Monday, May 31, 2010

Two things growing and making me happy.

Two other things.

Big heads, little ego.
In the garden.

I think maybe those are peonies...? I'm really not sure - I'm much better at killing plants than identifying them.

Mother Nature wants her tree (my bench) back.
On the terrace.

A small bit of nature reclaiming the tree, long since cut down and formed into my bench.


Clogs. Are. Back.

Of course, my clogs have never been and will never be on trend.

I mean we're talking:

Chanel cute vs. Romika function

But, at least they tangentially tie in to the current zeitgeist. (Another German English word to add to the mental list!)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Bowling and Resolving

I recently read a book called The Happiness Project. I plan to talk a lot more about the book, how it has inspired me and my future plans. But, for now, suffice it to say that the author - while not an unhappy person - set about analyzing and repairing the ways that she was either undermining or failing to enhance her own happiness.

(While this feels like a jump, bear with me.) I wasn't really feeling like bowling today - a little under the weather and tired in that The Man's been gone for a month that's almost over kind of way. But, the kiddos had asked about bowling earlier in the week and I had promised to take them Friday evening after school. And even if they had seemingly forgotten, I figured I'd get a jump start on one of my own Happiness Project resolutions I've been kicking around - FOLLOW THROUGH.

I generally try to follow through on things I've told them. I will admit to begging off and trying to rationalize more often than I should. But, mostly I will admit to silently appreciating when they seem to forget and I feel like I'm off the hook. But, what kind of lesson is that, really? Ok kids, make sure you follow through on things that other people hold your feet to the fire on. Everything else is mellow yellow. No.

So, armed with three pocket packs of kleenex and a nagging sinus headache, off we went. And we had a fantastic time.


Bowling balls take WAY too long to come back. Also, her mother would like it noted that this outfit was entirely Cheeseball contrived with no input whatsoever from anyone taller.

If I hadn't followed through, we wouldn't have had all that fun and would have instead spent the evening at home where I would have felt guilty and they would have felt put upon and everybody would have been a little grouchy about it. With this little success under my belt, I am now completely resolved to start resolving and get my own Happiness Project underway.

If you could think of one action or resolution you could make that would decrease negativity in your life and increase positivity, what would it be?

A Photo Cliche, a Cliche and A Commandment

Mom has a penchant for photo clichés.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Thou shalt not leave Cheeseball out of pictures.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Failing To Bring Home The Bacon

Ahhhh it’s so nice to be back! I admit that I probably got a lot more done in the real world without any Internet access. But, I can’t wait to get back in touch with everyone and to get back to blogging!

After about a month of rain (welcome home, Pacific Northwesterners!), we’ve had some days of amazingly beautiful weather recently. Cheeseball and I have been having picnics on the terrace, we’ve all been exploring our town and finding new parks, we’ve eaten lots of ice cream, gone to the Wilhelma Zoo in Stuttgart and all kinds of other lovely things.

We’ve also been embracing buying fresh food daily at the butcher, the bakery, the fruit and veggie (obst and gëmuse) man. Last weekend, the butcher was advertising a special on what I swore was bacon.


Looks like bacon, no? I was a little surprised when they handed me the giant slab of meat and not slices, but whatever. I have a big, scary knife.

It might have cut up better with a less big, less scary knife given that mine sliced right through the small bones in the base of the huge hunk of meat and then I had to dig out the shards.


But, as much as it looks like bacon, I guess it wasn’t bacon. Because it cooked up like pork chops! Super fatty pork chops, shaped like bacon.

not bacon

I guess it wasn’t cured…? None of us were quite up for super fatty pork chops first thing in the morning, so the dog has been enjoying a rather expensive daily feast, shaped like bacon.

So, tell me, what the heck was it? And what was I supposed to do with it? Was I supposed to take it home and cure it myself? Was I supposed to cut it into fatty, short pork chops? Was I supposed to bread it, fry it and serve it with potatoes? Ha ha ha, just a little German food humor on that last one there, folks.

Any ideas?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The view from Das Sushi

Just sharing a few pictures today.

This castle (although it’s not really what I picture in my head when I think castle) is very close to our house. The kids love the swans and the moats and I love how the whole building is leaning forward like it’s really trying to catch what you’re saying.

burg kalteneck, holzgerlingen, germany

I haven’t checked out the inside yet, but now that everything is organized and the government paperwork (SO MUCH GOVERNMENT PAPERWORK) is mostly in order, it’s very high on my list of things to do.

During the couple of weeks of beautiful weather, we were all over the place on the bike. It’s been raining and raining and raining for the past few weeks, so less biking but it sure feels like home. The first time Cheeseball and I tried to find our way to post from home, we got severely lost. It added a little more than an hour to the trip, a giant mountain of a climb and I’m not sure how many miles, but it meant we got to see beautiful things like this.

bike path, Badem-Wurttemburg, Germany

bike path, Badem-Wurttemburg, Germany

It all worked out in the end and now I know the way and can spend less time saying “chilly goo!” to unsuspecting passersby and more time hauling two thirds of my body weight in the form of Cheeseball and a giant trailer like an ant.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Flowers and Foreign Languages

One of the things I was really looking forward to about Germany was the fresh flowers. I love having fresh flowers in the house, and Germans are very into nature and bringing it indoors. Cheeseball and I went to the Friday farmer’s market down the street from the house last week and while I was too intimidated to take any pictures while there, I got one at home that I just have to share.

german variety MLB daisies

How hilariously random is that!? Home run! American baseball teams! Clearly these must be the not widely known German variety MLB daisies. This is one of the things I love most about living in a foreign country. The delightfully random and funny ways that the familiar pops up amongst the foreign.

I’ve noticed a lot of English used in advertising. I haven’t yet figured out exactly what the incorporation conveys to the average German, but it must signify something. Sophistication? Affordability? Modernity? Really, I have no idea. There was a matratzen (mattress) store near the hotel with the giant letters emblazoned on the outside wall. Why? I don’t know. If, say, Mattress Warehouse had plastered on their window, I would not have had a clue what that even meant let alone why they picked a random other language for their advertising.

You also hear stuff on the radio like German German German hit music German German and German German German stau German German German stop and go and I love picking it out. Stau means traffic jam. And the random use of English for stop and go has had me wracking my brain trying to come up with random foreign language usage in English. There are things from other places like croissant or sushi. And then we implement some words like kindergarten or tsunami. I’m knocking out a mental list. What can you think of to add to it?

Back to the flowers. I’ve been busy tossing them up all over the house and they make me happy.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bringing Sushi Back (Sort of)

It feels like it’s been for-ev-ver since I last blogged, but I guess it’s only been about three weeks. In the space-Internet continuum, that is forever. I have so much to say, that I don’t even know where to start but I promise to make every effort to rein it in, Bubba.

We’re all settled in to our new house and we love, love, love it. We were expecting to downsize, coming from a three bedroom American house to little European quarters but this place is several hundred square feet bigger than the house we just finally closed on (woohoo!). And that’s not even counting the two attics or the giant wine cellar. We got rid of a ton of stuff before moving here, and now we have more space and less stuff and really what’s better than that? I will say, though, that the layout is definitely very European and nothing makes that clearer than the tiny little Ikea couch I bought that is currently serving as an obstacle to the laundry room instead of family seating because it doesn’t fit up the staircase. When The Man finally gets back and our good friends move here next month, the guys are going to have to heave ho the little couch over the terrace and OUT OF MY LAUNDRY ROOM HALLWAY.

I guess I haven’t taken a whole ton of pictures of the house, because the décor all feels so transitional. But, here’s an overexposed, blindingly bright picture of the garden and the side of the freaking huge house. I can’t wait until those lilacs bloom!

Cheeseball started German kindergarten last week. She loves being in school and I think it’s really helping her with her interest in learning German. Of which she previously had none. Don’t get me wrong, she’s picked up a few things. Danke schön. (Thank you) Wie geht’s? Gut, danke. (How are you? Good, thanks.) And, of course, the incredibly important ich möchte ein eis. (I would like ice cream.)
But, most of her German is more Cheeseball than German. Entschuldigen (excuse me, as in hello there pay attention to me, please) and Entschuldigung (excuse me, as in oops sorry, didn’t mean to squash your toe) are both pronounced chilly goo and translate as either “oops, sorry” or “how do we get home?”.

I talked before about “tchuss” as a farewell, and in CheeseballDeutsch, it’s pronounced juice. Except more pink and sparkly and makes everyone smile. Kind of like this.

She also knows alles which means “that’s all” but she translates as “no chocolate cookies for Cheeseball” and gets very upset at the bakery when you ask for croissants and pretzels and then say alles. NO, NOT ALLES. Also, cookies. Then you say “chilly goo, Cheeseball, but the baker only understands German!” and then you’re the meanest mommy EVER.

Ok, stopping now. I still won’t have Internet at home for another week, but I’m scheduling a few posts to go up in the meantime so you don’t have to read my whole oh my gosh life is freaking fascinating right now and I could write an entire novel about it - not a good novel, but one of those really long ones that you had to read in school that jump all over the place and go on and on and on and seem like a big waste of letters and awfully naval gazing thought process all at one time. You’re welcome.