Thursday, December 20, 2007


It is cold cold cold here. When I went to the store this morning shortly after eight to buy a couple of puffy down comforters (thanks, LMIL!), the car thermometer said -3.5C (25.7F) and the thermometer on the jewelry store said -5C (23F). Either way—brrrr! And since our study is very poorly insulated, we have to cut short our computer use when we can no longer feel our shins. So if I break off in mid-blog, you’ll know I can’t feel the bottom third of my body.

Remember how I mentioned all the work that just falls into our laps? I think I know how Tom Jones must now feel about panties—stop throwing so many at me! I was considering taking on another English-tutoring job, but it would have been too much, and I didn’t really feel qualified to teach business English. But then John told me that some of the students I had taught in his department a couple of semesters ago (wooo! nepotism!) were asking if I am planning to teach there again, because they really enjoyed my class. Yay! I wasn’t a total loser teacher!

In the mornings, I climb up on Hannah’s bed at the foot and put my legs under her covers as step one in the wake-up ritual. Also, it is cold in her room. Then I proceed to tickle her until she kicks and flops and generally wakes herself up with all her attempts to dislodge me from her bed. But this morning, she had the bright idea to use her pincers of doom, aka the toes she inherited from her dad and gwamma. John’s mom can raise a knot on a person with her lobster-claw toes, and Hannah is following in her glorious footsteps (ha ha!). Of course, we have watched Little Shop of Horrors a couple of times recently, so Hannah’s toe-pinching made me start singing, “She’ll be a den-tist! She has a knack for causing things pain!”

Hannah got some kind of gumball (of the tree-fruit variety, not chewing gum) stuck in her hair at school, so rather than asking a friend to help her untangle it, she just chopped it out with scissors. Now she has a bang-length section at the back of her head, but she refuses to let me take her to a barber, because she might actually get a *hair style*. The horror!

One evening, I had gone in to Hannah’s room to turn off her overhead light, and she started talking about how she had just noticed my freakishly large forehead. And of course, such a large forehead is a sure sign that I am a nerd. I had never heard that large forehead = nerd (and how nerdy is that, that I make a mathematical equation out of it), but maybe she has secretly been taking a distance education course in phrenology. Anyhoo, I pointed out that she looks just. like. me. And therefore she has a one-way ticket to Nerdsville. Her Nerdland passport was issued at birth. She is a native speaker of Nerdish. Ha!

I think that except for a couple of stocking stuffers, I have completed my xmas shopping. My amazon order from the UK won’t be here in time, but at least I made my choices. Hannah refuses to actually buy anything for us or her friends or anyone we ask her about, even if we offer to pay. She is getting to be quite a tight-wad, but I guess that is better than the alternative.

The glacier is creeping up over my ankles... must. stop. writing.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Rockin' around the xmas tree

I’ve been in a bit of a weird mood lately. I don’t know if it’s due to hormones (quite possible), weather (clear but freezing), holidays (barreling down upon us), or a mosh pit combination of all three, but obviously, my situation hasn’t been very conducive to blogging. Which is funny, because I’ve gotten into the habit of mentally narrating my life as if I’m concurrently blogging it. Sounds like a tv drama for teenagers. Unfortunately, all my brilliant narration is gone as soon as it’s thought; I am Twitter in meat form.

It has been slow going, getting into the xmas spirit. Decorations have been up in town since forever, but somehow, I’ve never gone into a shop in America in December and thought, “It must be Christmas-time, because they’re playing Wham.” Now I have “Last Christmas” as an ear-worm. Anyhoo, my favorite window display is over at Hell’s Kitchen: trees decorated with silver nets and silver lobsters (or perhaps giant crawdads—I don’t know crustaceans).

Here at home, John has been crazy busy all semester, thanks to a new colleague who is learning the ropes and the former colleague who left behind a big gaping hole where there used to be a curriculum. With the pile of grading that has been teetering over his head, he has been loathe to take time out for things like buying a tree and presents, because the pile might just topple over and smother him. But he finally broke down last Saturday and bought a tree. Hannah and I tried to put it up and decorate it, but it was unstable and John was picky about which side was the best, so next year he gets to do it all himself (see bad mood, above).

Hannah contributed to the decorations with the fruits of her art class (she got an A!):

angel and creator

This guy is now on top of our tree.

Then we went to Bad Wimpfen on Sunday (planned several weeks ago, so John couldn’t get out of it with such a feeble excuse as *work*) to their xmas market.


Don’t we look cute? That hat really itches, though. John bought it for me in Lappland during the year we lived in Sweden, and it is warm but itchy. I was scratching so hard by the end of the afternoon that people probably thought I had dandruff or lice or head-beavers.

But enyweys (as my Grammy would say), I am too lazy to put up more pictures, so you’ll just have to click on my Flickr link on the right to get the full array of xmas market and home decor photos (and a few self-portraits of Hannah that look very disturbing).

Note on the bus: The cold really brings out the ugly in people’s wardrobes. This woman is wearing a patchwork coat out of what appears to be the skins of several mangy hyenas. I know I’m not exactly a candidate for the cover of Vogue, but at least I don’t look like I rolled in something I found rotting on the savannah.

Weirdly enough, I saw another similar coat, but furry-ier, in town later.

Hannah still likes us enough that she tries to get brownie points by say outrageous stuff to entertain us. We were in the store, picking out xmas napkins, and she was helping me sort through the box. “What about that one over there?” *pulls it out* “Not tacky enough.” That’s my girl!

My crazy ranting was quite hilarious in my head yesterday, but now it is all gone. You should be glad. Poor John had to turn the other cheek while I tried to make a funny, but instead was an asshole and insulted him. I will have to make that up to him before his trip next week. Don’t forget to cross your various extremities for him and his interview!