Monthly Archives: January 2010

once more into the breach

So, that was my week off. Dutch Intensive level B starts tomorrow, wherein I will be expected to do two hours of class time and three hours of homework every day, and without the head start I had in the level A class (I took a few lessons while we were still in Germany, so the first 3-4 weeks was mostly review).

I should be blinching about this, but I just had a week off, and I swear, there were moments in there when I did not know what to do with myself. I had so much TIME! The house was even briefly clean, and some ironing got done. Okay, yes, dish towels. I know, but the edges get all accordion-y and they don’t stack properly unless you iron them. Am I digressing?

Anyway. I think that break was good for me, and I’m ready to dive into Dutch. (Yeah right. Tomorrow I’ll be all, “egad, y’all, my head is imploding.”)

Btw, Red requests a “song du jour of the (past) year” and also a “song du jour of the decade.” Now you know I am not hep to what the young cats are digging and all that…er, jive, so I’m not even sure I can name a song that came out last year. I was going to mention a Bloc Party song, but I thought I’d just check to be sure (fact checking! Journalists take note!) and it turns out that CD was released in 2007. Wow. Um. So, I’m not ignoring the request, it’ll just… take a bit longer than I thought it would.

But for today’s song du jour of the day, how about Spinal Tap’s The Majesty of Rock.


Ha! I’ve heard it from every expat: with the telephone-and-internet people, the immigration people, City Hall, the insurance people, the bank, every stupid power-tripping desk jockey you deal with in this country, you get a different answer every time. It’s like dealing with the Deutsche Bahn (this is also proven: someone from er, Der Spiegel maybe? Asked six different Bahn employees the same question, and got five different answers). Continue reading

the visible weekend

See, last weekend was an invisible weekend – during the week I’d clawed my way through Dutch class and homework and mama-duties and I had this work for my freelance job that really needed to get done but I didn’t have a spare minute, so I just put it off until the weekend and then spent the whole of those days nose-down in the computer and when I looked up, it was Monday already, and I had no idea where the weekend had gone.

But then I finished my Dutch class, took my exams and got my certificate (yay!) and even though this past weekend there was more job-work to do, this time it actually got DONE. And I had time left over to do some ironing and sort of start thinking about what it might be like to get caught up on the laundry, and even sit down and READ part of an actual BOOK, and this past weekend was so much more… weekendy.

And this morning I felt so much better about it being Monday.

Song du jour of the day: You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, by Bachman Turner Overdrive.

reality, slightly improved. So far. Maybe.

I have concluded that that first week back was an anomaly – not that anything really unusual happened, just that it was about three months of normal life compressed into one week. This week will be better. Because I SAID SO. Continue reading

back to reality…

So it was probably Sunday night when I went out to the garden shed to get some juice and there was water spurting out of a pipe joint, and inch-deep ice all over the floor of the shed, and the spare box of kitty litter had ruptured and the catbox was also teh fonkay. We searched for a shutoff for the shed water, but couldn’t find anything, so DrBob wrapped the joint with aluminum tape.

And then on Monday, Continue reading

this is what happens…

…when you let men into your kitchen.

(a tragedy in two acts)

Our wonderful friend Nigel came to visit for a week in December, and that was very fun and also a nice break for me because he took on the task of washing the dishes while he was here (we still don’t have a dishwasher). Which was so very helpful and wonderful that I considered asking him to stay permanently, but, tragically, he also has other friends. He may also have said something about a family…

Okay, okay, I’m KIDDING! Anyway, he couldn’t stay. But before he left, I made something for dinner that involved my imported-from-America-because-Europeans-Just-Don’t-Get-It cast-iron skillet. I should have washed it before I went to bed, I know that, I don’t know why I didn’t, but yeah. I didn’t.

So Nigel did. He was very careful not to use the scratchy-plastic side of the sponge (um. It is cast-iron. You could scrub it with a pitchfork, and it wouldn’t mind.), but he sure got all that nasty grease out (there should be an eye-rolling emoticon).

And then DrBob came in and said uh-oh, oh dear, no! You have to oil it! Because, some five years ago now, he’d seen me season the pan (coat it with vegetable oil, inside and out, put it in a hot oven for awhile) and somehow he remembered that you should leave a puddle of some kind of oil in the pan (it looks like he used olive oil…), and set it on the stove for… however long. What he didn’t remember? Was to turn off the stove. I found it when I got up at seven the next morning, the tiniest of blue flames under my beloved skillet. And inside?

Well, the center was completely dry and devoid of any evidence that it had ever held moisture of any kind – a bit like the planet Mercury – and around the outer edge was… um… hm. I think DrBob may have invented a new adhesive. Perhaps we should contact NASA.

Does anybody know how to salvage this? Actually, I’m not sure it’s even worth a try, since it’s really too small for a family of four, especially one that contains a 15-year-old and is thus, for feeding purposes, a family of six.

Song du jour of the day: Sweet Home Alabama, by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Happy 2010!

We’re back! Okay, the drive down to Jagenau was hideous – we left on a Sunday to beat the truck traffic and instead of trucks we had snow THE WHOLE WAY DOWN. I swear, that snowstorm followed us. We saw snowplows out and about, but they were probably just out picking up doughnuts or something, because they sureazell weren’t plowing snow. And there were some trucks anyway, and tour buses driven by raving lunatics, and there we were, crawling along at 30kph because the windshield-wiper-fluid spout was blocked and we couldn’t wash the scunge off the windshield and visibility was like two feet arrrgh. So our 800-km trip, which should have taken 7-8 hours (with pee-stops) took 14. Yeah, you read that right. FOURT. TEEN.

Yeah, not fun.

So we didn’t have to come home until Sunday, but we figured it’s a holiday, so no trucks, it’s Hangover-Day, so probably no tourbus-driving lunatics, and besides, it might snow again, ack, and we want to get as far as we can before that happens.

We made it. DrBob set the car’s stopwatch (didja hear that? Our car has a stopwatch!) and it took us 6 hours, 20 minutes to drive home. DrBob said “I kinda feel like we deserved that, after the trip down.”

So do I. Whew.

Happy New Year, y’all. Hope everyone’s safe and warm.