31 August, 2005

Conspiracy theory and other random panicked thoughts

Have they been lying to us all along? B. just told me where milk really comes from. Apparently the farmers put it into the cow's udders and then squeeze it out. Hmm-- keep hearing about immoral practices in the agricultural sector, could this be tied in with corporate farming? Do our bovine friends approve of this or are they just playing along and amassing their power for a future revolt? Questions, questions, questions...

Am feeling very ambivilent about the possibility of a move. Some moments I'm OK with it and would welcome a change of scene, and some moments I feel my throat closing up. I think my biggest worry is the boys' schooling. S. will be starting 1st grade tomorrow, which is pretty intense in Flanders. The flemish school system has an outstanding reputation and the kids hit the ground running as soon as they enter elementary school. This year he'll start reading, writing, doing basic math and probably writing sonatinas...

He's very well adjusted so I think he'd weather the transition fine, but the language question bothers me. Best case scenario if we do move would be to include the tuition for an international school in M's package. (but that's a long shot...) S's english is fine, and I've heard the school there is pretty good, but tuition is prohibitively expensive-- there's no way we could afford it out of our own pockets.

So it could be that our only option is to put him into a german school. Which would be the worst case scenario because he speaks absolutely zero german. It's so excruciating for a kid to switch schools even without a language barrier-- when I think of throwing S. into the deep end without even rudimentary german I feel physically ill! B. would do fine-- it would be an adjustment but he's still in nursery school and can take it slowly.

Both kids seem to have a propensity for languages-- I don't think it would take them very long to pick up german, and of course I know that they will be fine in the big picture and probably come out stronger for it, but I'm still incredibly stressed about the transition period.

But then again this move isn't 100% certain yet. I seem to be putting the cart before the horse. My next set of paranoid ramblings might be about M. combing Brussels looking for suitable jobs...

30 August, 2005

Cloud Atlas: an incredible journey

Am finishing up an absolutely amazing book: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Mitchell is an incredibly gifted writer and the book is full of really profound (and often funny) statements that I keep going back and re-reading. My copy is completely dog-eared because I'll run across something and mark it for later, and I normally don't do that!

The story line is complex and sometimes a bit heavy-- it's actually a collection of short stories about six seemingly unrelated characters. It transcends space and time and travels from the 19th century up into the future and back again.

Mitchell's brilliance lies in his ability to act as a ventriloquist by using six completely different styles to portray his characters. Sometimes this makes for difficult reading-- had a hard time slogging through the first chapter and the central chapter about Sloosha's Crossing, but the whole ties together beautifully to form a masterpiece.

There are a couple of hilarious chapters about Timothy Cavendish's (mis)adventures while trying to escape a resthome to which he has been committed by his vindictive brother. And two chapters about composer Robert Frobisher are both funny and poignant.

Highly recommend this one-- it's the most original, well-written book I've read in a long time...

28 August, 2005

Get thee to an exorcist!

This evening I heard a lot of moaning and groaning upstairs. Raced up only to discover that we have been invaded by "Zombies from the North Planet"...

27 August, 2005

Need a laugh?

We just got finished watching Undertaking Betty (Plots With a View), a hilarious black comedy from Nick Hurran. Great cinematography and some truly slapstick moments. Christopher Walken plays this nutty funeral director with some very innovative ideas about how to spice up the funeral business.

I had a couple of moments when I wanted to shake the lead character senseless, but otherwise the casting was great, and there were some truly funny moments in there. Would love to hear what other people think of it-- please drop me a line (or leave a comment) if you've seen it and let me know what you thought!


26 August, 2005

Mission control to Houston: We have blog!

Hi everyone! Welcome to my blog! We have so much going on in our lives right now and I thought this would be a good way to keep family and friends abreast of our current news / adventures!

(Plus I'm feeling old and need a chance to master some new technology and keep up with all of the youngsters I work with!)

The boys return to school next week-- they can't wait!!! S. will be starting first grade and is so ready to start reading! B. is just dying to see his friend T and to tell everyone about the 300 C Touring!

I guess the main news for us at the moment is the decision to shut down the head office here in Belgium and move it to Stuttgart! M. has recently been promoted and is running the office and will have his hands full dealing with the transition on both personal and professional fronts.

It looks like we've got some big decisions to make in the coming months. We've moved so many times before, but this would be the first time that the kids would have a major change of schools and I have to admit that worries me plenty... More news as soon as we hear anything...

(note: my snazzy headwear in this picture was to prevent being fried to a crisp and was **not** a fashion statement or by-product of local wine...)