Saturday, June 18, 2005

According to the front page of the regional newspaper, this is the new look for summer. Personally, I think it's a cheap rip-off of Siouxie Sioux, and she should be pissed.

[When I told him why I had the digital camera out, my "Lovely" Husband called me "e-Margie." I am putting this on the list, and if I ever decide to leave him, it will be entered as evidence of mental abuse. (ha! ha!)]
 Posted by Hello

Friday, June 17, 2005

Blabbedly Blab Blab

Thursday morning I was waiting for a shop to open so I could drop off some film for developing, and to kill some time I wandered to the window of the plumbing business next door. In addition to the usual collection of sinks and fixtures, there was a toilet, with a most unusual lid. It was painted in wavy stripes that forcibly reminded me of The Scream. Now I am having all these strange associations.

I also looked in the window of the drug store, and lo and behold, there were *cotton balls*. When D.D. was having some cold-related ear problems, I needed cotton balls to keep the drops in her ears, and I could not find them anywhere in the damn drug store. Of course, I could have just asked, but I generally avoid asking questions in German. Besides, shouldn't cotton balls be with the baby supplies? Right? But no, they are by the cosmetics, so it makes perfect sense that I have never seen them before.


Bikes aren't allowed in the main shopping/pedestrian street in town, so they all take the parallel street that connections many of the university buildings. German bikes have bells, and people use them to warm dummies who walk 5 across while they chat to get the hell out of the way. I have to say that I feel much safer walking around here than on the UTexas campus, where I constantly feared the 2-wheeled messengers of death.

I also feel much safer on a bus. I know I have mentioned before how narrow everything is around here—the end result of living in a valley and/or an old, pre-auto town—but the buses can squeeze through the tiniest gaps without knocking off rear-view mirrors. It's actually kind of weird to be passing another bus (or a streetcar) so closely that you can tell the passengers on the other bus are also holding their breath. I wouldn't trust an Austin bus driver not to hit a traffic sign, much less pass a bicyclist on a narrow, twisty, mountain road.


When I take D.D. to school, we often see the man who delivers the lunches for the after-school-care kids (there's no lunch at school here otherwise). He cracks me up. He's this middle-aged, kind of dumpy man, but the radio in his truck is blasting dance music of the techno variety the whole time he's at the school. A Night at the Roxbury, anyone?


The grandparents and aunts and uncles will be happy to know that my Darling Daughter still says "fanger" (instead of "finger"). I believe she does it quite consciously, but it's better than no drawl whatsoever.

Off the Cuff

Lovely SIL sent me an appropriate accompaniment to my toilet-reading post. Enjoy!

I met a girl! (If you thought of Cry-Baby, you are my soul mate.) Well, she's been in 2 of my classes all semester, but we just introduced ourselves briefly today. She's also American, although I didn't catch where from. Seeing how I'm so socially reluctant, it was a big deal for me.

Here are some interesting things I saw on the way home on the bus:

Neighboring houses with almost-matching, wrought-iron, birdcage-esque gazebos on the street side. One was serving as a rose arbor.

Two crows standing on some driftwood swirling in the river. They didn't seem to notice the water or the swirling.

A red hang glider circling over the abbey. He seemed to be heading for one of the fields nearby.

Otherwise, I got nuthin'.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

All the News That's Not Really News

D.D. managed to injure herself twice over three days. First, she slammed her hand in the car door. She had a big bruise just below her wrist that was tender the first day. She was complaining at school that it hurt, so the secretary put an ice pack on it, then wrapped a gauze bandage around it so her friends could sign it. She managed to whip up plenty of sympathy and attention for herself with one bruise.

Then last night she flopped over the back of the couch onto the seat, a not uncommon occurrence around here, except that she managed to land with her heels on the coffee table. Ouch! She had a scrape on one ankle, but when I felt all over her foot while she watched tv, she didn't even flinch. Until she noticed what I was doing, then it was, "Oh! My foot!" I made her run cold water over her foot in the tub, which she said helped. So she's not permanently maimed.

One night this week, D.D. wanted to listen to her Soul Control cd, but we have to switch around a bunch of plugs to turn on the stereo, so I talked her into using the jambox in the kitchen. She wanted me to close it off with a makeshift curtain (no door) so we wouldn't peek, because she wanted to "dance for herself." We promised to stay in the living room, but we wondered what the neighbors downstairs thought of the rhythmic thumping coming from her jumping around and dancing in the kitchen.

D.D. has decided that bad people should have giant apple heads (but not red), for easier spotting. Like Dracoy Malfoy, for instance. He'd have a big, pale, apple head with a sprig of blond hair where the stem would be. If only life were so simple.

She has also decided to forego those pesky "idioms" and "conventions of standard English." We were watching the second LOTR movie, the scene where the Ents attack Saruman's fortress. L.H. and I were explaining what was going on to D.D., and I remarked, "How would Saruman like to get a taste of his own medicine?" D.D. corrected me: "A taste of his own *poop*. That would be much worse." And we couldn't convince her that her way wasn't the best. I can't wait to see her first school essay in English when we get back to the States.

L.H. and I have a running argument about who has the worst taste in dining: he says my instant coffee tastes like it's infused with tuna, and I point out that hot dogs wrapped in bacon is not exactly a gourmet dish. A side argument is dunking: he does, I don't. *shudder* I hate soggy food.

On Sunday we took advantage of some nice-ish weather (not too cold; overcast, but not raining) and went for a "hike." There are trails all over the place around here, so we weren't hiking in the "mountaineering" sense, but we did have a nice, long walk. At one point we came across a marshy area that is purportedly a wallowing spot for wild boars, who were thankfully absent. While standing around a tiny observation hut above the spot, we heard the *very loud*, *very disconcerting* droning of bees. We didn't see many bees except down near the water, so we think they may have been in the cane off to the side. L.H. and I started wondering if any Africanized bees have made it this far north.

We had to cross a road at one point and saw—I don't know what you call them—a three-wheeled motorcycle. (Silly me, it's called a trike. Why didn't I know that?) We've seen quite a few since the weather warmed up (comparatively speaking). During the memorable 4 days when it was nearly hot (sound like a legend in the making: "The Almost-Heat-Wave of '05"), the road that goes through our village and over the mountain to the next village was overrun with bicyclists and motorcycles, including the trikes. One day I counted from the window as a motorcycle club went up the hill; I lost track at 70, but I'm positive there were at least 100 riders.

Anyhow, when we saw the trike on Sunday, D.D. said she wanted one, hot pink, with her name written on both sides and a big 'one' on the back. My little motorcycle mama.

On the drive home, we were passed by a bicycle. Yes, I was driving, but it was a steep hill, so I was in a low gear and riding my brakes, and the dude was peddling as fast as he could go. As a matter of fact, I got stuck behind another bike that was coasting down the hill. So I'm following one bike and being tailgated by another until he had a chance to pass us both. The humiliation! (Not really. I'm an unashamed granny driver these days. "Better safe than dead" is my motto.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

More Observations From Around Town

I'd like to report another sighting of the Old French Whore, in town instead of on the bus this time. She had on an acid green top and a floral-print skirt in hot pink, with a matching hot-pink sweater draped jauntily around her shoulders. I spotted her tottering across the central bus terminal on stiletto mules. Ouch! Surprisingly, the top and skirt coordinated, but caused me to lose my color vision for several minutes afterward.

Farther along in the shopping district, I spotted Simon LeBon's copycat younger brother, who apparently had just been unfrozen from his cryogenic sleep. His polo couldn't have been pinker, his loafers less sockless, or his jeans less tightly rolled at the ankle. And after sleeping through the 80s and 90s, it must have been difficult for him to lift his head with all the residual styling products weighing it down (but nevertheless leaving him with the timeless "rooster-head"). Ah...those were the days.

I found myself staring at my classmates again today. The reason was pretty straightforward in one girl's case—she had bubble-gum pink tips on her nails, set off with a silver glitter line. In all other respects, this girl was non-descript: naturally styled hair, light make-up, simple black blouse. But I guess the heart of a disco queen can beat in any of us.

The other girl looks a lot like Audrey Hepburn: small, pointy, pixie face and large eyes. Quite cute, actually, and always tastefully made up. But the clothes! Today she wore a leopard-print blouse; her hair was piled high and topped with a dusty-rose silk flower, which just happened to be the same color as her leather jacket. Unfortunately, neither matched her black cat-eye glasses or giant dangly bead earrings. I often think maybe I should glam up, but then I see this girl and realize how easily fashion-retarded people like myself can make a misstep or 12.

While crossing the bridge on my way to the bus stop, I passed a guy singing loudly *in falsetto*. People! Headphones do not make you invisible!

My Dear Friend was telling me about the series of freaks she's had to teach (at the university level), the most recent being a girl who bursts into song during class. Maybe she thinks she's in a Björk film.

There's a tanning salon around the corner from my building at the university, and the signs they have outside kill me. One poster is for the brand of tanning beds they use, and it features a woman crouching in a desert, wrapped in *tiny strips of foil*. The way she's squatting, she appears to be giving birth, and I have to wonder: to what, a baked potato?

The other poster is actually their logo, a drawing of a man in a bikini on a lounge chair soaking up some sun. It's nice to see a man used for once, except that some of the color directly above his bikini has been scratched or rubbed away, so his crotch appears to be smoking. Hee! I don't think that's really going to bring in the male customers.

Weather-bitching level: 2.5
Once again, I've been duped! Over the last 2 days, it's been gradually getting warmer...then it rained this morning, with sprinkles on and off throughout the day. Sitting in the house, it's cool, but if you have to move around outside (like to pick up your kid from school), you are instantly soaked in sweat because it is so humid. Damn you, Mother Nature!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Doesn't Yoda look ready to take names and kick ass? Cleaning with these babies makes me feel powerful. Keep tuned for more photos as we make our way through the multi-pack (C3PO, Chewbacca, and Darth Vader are slated to put in appearances). Posted by Hello