30 June, 2006

The Final Countdown

The title of today's post is doubly appropriate since we're moving to the only country on earth where one is likely to hear the old Europa hit played regularly on the radio...

If the abomination in today's photo isn't a sign that it's time to leave I don't know what is! M found this on the floor of our guest room this morning. WTF!? I didn't even realize they could get this big-- it's like something straight out of a Lewis Carroll hallucination!

We're down to the final couple of days and things seem to be moving at warp speeds. The kids finished school today and leave on Sunday for a week with Oma and Opa while M and I work with the movers.

Don't know when our Internet connection will be cut off-- the phone is already gone and I'm wondering what's next! (keeps things exciting...) Will try to post again before we leave, but just in case I should probably bid you Auf Wienerschnitzel til we get set up in Stuttgart...

28 June, 2006

I SO needed this today!

I've found a new blog that's been cracking me up-- it's called Taste the World and I'm really enjoying her wacky hijinks.

Today was a double bonus because along with her post she included a link to this absolutely hilarious reading by David Sedaris.

26 June, 2006

Back to reality...

Sigh. I guess the wine my earlier euphoria is wearing off. I'm now serving fruit and pancakes to two starving Marvins who are wolfing it down so fast that one of them just gagged. twice. So much for the high life...

I just got back from a date!

M and I rarely go out to eat. (And I do mean rarely, like almost never. Think the last time was during our weekend in Arnhem back in October.)

He's working from a temporary office in Zaventem today and called me out of the blue this morning to tell me to meet him at Orange at 12:30. So instead of my usual noontime refrigerator raid, lunch found me enjoying good wine, excellent pasta and sparkling company!

I've always wanted to try this place out-- it's very chic. What a nice way to mark the end of this chapter in our lives!

25 June, 2006

How's this for racial profiling?

S was at a birthday party yesterday and M went along to help out. At one point he mentioned to the adults there that S is half-American. To which he got a surprised:

ARE YOU SERIOUS?! But he's not fat!

At least no one mentioned WMD's. They probably didn't dare, after they found out that B was born in metro-Detroit. You don't want to take any chances with homeys from the hood...

24 June, 2006

Think his train of thought just derailed

B was snuggling with M in bed this morning and declared that when he grows up he wants to be a dad and will do it exactly like M does. He let that sink in for a moment and then looked worried and said:

There's just one problem. Where am I going to get a car?

21 June, 2006

The start of a modelling career (for Frankenstein impersonators)

Was realizing this morning that I haven't posted any pictures of S in a while. But this wasn't exactly what I had in mind.

Witness the aftereffects of a short flight through the air stopped mid-trajectory by a wooden doorjamb.

Yes, that double goose-egg runs from his scalp, down his cheek and over his chin. I don't think I've every seen anyone hit anything that hard.

I actually had him doing times tables while we were applying ice just to see if his brains had been scrambled.

Fortunately he came away with nothing more than a massive headache.

And a pretty impressive set of pictures to e-mail to dad...

Poor little guy!

B had a nightmare in which lightning came in through his window and tore his bedroom apart. It certainly doesn't take a psychology degree to interpret that one!

Funny, the transition phase that I found so stressful didn't seem to affect the boys at all, but the actual move which I am finding so cathartic is wreaking havoc on their little psyches...

But that's not a martini!?

This picture cracks me up. Most pictures moms post of themselves on parenting blogs show them holding a cocktail. Here I am officially bucking the system. ;-)

I think my spot as "Nerd of the Year" has been secured...

20 June, 2006

Great analogy!

I made a big vegetable stir-fry tonight and B just couldn't get enough bamboo shoots. He asked for seconds, thirds, and I ended up picking the rest straight out of the pan and placing them on his plate where they disappeared instantaneously.

When he finally came up for air he sighed and said "I love those! They taste just like books smell!"

19 June, 2006

Finally looking forward

Only 2 more weeks and I'm finally feeling like we've got the ball rolling for this move. The moving company came by this weekend to do a survey and will come to start packing everything up on the 3rd.

German lessons have finished up and I am now spending my days sorting, cleaning, running errands and praying fervently that someone will go ahead and buy our house!

These past few months have been incredibly stressful for all of us. I've really started to notice it in the kids' behavior. They cry at the drop of a hat and are easily frustrated. But I had no idea just how off balance they are feeling until this weekend.

Apparently during a quiet moment S asked M: So are you and Mama going to get divorced?

And M was completely flabbergasted! "No, of course not, why?!"

"Well, because you're separated."

Apparently M's commute has been bothering S more than he's let on. And it seems that the parents of a couple of kids in his class are going through divorces right now, so it's on his mind.

I am going to be SO glad to close this chapter and can all be together again full-time in our new home! For so many reasons....

18 June, 2006

Ode to Me

S and B dedicated some time at breakfast this morning to sing my praises:

B: Mama is the best mama in the WHOLE world!
S: Yeah, what if we had a different mama?
B: (frowns)
S: And she blindfolded us and made us sit on a bench!
B: Oh NO! And then we couldn't walk around because we might bump into things or fall down!
That would be dangerous!
S: Or if a bird flew down and pecked through the blindfold and ate our eyeballs!

Who am I to argue with that kind of logic?!

16 June, 2006

Something to report to the authorities

How is it possible for a dog to shed this much?! I'm starting to suspect that Dogbert has commissioned small children in a third-world sweatshop to mass produce fur that she can dump by the sackful on my kitchen floor. There's really no other explanation...

14 June, 2006

Surefire "Hide and Seek" strategies

  1. It is advisable to send the labrador outside before attempting to hide anywhere in the house
  2. When hiding it's best to spit quietly if doghair gets in one's mouth from said labrador sitting on one's head
  3. One ploy which is sure to draw young players out of the woodworks-- keep counting past 25.

    One will then hear muffled voices calling out: NO MAMA! YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO STOP AT 25!!! Gotcha!

Hey, if pumpkins can turn into coaches...

We were late this morning (so what else is new) and I was racing around like a half-dressed chicken with its head cut off. And as I sped past my room I saw the dog and the cat huddled around a brown blob on the carpet.

Great, just what I need, another pile of excrement to clean up. Real or fake, I'm getting a little tired of being on poop duty lately.

But then the poop fluttered.

And upon closer inspection I saw that it was actually a baby bird! Which Catbert had apparently dragged in and dropped when Dogbert interrupted her!

I was so afraid she'd mortally wounded it-- picked it up gently and took it outside with the boys in tow. I could feel it quivering in my hands.

We got outside and I opened up my hands and it flew away-- a magical Hollywood moment in the midst of an otherwise mundane morning!

13 June, 2006

Too good to be true!

This weekend was great, but very surreal. I flew in for about 36 hours-- so weird (and fantastic!) to eat breakfast at home and then to hang out with my brother, sister-in-law and parents that same evening!

Another small detail that added to the Twilight Zone quality of the trip: my flight happened to be routed through O'Hare in Chicago where L lives. L and I have been fast friends since that fateful day in 10th grade when I tripped over my own feet and went sailing past her desk.

L is one of the few constants in my life-- one of the only friends who's stuck by me through thick and thin and weathered all the changes that inevitably come with with age and multiple moves. She's one of those rare, precious people who knows how to put my worries into context and who can cheer me up no matter how lackluster I'm feeling!

So I was flying back on Sunday afternoon, happy, but so fatigued I couldn't even see straight. Was starving because I refused to eat the high-fat, high-priced fare at the airport. Landed in Chicago with only a few minutes between flights-- was sprinting from one gate to the next when I got an SMS to make a detour past baggage claim.

And there was L with a lunchbox stuffed with healthy food! I had that same feeling you get as a kid when Santa has brought you exactly what you wanted most on your list!

If I had any artistic ability at all I would be busy chiseling a bust of L into marble! I love, love, LOVE this woman!!!

12 June, 2006

Home again, home again, jiggity jog

Just got back from my Grandparents' 61st wedding anniversary in Florida.

It was great to walk into a roomful of people whom I haven't seen for years but who follow along with events here via my blog! Thanks guys!

Am off to bed-- will post again tomorrow when I'm not completely cross-eyed...

09 June, 2006

Back on Monday.

Am off to Florida for the weekend-- my grandparents are celebrating their 61st wedding anniversary!

06 June, 2006

Cute, cute, cute!

We had friends over this weekend with their 2 1/2 year old son. B really relished his role as the "big kid" and enjoyed showing J the ropes...

05 June, 2006

The Dalai Lama visits Brussels

I just got finished with four days worth of teachings by the Dalai Lama here in Brussels.

The first three days were a set of in-depth lectures on Buddhist philosophy. His Holiness expounded on 5 chapters of a famous text written by Nagarjuna.

Today was a special ceremony for some of the monks, which was also very interesting.

The first day I showed up not realizing just how in-depth the lectures would be and I was pretty lost. Did some research, though, and got caught up-- this ended up being an extremely interesting crash course in Buddhism both as a religion and as a philosophy.

Everything you've heard about the Dalai Lama is true-- he's warm, funny and extremely charismatic. Even in a room filled with 4,000 people he still managed to be personable and to keep everyone's attention and admiration.

Think I need to let the dust settle, but I can honestly already say that this has been one of the most impressive experiences I've ever had.

(Photo thanks to the Tibetan Institute)

Save this post for possible evidence

Last week M gave the neighbors a hand carting some branches to the compost heap at the dump. And they invited us over for a drink last night to show their appreciation.

J was spewing bile, as usual, but last night he gave the immigrant topic a rest and saved his ire for the pigeons that roost in his yard and eat his plants.

After a few beers he offered to show us around his house and I was a little surprised to see a marksman's rifle leaning against the wall of his study. M asked him about it and he said "Oh, that's nothing! You should see the other rifle I've got!" and led us back to the bedroom to show us.

So he pulls out this serious-looking rifle and hands it to M, who kind of smiled and asked about the grooved tip-- "yes, yes, that's for the silencer." And then J starts digging in his nightstand to see if he can find it.

Meanwhile, his tipsy wife is chuckling and digging through their chest of drawers "I just know we've got bullets in here somewhere!"

When I'd recovered from my shock I said jokingly "J, what the heck do you have this for? You planning revenge on those pigeons?"

To which he replied "Oh no, Betsy. I use dum-dum bullets, which explode on impact. There wouldn't be enough of those pigeons left to put in the pan afterwards..."

02 June, 2006

Toothbrush follies

So I was thinking about yesterday's discovery and realized:

1. I should probably be thankful that he wasn't using my toothbrush.

2. B told me on two separate occasions last week that he cleaned the toilet seat. I am now wondering what he did it with...

01 June, 2006

Elementary, my dear Watson!

B has been complaining lately that his toothbrush tastes soapy. I thought it was strange, but I've rinsed it well, so I didn't really take him seriously.

It's only now that I'm putting two and two together and realize that he's been "cleaning" the bathroom sink regularly with his toothbrush and liquid handsoap.