been keeping at my to-do list and already have several items marked off. I gave myself the treat of a novel once classes were over (yesterday at 1), but I stayed up late and finished it, so now I'm back to the to-do list. Oh, well. That's satisfying, too, in a 7-dwarfs-in-the-mine kind of way.


There's a juice bar down the street from the English Department. A couple of months ago, they remodeled, and my brain just boggles every time I walk past now. The entire inside is red—red walls, red couches, red lamp. It makes me think it's a front for a bordello, but it's such a tiny shop that I can't imagine where they might have space for that kind of enterprise. Maybe they have some kind of deal with the sex shop a block over. (As far as I can tell from the window dressing, it sells lingerie and "marital aids", but I haven't had the guts to wander in, in case it's the other kind of sex shop.)


Speaking of mind-boggling, there's this guy on the bus who strongly resembles Ozzy Osbourne, but if O.O. had had a sex change operation, and then changed his mind and went back to his old clothes. It freaks me out, the aura of drug-induced dementia and surgically enhanced femininity. Shudder.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

What a Girl Wants

On the way to school this morning, D.D. was telling her dad that the teacher has just made a new rule: if a boy pesters a girl during recess, he has to write sentences, and vice versa. Then she proceeded to tell us that she had been chasing a boy named Tom, but when she caught him, he tried to kiss her. We teased her that she wasn't supposed to be chasing him under the new rules, right?, but she replied something to the effect that if you can't pester them, you have to love them.

I burst out laughing, which she didn't appreciate, and L.H. looked concerned. What she said seems to sum up her whole attitude towards boys.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Stream of Consciousness Post

Looking out at all the snow that's been falling all day, I think winter's here to stay for a while still. And we're on our last 2 rolls of winter-scented t.p., so we'll have to tough out the last few weeks of winter with plain ol' t.p.-flavored toilet paper. So sad.

Valentine's Day is a pretty major event in the U.S., but it hasn't really caught on here in Germany. Darling Daughter and I crafted a series of Valentine's notes instead of full sized cards, and she made a little mail container for us to deposit them in.

Lovely Husband surprised us with chocolates and little gifts, then we all ate bratwurst and spaetzle for dinner, and that was the extent of our holiday. I guess I should start thinking ahead to our anniversary, or poor L.H. will end up getting a grilled cheese sandwich and a handshake.

Apparently I missed hearing the grading scale for my first Latin test (thanks, chatty classmates!), so I was pleasantly surprised upon getting the second test back graded to discover that I had actually made an A (not a B) on the first one, and a B on the second one. Go me! I even got a complimentary note on the test from the teacher because I did so well and am not a native German speaker.

D.D., when asked about her lunch at after-school care today: "I didn't like the vegetables. They weren't like Ma's. Hers are delicious; I always like her green beans." [Note: Ma's green beans come from a can. :-)]

D.D. is the queen of buttering up grandparents. Of course, she learned at the feet of the master, L.H. He and his brother and cousins have the knack of complimenting their grandmother, ensuring a cornucopia of homemade goodies when they come to visit.

They flip side is that she attributes compliments to them that we all know they didn't make. For instance, upon seeing the pieced top of a quilt she was making for us (the infamous asbestos quilt), L.H. is alleged to have said that it was the most beautiful fabric he'd ever seen.

The fabric in question is double-knit polyester in maroon and baby blue. You be the judge.

Although it's been snowing all day, it's still just a little too warm for it to stick at our house. But go to the next town up the hill—where D.D. has ballet—and it really is a winter wonderland. The trees and ground are covered in so much snow that you can barely see any brown or green. I may hate snow, but even I am affected by the transformation it's made in the landscape—from the warm, dry comfort of the car, of course.

Monday, February 14, 2005

I Crack Myself Up

There's a port-a-potty at a construction site on my bus route that just kills me. On the side, it says
Obviously, toi is short for toilet (in both English and German), but there is also a good-luck expression in German: toi toi toi! I can picture someone going into the portable feeling a sense of encouragement just from reading its name. Tee! Hee!
(I know, "simple pleasures....")

This morning I saw a cigarette ad depicting several yellow taxis in nighttime traffic, and the slogan on the ad said, "New York Taste." As far as I am concerned, a taxi and a cigarette *are* similar-tasting, but I don't think the ad guys were going for that association exactly. Maybe they figured that if smokers weren't put off by the strict German cigarette labels ('Cigarettes will kill you'; 'Cigarettes will make you impotent'), then what's a little exhaust flavor?

Courtney Love's Clone finally decided to do something about her 3-inch roots and looks quite cute with a nice brown dye job. I saw this morning, though, that she is backsliding. She had some badly penciled cat eyes going. When she stood up, I thought I noticed a belly bump. I hope for the sake of her hypothetical fetus that she gets the make-up thing straightened out soon, because *no one* wants that to be the first thing that they ever see.

Weather Woes

We had 3 days of almost non-stop rain, so when it finally stopped, water started gushing up out of the neighbor's yard and running down into the street. Then it started to snow. So this morning D.D. and I got to walk to school in the snow while L.H. shoveled the sidewalk. It's our week in the house for stair-cleaning and sidewalk-shoveling.

Water is still running down the neighbor's yard. I'll be surprised if their apple tree makes it after that spring erupted right next to its roots.

It was actually quite lovely during the 5 minutes it took me to write the above: blue skies dotted with fluffy white clouds, snow-dusted trees and houses below. But a thick blanket of dirty gray clouds has just rolled over the top of our valley, sealing us off from the weak winter sunlight. Bah!

On the way into town, I saw that the river was up. On the upstream side of the locks (the river flows westerly), the water was pushing at the buoys so hard they looked like they were being towed through the water. On the other side, the water already covered the concrete divider thingy that directs ships into the locks. It wasn't over the banks, though.

When I came home this evening, the water had made it over the north bank. It rained in town, and snowed at home, but it was too warm to stick, and everything is melted now. Poor L.H., having to get up and shovel in the dark, when he just had to wait... uh, most of the day for it to melt.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Car Post

After 17 months of living car-free, we finally broke down and bought one. Actually, L.H. has been talking about it for a few months. Grocery shopping and other errands (like buying an office chair) are a bit of a pain when you can only buy as much as you can carry on the bus. We have already made it to one grocery store that would otherwise been out of reach for us, and managed to save about half on our weekly grocery bill. Of course, with a tank of gas at 45 Euros a pop (a Euro is currently valued at about 1.30 US dollars; you do the math), plus a limited amount of free parking in town, it wouldn't be affordable for us to drive the car to work daily. For trips to neighboring towns for D.D.'s Swedish and ballet lessons, though, it's going to save us a lot of time and hassle. We're also planning to drive it to Paris for a weekend in March. It'll be faster and probably somewhat cheaper than buying rail tickets.

Another perq of having the car that I realized on the bus was the stranger-free airspace. The man sitting next to me had either recently eaten a herring, or had perhaps forgotten his grocery bags and had stuffed his pockets full of them, I don't know. There was a distinct stench that I would have preferred to avoid.

BTW, the car is a blue Opel station wagon. It looks somewhat like this.