Monthly Archives: August 2008

on drugs

Right, I meant to address this a long time ago. Ann says:

there’s medicine you can take for that ’spoons in the drawer’ thing.

Which reminds me of something I’ve been meaning to mention about Expat Life.

Little secret for ya – the famous Universal! Free! Healthcare! in Germany is, erm, not without its problems (though I still think it’s miles ahead of what the US has). Universal healthcare is not free, it’s actually quite expensive, and one of the ways Germany keeps costs down is through a pain-management philosophy that boils down to: Suck It Up, Ya Pansy. A friend who got a massive uterine infection after the birth of her first child did not get painkillers, though the nurses did pat her shoulder and say “aw, don’t cry, Mrs. X.” Contrast this with what the nurse told me after the Sniglet’s birth in Wisconsin: “here’s drugs for when your anesthetic wears off, here’s some more drugs, trust me you do not want to feel that pain.” Continue reading


neither here nor there

We took the night train up to Utrecht, got breakfast, and went to DrBob’s apartment. It’s really nice, and yet every time he tells any Dutch person where he’s staying (“De Uithof,” don’t try to pronounce it), they say, “ew, I’m so sorry.” Dude, if this is “ew,” then the entire country belongs on MTV Cribs. It’s bright! And clean! And the doors are really, really tall. There is no smell of mildew, the view is lovely, and also, everything is clean! Did I mention the clean? I love the clean.

Perhaps I am getting sidetracked. Continue reading


mmm, melty. also eww, stinky.

We got back last night from our Dutch holiday (lovely, but lovelier to be home – I’ve never had a house I enjoyed being in so much). This morning we retrieved my computer and I spent entirely too much time catching up on one blog (it’ll be one blog per day until I’m all caught up, because y’all! You wrote a lot while I was gone!) and thinking I really should get off my butt and unpack and get onto the day’s housework (Tuesday: laundry = towels, non-white sheets and cloth napkins; zone = kitchen and dining room) when DrBob landed me with a 24-page article to proofread. Bam, there went the rest of my day. Continue reading


Tunes for the Road

This is such a nifty little toy. We leave tonight, so I don’t have time to do more than a slapdash job, but here you go: seven songs du jour of the day for my absence (even though I’ll probably be gone longer than that).

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h/t Gone Dutch.


complexity makes my brain hurt

So we’re taking the night train to Utrecht. Night trains sound a lot more romantic and fun than they actually are – our last trip on one, there was something rattling in the wall. Not consistently, no, it would go silent for awhile, and then just as you were drifting off to sleep, takka takka takka there it was again. The time before that, we had the cabin next to the staff room. They were… chatty. Continue reading


random fact about me

The first thing I remember wanting to be when I grew up was… a Pip. I saw Gladys Knight and the Pips on TV singing Midnight Train to Georgia, and they were so cool, with the ooo! and the moves. I remember thinking that that would be just the best job ever. I think I was about five.

Howbout you? What were your early ambitions?


teaching English abroad

So Melanie asks what is needed to teach English over here in Yurp, which is a very good question, and the answer, as usual, is: it depends. I imagine Eastern Europe’s more like Asia, they need so many teachers they won’t look too hard for qualifications, but in the more Anglo-infested places like Munich and Amsterdam and Barcelona, competition’s a tad stiffer. People with TESL certs also tend to look askance at the “I speak it, therefore I can teach it” crowd, which is understandable, I suppose. Getting certified is a fair bit of work, and you do actually learn stuff in the process. Continue reading


looking forward

So DrBob talked to a BankDude in the Netherlands about buying a house, and we have a sort of baseline number for how much money they’ll be willing to lend us. It’s based on assumptions that may not turn out to be true (e.g., that I won’t work. I almost certainly will, but there’s no way to know how much I’ll earn, so we can’t really take that into account), but you need to establish a few basic things so you can move on to doing the math. Continue reading


not dealing

You know the sound, oh yes you do – the sound of a small body hitting a big piece of glass, like when a cat runs full-tilt into a sliding glass door, or a bird flies into a plate glass window. Well, I heard that yesterday morning, and found a dead female blackbird (only the males are black, the females are brown, which doesn’t seem fair) on TOP of the glassed-in patio. She seems to have fallen out of the sky. DrBob theorizes that she hit my office window and fell back onto the patio roof, and I just didn’t hear the second thwap. That may be so. In any case, dead thing. Decay. Bacteria. Serious skeevage. I had to leave her there while I worked up the nerve to climb out onto the patio roof and push her off with a broom. Then I needed another hour before I could pick her up with a hand-broom and dustpan, carry her around the house and fling her into the woods. Then I had to wash my hands fifty times and walk around saying “Ew, ew, EEEWWWW!” for awhile.

This morning it was the small-tortured-animal sound. Fufu had a mouse – a baby one, I believe. Some yelling, some dithering, and then I cornered Fufu and picked her up, with the mouse in her mouth, and tried to carry her outside so she could finish her business there. I felt bad for the mouse, but you know, it is the nature of cats to torment mice and I accepted that when I signed up to be a cat owner. So, Not In My House is established policy, and we were proceeding toward the front door when she dropped the damn thing. Well, I couldn’t give it back to her, so I tossed her outside and shut the inner door, trapping the mouse in the front hall, which I have just now decided to call the foyer. I like that word.

What was I talking about? Oh. I went to get a magazine and a glass, to capture the injured mouse and put it outside in the woods, to escape and possibly recover (or possibly get caught and killed by one of my cats, but at least not in my house, dangit), but the mouse managed to limp behind A Furniture. Not sure what to do now. Capture it and put it outside, of course, but I suspect this is a two-person job, and I’m alone here. Except for two cats, who I am sure would not be helpful.

I’m sure I’ll figure something out, but at the moment, I’m just sort of pretending the whole thing is not true.

Song du jour of the day: Coconut, by Harry Nilsson


fun with German

Ha! I just learned a new phrase, and it was so cool that I had to dig out the chiclet-laptop to share it: you know the English idiom, “a bone to pick”? Means you’re miffed about something someone has done and you want to tell them? The German equivalent is “ein hühnchen zu rupfen” – a chicken to pluck.

Hee hee.

Song du jour of the day: Diddy Wah Diddy, by Ry Cooder.