26 October, 2007

Scattered thoughts

After a couple more hiccups I did eventually get to Frankfurt to see my friend. We stayed up late into the night talking about life, the universe and everything...

There are so few people in this world with whom we are truly ourselves, warts and all.

It was definitely worth all the hassle the last couple of days to be able to spend a few hours with someone who has known me, truly known me, for 20+ years. Friendships like these are rare and precious...


M took the dog to Holland last weekend where she will enjoy a brief sojourn with Oma and Opa. Today we got a call from Oma, however-- her brother is ill so they will be driving down to France for a while. With D in tow. Who knew she was destined to become such a seasoned international traveler?

B told me today that I shouldn't worry. If robbers were to break into our house I should just let him know and he'll call an old acquaintance from kindergarten. because he's actually a secret agent...

OK, enough procrastinating. I need to go finish packing!

24 October, 2007

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

A friend of mine who is living in Dublin called me a couple of weeks ago to say that she will be in Frankfurt for a conference.


"The 25th."

Shit. We're supposed to be leaving for the States on the 27th. A jaunt to Frankfurt would be fun but will create a lot of additional stress. I was lying slumped over in a conflicted heap on the couch.

M started laughing at me: "You are SO LAME!!!"

He reminded me that this is my bestest friend and that I haven't seen her in almost two years. That I would be really happy if I made the effort and got to spend some time with her.

He's right. I've vowed to worry less about the little details in life and to try and be more spontaneous. I called my friend back to tell her I'd come, obstacles be damned!

(Little did I know that the obstacles would start appearing thicker and faster than flyspots on a windshield on a country road in June.)

S had a school commitment that he couldn't get out of that would delay my start. Suddenly M had to go to Greece and would not return until Thursday evening. And of course it took a while to find someone who could take care of the kids for the few hours between the time that I left and when M returned for the handoff.

Finally everything was set! I bought my train tickets and....

(drumroll please!)

...Deutsche Bahn as announced a strike for local and regional trains between 2pm tomorrow and 8am Friday-- almost exactly the times I was supposed to be going.

You think someone is trying to tell me something?

23 October, 2007

Free Rice!

Jen over at A2eatwrite posted a link to a great website called Free Rice.

It's basically a vocabulary quiz and for every correct answer they donate 10 grains of rice to impoverished people through the United Nations. (wait-- ...through the United Nations to impoverished people? No. Shit. I seem to have left something dangling there somewhere....)

ANYWAY! My grammar sucks this evening but I just played and I am RED HOT when it comes to vocabulary! (and being humble.)

Quick! Go play! Go donate!!!

22 October, 2007

Bits and pieces

1.) Lately my traffic has gone up 30% due to people looking for this picture which I included in this post. And while I certainly wouldn't mind being considered a drag queen aficionado I have to give credit where credit is due: this photo was taken by Günter Hofstädter.
2.) While we're talking about "traffic accidents", I just wanted to clarify that "Supersize Betsy" is not my hefty alter-ego. Somehow I doubt my witty repartee will satisfy those of you who come through here looking to be smothered in kinky belly fat. I think you're looking for Deviant Desires...

3.) S turns 8 on Saturday, but since the date clashes with travel plans we celebrated it last weekend.

Yes, that is an ice cream cone with candles in it. He swore he would rather have that than something homemade. I was actually feeling guilty about not baking until I realized: "DUH! Wise up! Less time in the kitchen means more time to fritter away elsewhere...."

4.) I suppose that as an avowed pacifist I should have my reservations about M's newfound passion for Tae Kwan Do, but really: HUBBA HUBBA!
5.) J update: A couple of you have asked about S's friend who suddenly starting having vision problems. He apparently needs a special pair of bifocal glasses and will undergo therapy to help him regain his binocular vision.

His mother says that strabismus runs in the family and that it could be stress-induced. (???) So far no one has mentioned the possibility of a brain tumor, which can be associated with sudden binocular vision problems. (And I certainly am not going to bring it up.) Let's just hope that it gets straightened out soon so that his family can get back to normal!!!

21 October, 2007

Never what you think it should be

Feeling uninspired for Halloween costume ideas? Never fear! WhiskeyMarie has got some holiday tips for you.

19 October, 2007

Note to self

Remind B when he gets home to stop sharing his water bottle with that kid who has the scabby fever blisters on his lips... **shudder**

17 October, 2007

Another reminder to count your blessings!

S's best friend is a big, good-natured kid. He's inherently kind and never fails to stick up for S if other kids give him a hard time.

This afternoon, as usual, I met up with them and the group of kids we all walk home with. I'd already noticed from a distance that J was rolling his eyes in a very disconcerting way. When I asked him if he was OK he said yeah, but that he had an appointment with the eye doctor scheduled for this afternoon. He then told me that suddenly he can't see out of one eye and that the other one has gone all blurry.

I took it with a grain of salt-- he has a talent for tall tales. But this afternoon S called to see how the appointment went and apparently the situation is so bad that J will have to go into the hospital and will miss school on Friday because he has an emergency appointment at a Sehschule for some kind of vision training.

I spoke to the father briefly and he said he still doesn't know much about J's condition, only that he'll have to undergo some more tests. He sounded extremely worried so I kept the call brief. But from what I understand this has come on quite suddenly, which sounds very alarming.

Let's just hope that he's going to be OK again very soon!

15 October, 2007

Time is FLYING!

B turned six yesterday!

13 October, 2007

Books, books, books!!!

I've been tagged by Anno to do a book meme. Which is pretty convenient since I seem to be in a bit of a blogging dip.

Total number of books: No clue. Let's just say that in the interest of public safety my bookshelf should probably be roped off with yellow plastic ribbon and marked an avalanche warning*:

Last book read: Sea Glass by Anita Shreve, one of my favorite authors. Lately I'm trying to read fiction exclusively in German-- it's getting easier but is still a bit of a struggle sometimes. This book was so gripping, though, that I devoured it in one weekend.

Last book bought: Seeking the Heart of Wisdom by Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein, which is a Vipassana guide by two very inspiring people. So far I'm enjoying this one more than the last Kornfield book I read because it's less abstract and really focuses on deepening the Insight Meditation experience.

Most meaningful book read lately: Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood. I love Atwood's style, and this book was a real treat. The storyline follows the recollections of a woman who is struggling to accept some deep seated insecurities that plague her as an adult. Atwood masterfully pieces together a tapestry of memories that include key defining moments in her life. The protagonist was teased mercilessly as a child and this book explores the darker sides of human nature, but in a very unsentimental way. It's an excellent read and I can highly recommend it!

*Photo thanks to clearchannel.com

12 October, 2007

Need a laugh?

Virgin Trains has gotten creative in order to promote their new environmentally-friendly Pendolino train line. If you like the clip on the homepage you will also enjoy their series ofInternet Ads. Gotta love that dry British humor!

09 October, 2007

6:55am this morning

"Ummm, Mom? What happens when something painted gets wet?"

????? "You mean like a car, or something?"

I look down groggily and register that he's carrying a squirt gun.

"Why do you want to know?"

(Doing his best to look innocent. He would have been whistling if he only knew how to do it.)

"No reason. I was just wondering. The paint wouldn't slide off, or anything, would it?"

"No, but I don't think you should be doing any experiments."

"OK, thanks."

And he turned around and walked out of the room...


06 October, 2007

Only in Holland...

...can one spend the evening with one's parents-in-law watching a documentary about the plastic surgery boom featuring a full half-hour dedicated to "vaginal rejuvination" and cosmetic genital reconstruction.

04 October, 2007

Free Burma!

Free Burma!
More info on how you can participate at Free Burma! Spread the word!