26 February, 2009

Real BeijingeRs

I really enjoyed this taste of Chinese Rap. (*Note: It wasn't what I was expecting!)

And I enjoyed it even more when I got to read the translation of the lyrics posted at the Language Log. (It was also nice to see the proof that I really had heard him say "Pay Attention!".)

For breakfast I had a slice of culture with my tea and I really liked it!

24 February, 2009


My wireless is back up! (*happy dance*) And thank God, because there were all kinds of interesting things going on on the Internet while I was gone! Procrastinating something? I've got some great diversions lined up for you today!
  1. As usual Jennifer says exactly what I've been thinking, but then so much better!
  2. I can never get enough of Anno-- really, if both of us weren't already married I'd probably be hanging around her garden gate with a fistful of handpicked daisies. This poem radiates such contentment and sweetness that it should probably be cross-stitched and hung up in someone's kitchen.
  3. I really enjoyed watching this trailer.
  4. Got any children's birthdays coming up? Because I've got the perfect gift idea for you!!!
  5. This recipe made my mouth water!
  6. I got my ticket to see the Dalai Lama in Frankfurt this summer!
  7. In the past few days I've gotten sucked into the black hole that is Facebook. On the one hand it's completely fascinating, on the other, I don't think I need this kind of distraction in my life! All of a sudden my inbox is filling up with friendship requests from people from all different phases of my life! Some of these requests are thrilling and welcome, but others are from people I never knew very well. I'd like to just keep my "friends" list small-- focus on quality rather than quantity, but get the feeling that Facebook is generally a numbers game and that this is just not "done". I feel guilty about ignoring some of these requests-- am interested: what is your protocol as to who you befriend and whose requests you pass up?

16 February, 2009

We are not amused.

In an attempt to clear up our nonstop Internet problems I'm about to disconnect our router and send it in for a replacement. This means I'll be offline for the next few days. (Although it should be technically possible to surf using a land cable we haven't been able to get it to work for some reason...)

Hope to be back up and running again soon.

13 February, 2009

Fasching Icon

It's Fasching time again here in Germany and bizarro costumes are popping up left and right in the grocery stores.

Believe it or not, I passed up this once-in-a-lifetime costume opportunity. And it turned out to be a good thing, because I returned home from the salon yesterday with my own built-in costume. I don't know if she was harboring a secret grudge or what, but the stylist convinced me to let her color my eyebrows. I'm always up for trying out something new, so I figured "why not?"

I'll tell you why not: because it looks absurd. That's why not.

I got back to my chair and looked in the mirror, and was rendered speechless. I look like Elizabeth Taylor. But not in her glamorous years-- no, this look recalls the days when she was courting husband #7 and drinking cooking sherry straight out of the bottle.

I might have been better off with the Negro costume...

*Photo thanks to People.com

10 February, 2009

At least I wasn't stark naked!

Since this anthrax has been lingering on for so long I spent the weekend considering the merits of a blood test. I was feeling incrementally better, but figured it might not be bad to rule out anemia or something else that could possibly be dragging me down. Eventually decided against it-- the validation of hearing that, yes, I'm still sick, wouldn't be worth the exposure I'd get to 10 other sick people in the doctor's waiting room.

Monday morning came and when the kids left for school I took the dog out for a short walk. After about 250 meters my legs started feeling rubbery and my head started spinning. And I got angry! Stormed home, sent the dog into the house, hopped into the car and drove straight to the doctor's office. Checked in and went and sat in the waiting room, all the while seething with indignation and dizziness.

Let me tell you something about German doctors' waiting rooms: they're cold. They keep the windows open, probably assuming that the air circulation will help cut down on the germs pirouetting through the air. So I was sitting there for about 45 minutes with my jacket on, brooding, when suddenly I realized:

Underneath my jacket? I'm. still. wearing. my. pajamas.


Yes, people, I actually went into town wearing baggy sweatpants, a tattered Band Aid T-shirt, and no bra. I hadn't brushed my teeth or my hair. Wasn't even sure if I'd gotten all the mascara off of my eyes the evening before-- for all I knew I was sporting the raccoon-look on top of everything else.

Welcome to my nightmare...

09 February, 2009


Have spent a lot of time stumbling around the Internet this week and have run across a lot of really interesting websites! (And a lot of junk as well, of course!)

This page is as horrifying as it is fascinating! We couldn't get enough of it, even though it totally made my skin crawl! (WARNING: Not for the faint of heart!)

07 February, 2009

In sickness and in health (2)

We have been together for more than 15 years now, yet on any given day I can easily come up with a dozen reasons why M is the best thing since sliced bread.

Yesterday morning I was having a good wallow in a steaming tar-black puddle of self pity. After letting me cry mascara and probably a bit of snot on his shirt, M coaxed me out of my bed and got me out of the house for some fresh air and more importantly, a fresh perspective.

Then he walked the dog, cleaned up the kitchen and fielded the kids. And later on that afternoon he bought me a present. Diamonds don't do a thing for me, but this? This to me says "forever"! ;-) (No more whiny posts about dog hair!)

Carol, who broke her ankle earlier this month, wrote a beautiful post about the new appreciation she's found for her marriage during hard times. Luckily I'm nowhere near as compromised as she is right now, but have just been reminded by M's daily kindness and support of how thankful I am for our marriage and the fact that we found each other so many years ago...

06 February, 2009

Good friends and baby steps

A friend came over today, ignored the mess and the doghair on my floors and served me lunch! After she left I stretched out on the couch and relaxed. What a treat!

Am feeling incrementally better each day. Still can't let the dog out without feeling like I'm might pass out, but at least I've been sitting upright for a majority of the day! That's already a major improvement!

**photo courtesy of clipmarks.com

05 February, 2009

Correlation between low self-esteem and materialism

I found this article fascinating, even if a lot of it is just plain common sense.

Quote of the week:
“The only reason a great many American families don't own an elephant is that they have never been offered an elephant for a dollar down and easy weekly payments.”
There's plenty of materialism here as well, though. I don't think that European families would necessarily be any slower to jump on the elephant trend if they could. But rather than weekly payments they'd just by it Aldi.

04 February, 2009

(near) deathbed epiphany

Believe it or not I'm still sick. And I'm sick of being sick. The flu hit me pretty hard about three weeks ago, then simmered on the back burner for two weeks, and then reared its ugly head again. I'm wiped out! Saw a doctor, and he confirmed what I'd already suspected: it's probably a virus and the only thing to do now is rest and wait. and maybe grumble a little.

Yesterday I was writing a (somewhat whiney) email to a friend and bemoaning the fact that I need to get back to health if only just to be able to cook again. M has done a great job in the evenings of taking over the kids and the housework, but he has been feeding us toast and pizza and all sorts of ready-made "food" from the supermarket.

The funny thing is, he is able to cook, just has no interest in making anything other than pancakes and the occasional extravagant Dutch meatball when he starts feeling carnivorous.

The other thing that's been wearing me out over the past couple of weeks are lunches. The kids are growing and eating nonstop, which means that lunch turns into a marathon of me running back and forth to the kitchen and acting as a short order cook. I'd never noticed it before, but I'm even toasting their bread for them, which is ridiculous!

And suddenly it dawned on me: over the years I've been pushing M and the kids out of the kitchen. I love to cook, and have staked this territory out as my own. They have become completely dependent on me for their sustenance, and I am doing them (and myself) a disservice!

As of today there are new rules around here at Chez V. I'll provide one warm dish for S and B when they get home from school. If they are still hungry after that they're welcome to eat all the fruit, cereal, cheese, toast and plain yoghurt they want, but they must prepare it themselves. And once a week on Wednesdays the boys will help me plan and make dinner. After all, cooking isn't all that hard, it's just a matter of practice.

Thanks to a good spin-job S and B see this new turn of events as a sign that they're maturing and they're excited about their new responsibilities. (for now.) And I'm feeling relieved and am glad I finally wised up and can pass on some new important skills...

I may have been feeling crappy lately, but there is a silver lining to this puss-colored cloud: my near-deathbed epiphany. Now if I can just finally beat this virus so that I can join the land of the living again-- then we'll be golden!