… is the practice of reading the future in animal guts. The Babylonians did it, and so did the Etruscans, who passed the practice on to the Romans. I have no idea how to pronounce it, but in my head it sounds like “extra spicy!”

Working in academia –> awesome factoids.

Song du jour of the day: Love Train, by the O jays!



Back when the Oompahs visited, we took a boat tour up the river to Neckarsteinach (a four-castle town!), and in passing the tour-guide voice on the PA pointed out a walled town on top of a nearby “mountain” (yeah, about that: I’m a former resident of the Far West, so for me, if it doesn’t have snow on it year-round, it’s not a real mountain. But people from Back East will persist in their little delusions and I’ve found it convenient to play along most of the time) that has never been conquered ever, he said.

About 6 weeks  ago, on a sunny Saturday, DrBob and I decided another mini road trip was in order, so we decided to check this place out. I can well believe it was never conquered, as we had a helluva time finding it. There might have been signs, but we couldn’t remember the name of the place, so they wouldn’t have helped. We kept seeing it on the other side of the river, but couldn’t figure out how to get across.

Eventually we came across a tee-tiny ferry which, HILARIOUS! Because for me, this is a ferry.  The thing we rode across the river was more like… a toy. Of course I was all a-squee, and spent a fair bit of time amusing myself with the notion of an invading army having to rely on this means of transport.ferry1

So thanks to tiny toy ferry, we did eventually find the town – Dilsberg is its terribly forgettable name – and we did our usual tourist thing: wander around, drink some coffee, leave.

Song du jour of the day: Mermaid, by Yuna.

Mallorca the second

… day, that is. The second day. Another unexpectedly long drive out to Cap de Formentor, because of me and the edge of the world. This is the northeasterlymost point on the island and the road is very long and curvy and you drive about three times the distance that a crow would fly, frequently getting stuck behind struggling cyclists. Mallorca is apparently veeeery popular with cyclists. Anyway.


The lighthouse is blurry because it is inside a CLOUD.


The clouds are BELOW us. Wow.


That valley? Is full of CLOUD.








It was a long drive, but really really worth it. All pine forests and lonely stretches of road, very soothing since we’d driven up the east coast through the Tourist Zoo towns to get there.

After Cap de Formentor we went to Pollença, which I really liked, though we didn’t stay long, just for lunch. Here’s a Plaça, don’t know if it was the Plaça Major or another one:


Not really special, just… nice. Cool and leafy and pretty and pleasant. There’d been a Roman settlement nearby called Pollentia, said the guidebook, but we didn’t find it until we drove to Alcúdia, closer to the coast. Also nice, when we were there, but it’s clearly been shinied up for the tourists, which weren’t due till the following week (i.e., now). Which I guess is why the Roman ruins were closed and we couldn’t get in to see them. Oh well.

On the third day we went to Artà, where we climbed a bunch oralcudia2f stairs to a churchurchalcudiach and a swell view. Nice little artsy-type place, they have a much-hyped market to which the hotel organized bus tours. We arrived just as the market was closing, which was a good thing because there were no crowds and the stallholders were too busy shutting down to hustle us. Except for a guy who sold DrBob a leather bag, but that’s okay. He’s been using it every day since.

Cala Ratjada seems to be the port/beach part of Artà. This is another place that I think we liked because it wasn’t tourist season yet – very nice waterfront promenade that is probably a lot less nice when it’s awash in sunburns and flip-flops. But on that day, it was peaceful and charming and I took pictures of boats.

And on the last day we had an 8pm flight, so we decided to take the long way back to Palma and stop in Cala Figuera, which is where DrBob really fell in love. Many adorable houses and boats and possible some kind of built-into-the-cliff stuff on the other side of the bay which we should’ve checked out, but we wanted to leave ourselves sufficient time in Palma. But I have a hunch we’ll be back. He’s still talking about it.







Aaand then we drove to Palma and did the City Thing. You know how cities are, especially the old ones, it’s hard to back up enough to get a good shot of anything, so it’s probably better just to buy the postcards. The professional photogs can at least get the tourists to clear off for a minute.

So yeah. It was mostly a lovely relaxing trip, except for the bit where we left the kids at home to fend for themselves and despite their many assurances, they both overslept on Monday so one of them was late to school and the other didn’t go at all that day, so after that I had to get up at 7 every morning to call them and make sure they got out of bed. Even that wasn’t all bad: it allowed me to see this.


Song du jour of the day: Forget What I Said, by Noora Noor. Never heard of it before, but YouTube recommended it.

Mallorca! Part One.

We went to Mallorca! And I took about 60 pictures, some of which make me go “Wow, what was I thinking?” Even so, there are probably 30 or 40 usable ones, which I have poured into my computer the hard way, because it doesn’t recognize my celephone as a drive, which is SO annoying am I digressing, yeah, sorry. Anyway. We went to Mallorca!

I always start vacations off totally excited, photographing and documenting every little thing, so day 1 featured shots of the rental car, the fronrbeeach4t of the hotel, grocery store donuts (apparently the local word for donut is “floopy” which I found absolutely hilarious). Then I get into scenery and take a lot of indistinguishable landscape shots. Then I chill the fuck out (which is hello, the point of going on vacation) and forget to document anything because I am inching toward fatal relaxation. Then it’s time to go home.

Anyway. Day 1 was flight rental-car grocery store hotel check-in and finally, THE POINT: barefoot beachin’. It was awesome.

The hotel was fine, I’d recommend it to anyone (Castell de Mar, in Cala Millor, which is apparently better than Cala Bona, just up the coast), though it seems they want their German guests to die, as this sign was by the indoor pool:


Catalan: No launcha the head. Spanish: No throw-a the head. English: Don’t dive. German: Dive.

But we won’t stay there again because, as it turned out, we were scouting houses on Mallorca. Srsly, DrBob kept drifting toward the real estate stores like they had extra gravity or something. And it was a bit cool for lying on the beach, and we had a rental car, and it’s not a big island, so we explored the whole thing, pretty much. We found a lot of good stuff.

The guidebook said check out the castle at Alarò, so we said duh, okay! And set off on a truly hairy switchback drive up a goat trail heavily frequented by pedestrians who’d been smart enough to park at the bottom of the hill. We didn’t see any sign saying “hey! Turistas estúpidas, parque aquí” so we pootled on up until we got to the restaurant at Es Verger, where we had coffee, said a quick prayer and started back down. We never did make it to the castle, but the view from the mountainside was pretty spiffy.


I think this is the view from Alarò, but it could be anywhere on the island, actually.

What else? Ooo, Sóller, DrBob really liked that. Here’s the cathedral, before whocathedralsollerse plaza we discovered pa amb oli, one of those local specialties that is appallingly simple, but it was pretty well done at this place so that’s okay. Lunch was frequently interrupted by this weird hooty orange tram-thing. V. popular with the tourists, obv. Apparently the port is nice too, but we had this program laid out by the guidebook and we’d squandered a long time clawing our way up the mountain to Alarò, so we headed on to Lluc, which was really really neato – so fabulous that, um, I forgot to take any pictures, though I dug the origin story. It seems that a local boy found a black Madonna statue in the woods and dutifully delivered it to the church, but she disappeared – twice – and both times was found in the woods where she’d first been spotted by the kid. I like a statue with a sense of humor.

After Lluc we were exhausted, so we crawled back to the hotel, stuffed ourselves senseless at the buffet, and zonked out.

More tomorrow. Ish.

Song du jour of the day: Nina Simone. Feeling Good.

this is not at all what I sat down to blog about

So I broke up with my therapist, that’s a thing that happened. I was so freaked out about it, I actually googled for tips. The best of the results I found said that a healthy mature adult would discuss it honestly, but if you were that you wouldn’t be in therapy, so do what you need to do. So at the end of what turned out to be our last session, when she said when shall we meet again, I said actually I was thinking of stopping this now, and she said let’s take a break, you can call me back in a few weeks. So she actually deployed the Kafka Relationship Dissolver, not I, which is kinda weird, but whatever. I’m too avoidant to give it much more thought.

I didn’t call her back after three weeks. You probably guessed that.  Continue reading

so, the job…

So yeah, I started this job in February. Half of it is proofreading English texts for the SFB 933, which is a massive interdisciplinary research project about texts as material objects in pre-printing societies, so I am learning a LOT of really interesting stuff about hieroglyphics and illuminated manuscripts and clay tablets – and forgetting it immediately , because my brain is like a sponge, apply the least bit of pressure and everything squooges out all over the place. That may not be the original meaning of that metaphor. Anyway. I have a job!

The other half is substitute-substitute-secretarial work, right? A finance secretary got elected to some council or other so another secretary in the department took over as finance secretary, so her duties will now be mine, as long as the other secretary doesn’t get un-elected. Some of it’s very fun, but I also have to write emails! In German! I am not… overly excited about my writing skills in German, what with it being all really fuckin’ hard and stuff.

But I have a job. And it’s been a lifejacket in the sea of worthlessness I fell into during the last year and a half of unemployment, so there’s that. Now if the fricken HR people would stop thinking of stupid non-existent things to ask me for and clear my contract so I could get paid? That’d be great, thanks.

Song du jour of the day: Read All About It, by Emeli Sandé.


So we took her back to the vet on Monday and all we really learned was that it wasn’t kitty leukemia. The corona virus is really hard to detect, so vets generally go by symptoms, and she had ’em all. So if it wasn’t FIP, it was something else that was destroying her liver and making her so anemic that even if we force-fed her, she wouldn’t really be taking in anything useful. Essentially, she was starving to death. So we made the decision to have her put to sleep, but first we took her home for one more night and day, to say goodbye and give the boys the chance to decide whether they wanted to be there when it happened. Initially, both said yes. In the end, neither came with us, and DrBob postponed a few appointments to come with me, which was really helpful. But I still cried a lot.

I know that you sign up for this when you get a cat. But we really thought we had another five years before we even had to think about losing her. This blindsided us.

No song today.