26 February, 2011


Goofball tagged me for a meme and since I'm procrastinating doing laundry and cleaning the bathrooms this morning I'm all over this one! ;-)

Rule #1: the tagged person must write their answers on their blog and replace any question they dislike with a new question they formulated themselves.
Rule # 2: tag 4 people to do this quiz. The tag-ee must state who tagged them.

1. If you have pets, do you see them as merely animals or are they members of your family?
Our pets are members of the family, albeit extremely messy ones. Luckily the other members of my family rarely vomit on the carpet or spread around half their body weight in stray hair...

2. If you could have a dream come true, what would it be? To live a long, happy, healthy life.

3. What would you do with a billion dollars?
Travel, make some donations to Doctors Without Borders, Planned Parenthood and NPR and then save whatever's left.

4. What helps pull you out of a bad mood?
SUNSHINE, Long hikes in the country with my dog, laughing at my husband's dry sense of humor.

5. What is your bedtime routine?
I meditate and then do some mindless surfing with M.

6. If you are currently in a relationship, where did you meet your significant other?
On vacation back in 1993. He was my big summer romance! :-)

7. What kind of books do you read?
I'm hit or miss. Can never quite predict what's going to grab me right in that moment. For the past couple of years I've been trying to only read books in German-- friends will recommend a book and I'll buy the German version. That keeps my language skills well-oiled but my head is often in a state of confusion.

8. What is one luxury you allow yourself to indulge in without feeling guilty?
I take M's dress shirts to the cleaners. Life is too short IMHO to iron *anything*.

9. What's your fear?
That something terrible to could happen to M or the kids.

10. Would you give up all junk food for the rest of your life for the opportunity to see outer space?
absolutely. I don't eat a lot of junk food in the first place, so it seems like it would be a pretty easy trade-off!

11. What's the first thing you do when you wake up?
Stretch and then feed all the creatures. (Including the human ones)

12. If you could change one thing about your significant other, what would it be?
I wish that he loved to cook!

13. If you could pick a new name for yourself what would it be?

14. If you had to choose between six months of sun or six months of rain, what would you choose?
I don't think I would survive 6 months of rain.

15. If you could eat only one thing for the next six months what would it be?
Peanut butter sandwiches.

16. What is the thing you enjoy about blogging the most?
Keeping track of everything so that I can laugh about it all later.

17. Do you prefer salty or sweet foods?
Salty. Have never been able to handle sugar so I don't even really know what I'm missing.

18. What items are in your purse right now?
wallet, cupcake-flavored germ gel (thanks Kel!), ChapStick, a pen, old receipts and a bandaid.

19. If you had to choose between vacationing at the beach or in the mountains, where would you go?
The beach. I'm lucky enough to be able to see mountains every so often, but I'm seriously lacking in the beach department.

20. What do you watch on television that you know you shouldn't?
Believe it or not I don't watch TV. We only have basic channels and I haven't ever taken the time to find any shows here that I like. Instead I tend to waste a lot of time watching bad Internet...

I tag the following people who are welcome but in no way obliged to do this meme:
Chui Hsia

25 February, 2011

How many fingers are you holding up?

On Tuesday at Aikido a somewhat overzealous sparring partner threw me and I came down hard on the back of my head. I didn't even have time to react-- one minute I was rushing at him and the next thing I knew I was lying on my back and gazing up at the ceiling. I think I might have actually had a light concussion-- felt dizzy and unfocused for the next 24 hours. :-P

Of course this happened shortly after I'd been mentally congratulating myself for all the progress I've made learning how to fall properly and roll in order to diffuse the impact. In my mind I'm moving like Steven Seagal, but I'm afraid the reality is closer to Miss Piggy. (Hiiiiiiiiya!)

24 February, 2011

Not one of my finer moments.

This morning I was perched on the sofa, stealing reading time before I walked B to school. Was totally engrossed in my book and went to reach for my ginormous glass o' tea without looking, knocked it over and THE WHOLE THING SPLASHED OVER A STRIP OF ELECTRICAL OUTLETS THAT WAS LYING NEXT TO IT!

The whole house went dark. I was so shocked (har har) that I was also afraid to put my feet down on the ground because there was tea there too and I was convinced I'd electrocute myself, B would rush to my aid, electrocute himself, and S would come home after school to find our charred remains floating in a scummy pool of Japanese sencha.

Luckily I pulled myself together and called M-- of course he was in the car with a couple of colleagues, which made me feel even stupider, because I was on speakerphone. Hi, yes, this is your wife, and I've, ummmm, done something very stupid.

All's well that ends well. I mopped everything up, cleaned the pools of tea out of the electrical strip and unplugged it, and when I flipped the fuse the house hummed back to life without shocking the beejeezus out of me...

Thank god for small miracles.

20 February, 2011

Have fallen madly in love...

...with a house. We've made an offer and it's been accepted! We're working on all the paperwork now and hope to own it by the end of March! Am still in shock.

More news to come...

04 February, 2011

Hot zone.

The kid with whom S and B walk to school succumbed to some nasty stomach virus last weekend. Then we spent the whole of Monday afternoon hanging out at another friend's house while I drank coffee with the mother. The very next day they were *all* felled by this stomach virus. (It's apparently so bad that they needed to keep a bucket in front of the toilet while they were sitting on i!.)

I've had a bad feeling all week, am waiting for the axe to drop. S was sick yesterday and today, but just with a headache. Today he was better so he had a friend over to play. Right in the middle of the action the kid suddenly went very pale, said: "I don't feel very well, can your mother please take me home?" S just called and his mother said he now has a stomach virus as well.

So now the question is: are we spreading it or is it stalking us?!

Code Red

I called our landlord yesterday to tell him we might have a slight gas leak down in our basement. And I stressed *slight* because you could only smell if if the door has been closed for a while.

S was home from school sick, so after placing that call I left him here in his pajamas to go pick up B. While I was gone the landlord came by, but S isn't allowed to answer the door when we're not here, so he just ignored the doorbell.

Apparently when the landlord called the people at the gas company they went into full-tilt emergency mode. They immediately dispatched a van which came screeching to a halt in front of our house. Neighbors are coming outside to see what's going on, and the landlord is ringing the doorbell nonstop.

The gas guy says that if he can't get hold of me in the next few minutes that they're going to have to call the police to break in! D is going insane barking, which was great, because our landlord (who's a slimeball) has the keys but is afraid to go in because he doesn't want to be torn to pieces by our vicious guard dog. :-D (I don't plan on correcting this particular misperception.)

I pulled up to see him standing on our driveway looking frantic, neighbors out on their driveways rubbernecking, and I knew poor S was hiding somewhere up in his pj's upstairs in his room!

All's well that ends well. The leak was very small and just due to an old washer-- they replaced that and went on their merry way. And luckily I gave the neighbors something to gossip about over their coffee this weekend. :-) (Oh, and I didn't end up blowing up the neighborhood. Maybe they'll even thank me for that!)

02 February, 2011

Short circuit

I'm on a Russian kick again. It's haunting me so much that lately I've been listening to language lesson tracks on my iPod on my daily walks with the dog. They're really helping and at least during that hour it's as if a door opens in my head and the Russian comes flooding out.

I must be quite a spectacle-- walking along briskly, muttering to myself with wild hair and a distracted look on my face. Today I was going through drills with Serge, who was asking: "How long has he been in Moscow?" "три года (Three years)." "How long have you been in Moscow?" "пять лет (5 years)".

Suddenly I realized that two men were standing in front of me, petting D. One of them was moving his lips. I ripped out one of my earbuds: "Wie bitte?" (I beg your pardon?)

In my left ear I heard him say: "Wie alt ist Ihr Hund?" (How old is your dog?) just as Serge was shouting into my right: "Cколько лет Катя уже живёт в Москве?" ( How long has Katya already lived in Moscow?)

I smiled brightly and said: "Семь лет." (7 years.)

They looked at me strangely.

"Oh sorry. Zeven." (which is 7 in Dutch.)

"Was? Sieben?! Sieben was? Monate?" (What? Seven? Seven what? Months?)

"Nee." (Dutch.)

Sieben Wochen? Nein, doch? (Seven weeks?! Can't be right!)

"Nein. Sieben... Sieben... Hmm. Ans! Nee. Jahr! Wow. Севодня geht mir Deutsch niet gut." (I can't even begin to explain that one. Mix of 5 languages, completely mangled-- about the effect you'd get if you crossed a Great Dane with Chihuahua.)

By this time they're smiling and nodding and backing away from me. It wouldn't have surprised me if smoke had been coming out of my ears. I waved goodbye to them and finished my walk. This time without Serge...