Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The joy of the sunroom in spring

In the American university system, we would talk about this time when John is not having to teach as being between semesters, but in the German system, the semesters run into each other and include lecture periods and lecture-free periods. Students can still be on the hook for work during this period and often have papers to write that are due when the next lecture period starts. So even though John is not teaching right now, he is not really on vacation, either. But he does have more time available for things like taking care of various paperwork that living abroad entails.

All that to say, we got German driver's licenses! John is sad that we had to give up our Texas licenses, but I photocopied them so we have proof of how young and cute we were when we got them. Now we're looking forward to our first German traffic tickets.

We decided to take our new licenses for a spin this weekend and drove over to Lorsch, where there's a building still standing from the Carolingian period (Charlemagne's grandchildren are thought to have been there after it was built; he was there before it was built). Since John was good enough to load our photos to Flickr and label them, I went ahead and wrote it up over at my poor neglected travel blog. I also found a new 30 spf sunscreen that goes on more like a lotion and without making my face first white and then shiny, so I was able to wander around without feeling self-conscious about my shiny face but confident that this wouldn't be the sunshiny time that tipped the skin-cancer scale.

I called Hannah briefly during her lunch break today to ask her about her lost pencil case, and she told me that she got a B- on her Latin vocabulary quiz last week! I am so excited for her--to date, she has failed all of them. She took another one today (it's a weekly event) and felt that she may have done even better. I am so proud of her for sticking with the work; I think this kind of positive feedback is going to only make her eager for more. It would be lovely if she could have this kind of result in math as well, but there are fewer opportunities for it as they only have 4 tests and no quizzes or graded homework for the whole year.

It is starting to warm up, and I am loving the extra sunshine. Come on high pressure system, don't fail me now! I put our drying rack out on the balcony for the first time this year and now have a couple of windows open, not even for airing out a bathroom after a shower or a catbox cleaning. If the weather stays this good, I think I will buy some more soil this weekend and get Hannah to help me seed some more window boxes with various flower mixes I picked up at the grocery store. I am not holding my breath about John's yearly proclamation that he is going to buy geraniums to plant, which he has only managed to do once in 7+ years. Besides, it is ridiculously expensive to fill all the boxes we have, and if the summer is wet, which it was the last time and very well could be again, the geraniums molder. I am perfectly happy with the seed packets that cost less than 2 bucks and hold enough seeds to fill 2 boxes with a profusion of different flowers that bloom at different times.

I didn't bother with my Wii game over Hannah's spring break, and last week I eased my way back into it with a lot of yoga exercises, but this week I am pushing the pedal to the metal. Today I ran for 20 minutes and made it 4 km (barely). When I passed the 2-mile mark, I had to scream for joy a little. We'll see how I feel when I wake up in the morning, but I have felt great all day, with lots of energy. It would be cool if I could jog outside, but since we basically live on the side of a long hill, I don't think I'll be starting from my house. It would be nice to be able to jog along the river, but the near side is all ripped up due to road work. Not if I ran in the other direction, though...

I am itching to start some repairs around here--there are holes in and chips out of the wallpaper in places (not all made by us!)--but our landlord said something about replacing some windows last year (or maybe the year before?), and I don't want to start my project before they come in and make a new mess. I may just do one wall at a time, as time and expense allow it.

I managed to cut my coffee consumption down to one cup a day, but failed at reducing it to half a cup. We weren't driving for a bit for various reasons, so we were limited to shopping at stores within bus-reach and buying what we could carry; I wasn't able to get my usual mix of 1/2-caff coffee, so I have been drinking a full cup of full-caff. The horror! Once we run out of this kind, though, I won't feel so bad about my full cup of 1/2-caff. I am also trying to cut out chocolate and black tea, but it is haaard. Fruit tea is just not cutting it for me in terms of a fortifying mid-day hot drink. I have some instant decaf (to use in making a kick-ass tiramisu); maybe I should try that.

--Nee in Germany likes her drinks like her man--hot!