Monday, July 31, 2006


I'm finding it surprisingly difficult to get back into blogging. When I was doing school stuff at the end of the semester, I totally blocked my normal impulse, which is to mentally tell stories to you about stuff I come across. I've managed to turn that back on, but the next step of putting it in blog format is not coming so easily to me as before. Oh, well, I am sure that a couple of crappily useless posts like this one will see me back to my old, mile-a-minute blogging.

While I was gone from here, Germany hosted the World Cup. John and I are not exactly what you would call sports fans, but we actually watched a good bit of it. I think that in the early rounds, John probably watched one match a day. Germany played really well, so the whole country was at fever pitch for most of the month. We knew not to count on getting to sleep at a decent hour on the nights Germany was playing, because our neighbors would be yelling and celebrating, and then a couple of hours later the drunk ones would stagger home, stopping for a loud, drunken chat right under our balcony. This was even a problem (not so much the drunks) during one of my late-afternoon classes; there are pubs (televising the games) within walking distance of the building, and it was boiling hot, so the windows had to stay open--needless to say, it was hard to concentrate on Toni Morrison with all the shouting and cheering.

During the World Cup, everyone put flags out. This is Germany, not America: *no one* keeps a flag outside their home. I guess Germans are very touchy about coming across as nationalist, so those kinds of displays are limited to sporting events. But during the World Cup, people hung the German flag from their windows, painted it on their arms and faces, wore it as a cape, attached it to their car windows, wrapped their babies in it, you name it. It was quite touching, really.

George Bush came to Germany, and I saw on the news that he had mastered the European kiss greeting. John and I have had trouble with that one, because we are just not kissy people, but I declared that I would be damned if George Bush could do it and I couldn't, so I have redoubled my efforts at not looking like a social retard to our close friends. Then Shrub affronted the German chancellor with unwanted physical contact. *sigh* What kind of role model is that?

[At about this point last night, Blogger ate the rest of my post. I tried everything I could think of this morning to reconstruct or find it--the one time I typed directly into my Web browser--and I ended up with a bit of lame at the end (well, lame-er than before). But then I remembered that I activated the setting to have my own posts emailed to me, so the original was in my email. Ka-Ching!]

Our cat had a couple of bladder infections, so John took her to the vet for a shot. We were supposed to give her two more at home, but I managed to squirt one of the them onto her fur instead of under her fur thanks to her squirming, plus I poked myself in one finger and scratched another finger with the damned tiny hypodermeric needle, and that hurt like a bitch for about a week. Stupid cat. The other cat has continued with her whiny ways, and one night I threatened to cram her down the throat of a neighborhood dog who was barking all night. She's fluffy--she'd definitely dampen all the sound.

As much as I would like to think of this as vacation time, I just can't seem to get into that mind-set. Saturday I spring-cleaned the upstairs bathroom, and you have *never* seen grout that clean (the whole room is tile). Sunday I did the downstairs bathroom, which includes moving out the washing machine and cleaning under it. I also repotted some plants, did a little laundry, shopped for groceries, vacuumed under our bed (and the furry cat had shed the equivalent of a mink coat under there--ick!), and sorted through the piles and piles of papers and books that were drifting through our living space like academic tumbleweeds. Today I took a few photos on my way to pick up Hannah from school, but I haven't done anything with them yet. So look around at my photo links in a day or two for something new.

Hannah's superpower of kicking over coffee cups has expanded to breaking thermometers (4 at last count) and losing her school supplies.

We were having such hot weather that people were talking about another "summer of the century" (the last one was in 2003), but a cold front has come in, so we're saved! Yesterday the highs were in the 80s, but with about 1000% humidity, so it didn't make much difference. This morning we woke up to temps in the low 70s and light rain, and John is in heaven (except he has to ride his bike into town later this morning). And Hannah is going on an outing today, so she'll be hiking around in the woods up above the castle in the muck. I told her not to get eaten by a wild boar, or a swarm of slugs.

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