Monthly Archives: February 2006

more opinions about me

Mama? I love you, but you’re just a little bit evil.

-the Sniglet

more opinions about dinner

He: Mama, what for dinner?
Me: Chicken noodle soup! Homemade!
He: Aww, why you hafta everytime make things I don’t like?
Me: No, this is great! If you’re sick, it’ll make you better, it’s like medicine!
He: Mama. I ate this soup one time and then I got a liiiiiiittle bit sicker.

Ignatz redeemed…this time

Oh, right! I should have mentioned this sooner. Remember the Lost Wallet, With Housekey Attached? Well, um. It has been found, in a place I was sure I’d looked, but not thoroughly enough. In DrBob’s drawer.

We have a…a thing-with-drawers (in German it’s called a Kommode, *snork*) in the front hallway, with one drawer for each family member. For hats, scarves, mittens, that sort of thing. I did a cursory sweep through all of them, but failed to spot the black wallet in among DrBob’s all-black accessory collection, because I didn’t really expect it to be there, because everyone in the house knows which drawer is theirs. With one exception.

Yes, things do wind up in the wrong drawers, occasionally, but only – ONLY – on DrBob’s watch. For instance, if the Sniglet’s hat finds its way into my drawer, it happens on the day DrBob picked him up from kindergarten. We also have a shoe-shelf, and we all put things on it when we first come in, just to get our hands free for shucking jackets etc. We’re all supposed to clean our stuff off the shoe-shelf right away, but we don’t always. So Ignatz remembered leaving his wallet on the shoe-shelf, but didn’t know what happened to it after that. I did posit that it might have gotten swept up in one of DrBob’s cleaning jags, but DrBob, angry about the lost wallet, did not appreciate being accused, and hotly denied it.

However. Everybody knows which drawer is whose. Nobody ever puts anything in DrBob’s drawer, except for DrBob. When he gets on his cleaning jags, he just wants every loose item out of sight – he does not, um, agree with my filing system, so he just throws everything in the nearest handy out-of-sight place. Frankly, all the evidence points to him this time. Of course he will never, ever admit that he might have been responsible for this, which means he won’t apologize, which is unfortunate.

Do not let this lull you into thinking Ignatz doesn’t have a problem with disorganization. He does. He never did find his pencil-case, though he managed to replace it with this funny Japanese thing my SIL sent one Christmas when, she told me, she was absolutely without inspiration and just threw some stuff in a box (1: thanks, Shel, those presents turned out to be really useful. 2: here we have reason to be glad Ignatz the Pack Rat never ever throws anything away). He never did find those other two house keys he lost, either, or any number of hats and gloves.

So yes, he is disorganized. But the point I wanted to make is that, while I do believe Ignatz has ADHD, and therefore has challenges to overcome that other kids don’t, I also want you to notice that he lives in an environment that exacerbates his problems. Largely due to me, because I have organization problems myself, and I don’t want you to think I’m ducking my responsibility here. But incidents like this one really, really don’t help. Because if all the evidence points to DrBob, and he authoritatively denies his role in the latest crisis, then either Ignatz’s self-esteem will have to take a hit, or else his respect for his father. Neither way is good.

This time Ignatz gave his dad a big hug and a thank you for finding his missing wallet. Nice that he remembered to say thank you, since that’s a chronic problem. But I think that means he’s shouldering all the blame for this mistake. Again.

Elemmaciltur said…

Go knit and find yourself some peace!

Arrgh. I re-designed the sweater for Ignatz and it’s much too small, since he decided to resume that whole growing-thing we thought he’d given up on. So now it’s a sweater for the Sniglet. I made the neck too tight and had to frog it – after I cut the yarn, so I’ll have to make a bigger neck with not-enough yarn, so more ends to tuck in, which is the single most hateful thing about knitting. See, even knitting can be stressful when I Get Like This.

Don’t worry though, I go through these phases. At some point it’ll all just go away and everything will be fine.

Also, DrBob is sick and increasingly grouchy. And the yard is full of (frozen, thawed, and now re-frozen) cat poop from the neighbor’s cat. And the house needs reorganizing, which means another trip to Ikea, but not until I get everything cleared out and…well, reorganized.

Hm. So all in all, I guess I’m glad that I never got an answer on my job application. Even though it looked like a pretty cool job. I really don’t have time for that right now. Of course, not getting a regular job means I should be picking up more freelance work here and there, which will leave me less time to find a regular job.

So now I’m watching the Finns slaughter the Russians (ice hockey – a rerun, no less) and while it doesn’t help me get my work done, a bit of vicarious violence is doing wonders for my mood.

battling overwhelm

DrBob had an article that needed proofreading, I got that done yesterday. 24 pages on self-fashioning via the Spanish colonial bureaucracy, urgh. He speaks um, somewhat disparagingly of historians these days, but I keep wishing he still was one. Then I might understand, oh, 10% of what I’m called on to proofread. Oh well, at least he’s not a linguist. Speaking of which, I’ve got a linguist who wants some proofreading done. I’m still thinking about it.

And DrBob’s just gone back to a website we translated awhile back and he found a few mistakes. So now he wants to go back over the whole thing, consisting of approximately one skillion jillion pages, which needs me. Um, isn’t he supposed to be working on that book which must be done by July or “It’s All Over” (whateverthehell “it” is)? Hellew, focus? Plus I’ve been here so long, doing this one specific thing – proofreading English texts written by Germans – I can’t tell anymore what sounds like good English and what is bad English that I’ve just gotten used to.

My brother sent me some inheritance-related paperwork ages ago that I still haven’t read. Apparently I have to deal with the IRS this year, because I had taxable income. Yay.

It’s snowing again. I’ve had this cold for weeks, and am now being attacked by several months’ worth of PMS, for no reason that I can think of.

Oh, I took Ignatz to Munich last Thursday! Exhausting, but productive. He went and started growing again, bizarrely – I think he was a size 128 for about three years – so he suddenly needed a buncha new shirts, right on the heels of my deciding that I’m not going to buy quick-disintegrating catalog crap anymore, which means going to an actual store. Of which – dig this – there aren’t any in this town! Wah! Not one kids’ clothing store, unless you count the used-stuff store, which apparently chooses their open hours via the dartboard method every day. Besides, as my readers with sons already know, between age 6 and 13 or so they totally trash their clothes, so nothing survives to be resold, and the used-stuff stores only have girl clothes in these sizes. So anyway. Due to a very annoying local tradition called Mad Thursday, Dorfener kids – and no other kids, anywhere in Germany – had the day off school. Woot! So that’s done. Oh right, and we saw a movie too. Um, Zathura. A science fiction story about why you have to be nice to your little brother.

Training the intern at work has been um, wearing. She’s nice, and she’s smart, if a bit nervous, and she’s not making any serious mistakes. But the job is so complicated that the only way to teach it is to have her do it while I watch over her shoulder and explain each new situation as it arises. Which, it turns out, is basically a recipe for a splitting headache that is now going into day 3 (yes I have taken something for it, lots of something. In fact, hot stock tip here: Advil).

Mrs Next Door wants to give up her English conversation class and asks if I would like to take over. Four students, one hour a week, €20 per class, so I would have to teach…er, about 35 classes, I think, to make up what I paid for the TESL course which I have never yet used. I should do it just for that, so the course will not have been a total waste. At the moment, though, I don’t feel like it would be wise to take on yet another thing. If I got a pet rock, it would probably die of neglect in a day or two. I have a few days to decide whether I want to teach the class, and should probably not make the decision in my current, crappy mood.

I have lots of other things to be crabby about too, but this has gotten long enough. Even I find me tedious at this point.

is it just me…

Nearly every girl figure-skater has included this move in at least one of her routines this Olympics. Excuse me, why are they all doing this? Is it graceful? Is it attractive? No! Every one of them looks like a dog at a fire hydrant.


alala —


A level headed person who always makes the wrong decision

‘How will you be defined in the dictionary?’ at

Sorry for the long silence, I’m feeling like a flaming poisonbitch and didn’t want to share the hate. No reason, probably just hormones.

a small problem with watching hockey on TV

I’m not really a TV person, though I don’t pretend this is any kind of virtue, which I think differentiates me from most non-TV people. It’s mostly circumstantial in my case: most of the good TV is on in the evening when I don’t have time to watch it, and I’m much too disorganized to remember things like what day it is, so I never manage to see the same show twice.

And while I don’t think I’m better than people who do watch TV, I do try to limit the kids’ access somewhat, just because I strongly suspect that if I didn’t impose limits, they’d never do anything else. So those are, more or less, the reasons why we have such a tiny television: TV doesn’t feature largely in our lives, and we don’t want the kids to get too fixated on it. Plus, there are few attractive yet affordable televisions, and the one we thought was cute happened to be also very small. And mostly I don’t mind having a small TV, except for two weeks every four years, when Olympic ice hockey happens and I can’t see the puck.


You are from Seattle…met Dr. Bob and moved to Germany?

Yeah, ~d and Linda both asked about that. Right, some people don’t know that story. I get to tell it a lot, and I never know which parts to include. I don’t want to leave out any important or interesting details, but I don’t want it to be all long and boring either.

I’m not really from Seattle itself, but from its catchment area. You know, every small town has teenagers who can’t wait to graduate and move to “the city”. Well, Seattle is our “the city”. And unless you’re actually from Seattle or thereabouts (or, oddly enough, Japan) you probably won’t have heard of my hometown.

So anyway, um. Uh, 1993 was a really bad year for me, and I uh, went a little crazy. Lost a couple jobs, wrecked a romantic relationship, did some scary risky stuff, traveled a lot, and basically acted like a person who had nothing to lose. Which I wasn’t, so that was really stupid. And part of that was that I just sort of… up and… went to South America. For no particular reason, with not a lot of money and no specific plan, just this weird restlessness. I went with Cindy, a woman I barely knew, and when we landed in Quito with our Lonely Planet Ecuador guide, another tourist (Nigel) noticed he had the same book as us, and asked if we wanted to share a cab into the city. We snagged another tourist (that was before the Ph.Ds (yes, two of them), but he eventually became Dr.Bob) in the airport, and a third (Anders) attached himself to our group as we were leaving the airport.

And the five of us were all there for different reasons, with different destinations, but we kind of separated and recongregated in various constellations over the next month. This is where I can easily bog down in extraneous detail, because some of the story is really cute. But that is the gist of how Dr.Bob and I met. The story comes up often because I am a Foreign Wife, so people are always asking me “So, did you meet your husband in the States, or here?” To which I reply “um, neither!” And then the whole sordid story comes out.

Incidentally, we lost track of Cindy and Anders, but we’re still in touch with Nigel. He’s visiting us this weekend, in fact.

So that’s how we met. How we wound up here is an even longer story, pieces of which will find their way here, over time.

Does he know he’s disorganized?

Someone – Vicki? I can’t find the comment now – asked this one. I asked him. He said yes, he knows, so I asked if he knows because we keep telling him, or does he know it for himself. A little of both, he said. I think he realizes he’s disorganized, but figures it’s just a basic feature, like being thin and blond, not a choice. Not something he can or should work to overcome. He used to shrug and offer “I’m just lazy” as an excuse for not cleaning up after himself. Heh. No, I didn’t let him get away with that one. So he stopped trying to use it as an excuse, but he didn’t stop being lazy.

So there are two possible explanations for what is going on here, in my extremely unprofessional, huge vested-interest, totally subjective Mama view. One: he genuinely does not give a rat-butt about losing his stuff, flunking out of school, living off his parents forever (SO not gonna happen), and basically being a failure by current social standards. Or two: his self-esteem is so battered by the constant criticism from parents and school authorities that he’s retreated into a kind of learned helplessness, where it doesn’t even occur to him that he can do anything to change his situation. The therapy is supposed to help with that. I don’t pry too much on that, usually just ask how it went. I should probably set up an appointment to talk with his therapist soon.

One problem with Ignatz is that he really takes the criticism on board, but not the praise. I know that one all too well: my dad was very, very critical sometimes, but also sometimes nice. My mom was nothing but supportive. Guess which stuff I internalized. So I understand where he’s coming from on this, but it makes it very hard to do any kind of balanced discipline. We do praise as well as criticize, but he doesn’t hear or remember the praise.

Oh, and? Another coup in his project to supply everyone in town with a key to our house. Yes, he lost his house key again. Third time. And this time his wallet was attached to it, with his insurance card in it. I thought, if I attached the key to a chain wallet, and he could actually fasten it to his clothes, that it would be harder to lose. It’s things like this that make me really paranoid. To lose something that’s big, and chained to you? That really takes effort. Not to mention that he didn’t even let us find out about it for nearly a week.

Yet again: argh.