Saturday, May 28, 2005

And in other non-news...

The premenstrual puff receded, then L.H., who was in charge of making the week's menu, fed me pea soup one night and pinto beans the next. I think he's aiming for a heart attack brought on by severe gastric distress. Death by indigestion—the indignity.

In my English class, the tables are arranged in a big square. I was watching this girl on the opposite side of the square, and on behalf of all other females, I think her womanhood should be revoked. She was flirting heavily with the guy next to her, which—normally—I'd be all, "Go for it, girl!" But in this case, I'd have to say, "What in the hell is wrong with your gaydar?" I mean, the only person more obviously gay than this guy would be Liberace. I'm expecting him to show up in sequins and/or feathers any time now.

There's been this terrible, terrible "Making of a Pop Group Diary" show on the kids' channel that D.D. watches, and the horrific-ness of the whole thing is sickening. They are obviously patterned on a real, live, successful pop group—Ch!pz (I can't believe I just typed that)—in that they have 2 girls and 2 boys, ranging in age from 18 to 22, but they just aren't believable as a group of friends who love to sing and dance together. Their first song is Dubbi Dam Dam (which actually sounds like doobie dum dum—that's all of the words for 2-1/2 minutes of music), and the animated aliens in the video are more talented performers than these guys.

On further investigation on the channel's web site, there was a contest, and the 4 were put together to give it a go. I'm waiting for the "Making of the Diary Show" show, where it's revealed that one of the girls is in rehab, the other is making porn movies, and the two guys are now dating and doing drag shows in Amsterdam.

D.D. is always a source of amusement for us. We typically visit 2 grocery stores on Saturdays, one that has cheap staples, and the other for everything else. At the cheap store, she wanted her own deodorant, so she wouldn't use mine up; and also, ladies use it. That was news to me, that she was using mine, but I said sure, why not. So she picked out a pink, rose-scented roll-on. She got mad at me because I wouldn't let her carry it into the second store, but no matter, she had already put some on. Before we even crossed the parking lot, she offered to let us sniff her armpits. No thanks, honey. In the store, I caught her—repeatedly—pulling her short sleeve up to her nose for a sniff, then saying, "Mmmm." She was quite pleased with her new 59-cent deodorant.

Paris—Day 4 (Finally!)

I know—it's about time I wrapped this up, eh? So Day 4 was actually not in Paris, but about 30 minutes north at a theme park. D.D. was good and patient at the grown-up, touristy places for 2 days, so we thought she deserved a little fun.

You know how Disneyland—which we did *not* go to—is based on the Disney characters? Well, Parc Asterix is based on a series of comic books about Asterix the Gaul, set in France (Gaul, actually) during the Roman Empire, in 50 B.C. The books are fairly popular here in Europe and have been translated into many languages. So 15 or 20 years ago, they opened an amusement park, and we all enjoyed ourselves, even though everything was in French.

There were lots of rides, including 2 big roller coasters. D.D. is such a brave child and wanted to ride both, until we rode the first one. I would say it compares with the Judge Roy Scream (if they still have it) at Six Flags in Arlington, but without so many tall drops. D.D. shrieked like she was in mortal danger, but when she got off she declared she could scream even louder, but would give the roller coaster with the loops a miss. It didn't help that we had ridden the Spider en route and were all pretty queasy.

Later, D.D. and L.H. left me on the ground while they rode the carousel of hanging chairs that uses centripetal force to swing them out. I was taking zoom photos, and D.D. didn't scream once. This from my daughter who claims to be afraid of heights and cowers on escalators.

We were able to go on a couple of water rides, one right at the beginning, so of course I had a wet ass and L.H. had a wet lap right off. "Hi! Nice to meet you! We're the Incontinent Family!"

D.D. wanted to check out one of the theatrical events, which was funny if unintelligible to us. Caesar wore a blond, rubber Elvis wig and had a band of incompetent legionnaires for slapstick comedy routines. Later, the soldiers performed an interesting, Cirque du Soleil-esque aerial gymnastics-on-a-bungee-cord-dance thing, which would have been quite beautiful if they weren't wearing satin mix-n-match costumes in fuchsia, purple, and fluorescent green and yellow. And satin wrestling masks with plumage on top. But otherwise not too gay. (We neglected to take photos of the spectacle.)

Paris might be the City of Love, but Parc Asterix is the amusement park of *small children*, so I didn't expect to see so many people mackin' on the rides and benches.

There was way more to do and see than we had time for, but we rode some rides, at some hot dogs and ice cream, and got to check out Asterix's world, so all in all it was a success.

On the drive back to Germany, we stopped in Reims to see the Cathedral. It's every bit as beautiful as the Notre Dame in Paris, but way less crowded (about 20 people at 5 pm on Sunday). Then we were all ready to be home. When we finally crossed the border, L.H. said he was ready to get out and kiss the ground.

I have to admit that after struggling to make ourselves understood in France, I vowed to double my efforts in mastering German, 1. because I already have a good start, and 2. because I was afraid I might still be speaking tourist-ese.


Here are a few notes I jotted while traveling, which may or may not be of interest to anyone but me:

Paris was fairly expensive. Our hotel was surprisingly reasonable, but ice cream and cold drinks were more expensive at the stands at the tourist sites than at the amusement park. Could you imagine paying more for a coke at the Alamo than at Fiesta Texas?!

Still in comparison mode, a Happy Meal was 4 euros in Paris, but 3.25 at home.

Seeing Scooby Doo in French was a mind-altering experience.

On the drive home, there was a stretch where the stench of onions permeated the car, so I assumed we were driving past an onion farm. But then a couple of days later I smelled onions on the bus. At first I wondered if I was having olfactory hallucinations brought on by brain trauma from the roller coaster. Then I wondered if I was in line for sainthood—you know, incorruptible (i.e., when the saintly person died, his or her body didn't decay, and also gave off the scent of flowers). It occurred to me that smelling like onions might not make me too popular with the other saints. But then I finally noticed that the girl behind me was eating a pita. Damn reality.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

--when I've been carted off by the guys in the white coats? Considering how yucky I felt this last week, I was downright chipper today. (L.H. kept calling me chipper this evening, but I'm pretty sure he meant "insane.") I bought myself some cute little Chinese Mary Janes, and did I mention how cute they are? And only 9 euros!

I celebrated by devouring a 2-scoop ice cream—peach and melon, yum!—that was probably chock full of artificial flavors, and I didn't have to listen to L.H. pronounce my doom via allergic headache or additive poisoning while I ate it. (I have now been instructed to get only plain vanilla or chocolate ice cream for the family, as they are less likely to contain artificial flavors. This is the man who has been known to complain about the lack of sprinkles, chunks, and cookies in the ice cream I buy. Which we all know are made using only organic ingredients by happy little grandmas in the dairy.)

See what I mean? Mental hospital—here I come!

Last week was really rough for me. My brain was the focal point of a head-on collision between menstrual hormones and an overwhelming amount of homework, and I was, well, overwhelmed. But between my regular day off on Wednesday, a state holiday on Thursday, and dropping one of my (not required) classes on Monday, I managed to come up with a sizeable chunk of time in which to get on top of the pile of work and make a bit of a dent in it.

On Wednesday I took D.D. to the playground after we returned our library books, but she didn't know the only other kid there, so she betook herself to her favorite climbing tree. The other kid, a little boy, was there alone; he looked about 5 years old. He kept going in and out of the little wooden play fort; he'd made a "door" for it by leaning a stick across the opening, and each time he crossed, he'd say something I couldn't catch and open and close the "door." After about 10 minutes of that, he took the stick, held it against his hip, then "unsheathed" it and beat the hell out of an unsuspecting bush, repeatedly, until he broke a large-ish branch off. That's about the time when his dad came for him. Drunky hair guy. I should have guessed.

On Thursday, we all went to the botanical gardens. It was a beautiful day for strolling outside, but we made sure to take a turn through the greenhouses. D.D. is now interested in getting her very own carnivorous plant, and L.H. got a tip on where we can buy one. D.D. was mostly interested in the different ponds and streams around the grounds, and she definitely likes the unpaved paths the best. She kept leading the way, saying, "We like the wild way." That would be "we=me and Dad." We discovered the reason why Germans make frogs say, "quak", which sounds like "kvak." Because they actually sound like that. They definitely do not sound like Texas frogs. At one point, we heard what we thought was a frog croaking a lot, but it might have been a duck attacked with a stick.

Afterwards, L.H. taught D.D. how to play frisbee. She picked it up really fast, and we are planning on making her play professionally to pay for our retirement. She doesn't know yet, though, so shhh. (She's reading over my shoulder as I type. Hee! Hee!) Actually, it was somewhat humiliating to see her snatch the frisbee out of the air, because I still can't do it myself. I'm the wiener who ducks when things fly at her, but that might be conditioning from when I got hit in the eye with a softball as a kid. And I guess in general it's a good reflex to have.

Today I noticed a lot of people walking around sporting sunburns. I managed to get sunscreen on our faces before we went out on Thursday, but I noticed my arms are a little pink, in that scary, blotchy way. D.D. tans easily, like her dad, damn them, but she is getting a few little cute freckles on her face. Not as many as me or her aunt, LilSis, thank the 7 Dwarfs.

In village news, the cosmetics boutique is probably driving away customers with their new window display. Aside from the hideous fake roses adorning the counter, there is a window painting? cling? that on close inspection turns out to also be red roses, but from afar appears to be fresh blood. Ick.

Today D.D. and L.H. went to the pool. I got home with a grocery bag full of goodies that I was looking forward to sharing, and there was a note that they had gone swimming because it was too hot. It was only about 85. Pu-lease. Of course, you know me. I'll be asking for a sweater when I get to hell. D.D. did fantastic in the water, her dad reported. She is taking swimming at school, but has been on vacation for the last 2 weeks, but it seems she has not forgotten her lessons. Good girl!

Another good girl is Mini-Nee. She got all A's for the year, is still in Gifted and Talented, and whipped the TAKS or whatever the latest acronym is like it was a red-headed stepchild. Go, Mini-Nee!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


I have been cruelly duped. I bought a bag of mixed Haribo gummy candies, just because it included licorice. I bit into a beautiful black and white one, and it was licorice—laced with coconut. Noooooo! It was like delicious licorice with a side of ass.(1) And *every single black one* had a layer of white. L.H. didn't want to eat them because of the licorice, and I didn't want to eat them because of the coconut, so they are still sitting on the kitchen counter, hardening.

Yesterday I looked less like I was retaining water and more like I was retaining a watermelon. I seem to have deflated a bit this morning, but I really hate the start-of-period puff. It makes me even grouchier than normal to wear my new jeans that are usually quite roomy and to get squeezed like a cocktail waitress in a construction workers' convention.

The weather has gone from cold and wet to warm and wet, to warm and humid, back to cold and wet, and finally to clear, warm, and sunny. No one is more ready for it to be summer than I. Our landlord is supposed to start converting our terrace into a glassed-in sun-room in three weeks, so even in the winter we'll be able to enjoy whatever sunlight comes our way.

We are so un-together that we still haven't organized a bday party for D.D. (actual birthday: May 22). It doesn't help that she changes her mind every 5 minutes about what she wants. At some point she has wanted a movie party, a fairy party, a Harry Potter party, a swim party, and a rock-climbing party. We may end up pushing it back yet one more weekend, since it might be difficult to organize a party and round up guests in 3 days.

On her bday, we took her to see the new Star Wars, and we all liked it. It was kind of strange to take her to a film that children under 12 are required to be accompanied to, but she had to sit on a booster seat to be able to see the screen. I've heard a lot of complaints online about the stiff dialog (and I've seen all the rest of the films in English and can attest to the stiff dialog in them), but it was not so noticeable in German. Also, it was so hard to visually follow what was actually going on half the time with the heavily laden special effects that the dialog was a welcome relief from all the spaceships and explosions and battle scenes. That said, we'll probably get it on DVD when it comes out. We don't have a DVD player, but we do have a computer particularly designed for multi-media, so we just use it as a tv when we want to play one of our tiny collection of DVDs.

(1) One of L.H.'s former grad school colleagues—coincidentally a German—says licorice tastes like ass, but what does he know.