Friday, July 01, 2005

Shoe Envy, Muppet Love, Mitten Fate, etc.

At the end of D.D.'s ballet lesson, some teenaged girls came in the waiting/changing area to get ready for their tap class. One of them had on the !cutest! sandals. I was sorely tempted to steal them when her class started, but reality (=I have ugly feet) intruded and set me straight. The shoes were black with little wedge heels and flip-flop style straps (which I normally hate!). The straps were decorated with silver lines in a geometric pattern and had little dangly beads in dark colors. Why do you persecute me, oh cute footwear?!

It was murderously hot at the ballet studio, but one grandma dropping off a dancer was wearing a short-sleeved sweater (!). It did have camels on it, but since I'm pretty sure they're not some kind of totemic protection against the heat, I think she could have worn something lighter.

Fortunately, it has cooled off. It's been raining off and on for a couple of days, and today I don't think it got out of the 60s. It was muggy, but at least not too hot.

D.D. rediscovered the make-up she got for her birthday, so I've had a make-over or two this week, and she has gone from looking like a little girl with dark pink eyeshadow to a little girl with pink eye to a punk girl to an American Indian who only had berries to work with for his war paint. It took 2 days and several face-washings to get all the glitter off my eyes the first time, so I wouldn't let her use glitter on me the second time. It was horribly distracting to keep spotting the one piece of glitter stuck in my top lashes, or the one stuck on my bottom lashes, both on the same eye.

When we were walking to school this morning, we noticed a house where the gate was open. D.D. didn't think it was a good idea to leave it open, because maybe someone would steal their flowers. I told her I thought it unlikely, but she said, "Maybe some teenagers are nuts for flowers. Did you ever think of that? Those teenagers are crazy." There you have it.

Thanks to the power of television commercials, I had one of the crap-alicious songs in my head from the psuedo-band called Banaroo. I was trying to come up with a pun on their name but got stuck; D.D. came up with Banacrap, but she made it clear that it was a suggestion to help me out, and not an endorsement.

I got a triple dose of Muppet love today. First, I saw some bird puppets in the window of a chic toy store (no Barbies there!), and they looked a lot like the birds from Sesame Street, cute and fuzzy. Then I saw Statler and Waldorf in a magazine ad (they are pimping a bank in Germany). Then I saw them again in a poster in a shop window. Now I am complete.

No fug to report on, per se, but I saw a guy at the bus terminal who was wearing a dark blue polo-style shirt, jogging shoes with white socks—so far prototypical frat-boy wear—but with red shorts sporting bright yellow flowers. I was thinking, if a woman wore that combination, she would probably get lots of weird looks, but I doubt anyone but me looked at that guy twice. And I was thinking, "Fool!"

I'm not really a spontaneous shopper; I'm actually quite "male" in shopping style: know what I want or need, go where I think they have it, buy it, and leave. But a couple of weeks ago I was browsing the books on display outside a used book store (as I was walking by on my way to class), and they had a book of traditional Swedish mitten patterns to knit (for only 3 euros). I'm sure they were not expecting to actually sell the book, but how could they have known that a fledgling knitter whose husband has a fetish for all things old and Swedish would happen to walk by that day? It was fate, I tell you.

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!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Throwing You a Bone

For various reasons, I'm not particularly in posting mode right now, but to keep gwamma and the aunties happy, I figure I can post some oldies but goodies from D.D.'s speech log. (L.H. has been keeping notes on her language(s) development since she started talking, but about 1/4 of the entries are just cute things she said.)


Age 4
(about Swedish) "That's the old stuff to talk; I like new stuff like I'm talking right now.... I don't like stuff that's junky and funky."

D.D.'s version of the Pledge of Allegiance: " the United States and North America and South and April and March. Very good."

"I flang it." (past tense of 'fling', don't you know)

In her Yoda phase: "Pin can you not hold in your mouth." (I had some sewing pins in my mouth.)

Why she supposedly couldn't speak Swedish anymore: "A little troll that's named Maha, he came and took the Swedish away from my heart."

D.D. wanted to tussle with L.H.: "Daddy, bend down so I can kick your butt."

When I was cleaning out the coffee pot with vinegar: "That's the worstest coffee you ever made!"

Yoda redux
me: "There are lots of buildings [in Dallas]!"
D.D.: "And big are they, too."

Age 5
During a difficult BM: "I'm gonna die!"
After I tried to comfort her: "I *want* to die!"

After visiting the grands in LA: "Fangers. That's how Pawpaw says it."

L.H.: "Why did you put a cotton ball in Barbie's dress?"
D.D.: "Because so her boobs will look bigger. Fashion style."

D.D. wanted Lucky Charms, and she promised to eat "the lucky *and* the charms."

While watching a funny movie: "This part cracks me off!"

Age 6
While watching the wedding scene at the end of Star Wars, Episode 2
me: "I think grabbing onto a metallic hand [Anakin's] would ruin the moment."
D.D.: "A can of tuna on someone's head would be a little romantic."

Inside D.D.'s brain: She was musing that the only holiday when devils like to come up to the world is Thanksgiving, because they like to see those dead turkeys.

After eating corn chips in the car: "My tummy is upset. It's upset at those Fritos because they were so salty."

While looking at some golden, bejeweled chalices in a museum: "Too much God."

To the philosophical question, "Why are we here?": So we could eat and drink and so God could watch us on his television.

Age 7
On why she had been in trouble in the recent past: "Sometimes I go far away from my right self and I do bad (stuff)."

D.D. wanted to take a knife to her hard-frozen ice cream, but her dad counseled patience.
(translated from German) "*groan* Patience takes too long."

"Daddy, I would like a thermostat for tomato soup with Mommy's homemade bread" [in her lunch box].

L.H.: "What's this device called?" [pointing to a comic strip drawing of a guillotine]
D.D.: "A head off-chopper?"