Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Burning down the house


At home my son is used to sleeping with the closet light on in his room (in lieu of a night light.)

When we travel to my mother-in-law’s home in Germany, there are no closets, meaning no closet light, meaning my son will not go to sleep alone in the room, and we don’t plan well enough to buy a night light for our stay.

Soooo, my husband had the brilliant idea of turning on a lamp in the room where my son slept and then putting a book over the lamp so that it wouldn’t be too bright.

You already know what’s going to happen, but I’ll continue anyway.

The adults in the house were sitting downstairs enjoying some champagne and adult time after putting my son to bed.

There were candles lit all around the room, and the Christmas tree was lit with real candles. Really, that’s the way they do it in Germany - real candles.

So when we first smelled smoke, we assumed it was the candles or the tree catching fire.

Eventually, I knew it wasn’t candle smell. I followed the smoke to my son’s bedroom and discovered the book. It now had a hole all the way through the entire center of the book.


It actually looks pretty cool!


Monday, December 29, 2008

Bragging about our planning skills . . .

video


Get yourself a nice warm drink, sit down and put your feet up by the fire.

It's late, I'm exhausted from our little venture . . . so excuse the post.

We are still in Germany visiting family and decided to go to Austria skiing on a whim. We got into our rental car with the kids and headed out.

We tried to book a room online before we left but everything was booked out - none to be had in the entire valley of Zillertal! Hey, no problem - we'll find something. We are golden like that.

We arrive in the first village and begin to stop at the first of the 1,000,002 hotels in the area. After asking at ~ a dozen of them, we realize that there are none to be had. That's okay though because it is so beautiful here in the mountains with the snow. We all love taking pictures, as well. Until - my camera battery gives out, and I realized I left the charger back at the in-law's house.



By the way, we have no skis, no equipment and no proper skiing attire. Some of us have never skied before. So we stop at a cafe to have a hot drink and a cake while watching the skiers out the window.

Then we decide to drive to Innsbruck where there are bound to be rooms free. We arrive there around 7:00 pm and amazingly are able to get 2 rooms (1 for us and 1 for the kids) - but only for one night.

We walk though the old town of Innsbruck, which is quaint and beautiful. In the pedestrian zone we scarcely avoid getting droplets of bile on our shoes as a girl lost her stomach right at our feet. That was the perfect appetizer before we went to dinner at a typical Austrian restaurant.

We tried to get up early the next day, but are only able to find our way to breakfast around 10 am. After breakfast we have to go back to the hotel, pack up and check out.

We packed the car and then drive to the surrounding area to check out the snow activities. We find the perfect sport equipment rental place.

However, it just closed for lunch at 12:00. It doesn't open again until 3:00pm. In this area of the world it starts to get dark ~4:30. We're screwed for snow activities - even sledding is out at this point.

So, we decide to drive to Italy. Why not have some pizza and a cappuccino in Italy, right?

We drive to the nearest little town in Italy, and it is ~ 2:40pm at this point. All the restaurants stop serving warm food at 2:00!!!!



Since we are so good at planning these sort of trips we are considering opening a travel agency -
what with all our good planning skills and such . . .


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Wayne's World party


Last night I was hosting a Christmas party.

I had written an article about the absurdity of celebrity culture, which some of the fringes of my church had really latched onto. One of these fringees was lurking outside and protesting my party because he said he saw some photos with me online with Mike Meyers. He was calling me a hypocrite among other things.

What?! I had to go out and talk to him to convince him I had never met Mike Meyers.

Throughout the party I was being courted by a Jeff Goldblum-ish guy and was admittedly somewhat flirtatious back . . . at least when my husband wasn't looking.



Unbelievably, of all people to show up to my party uninvited - it was none other than Mike Meyers and Dana Garvy who came knocking on the door! Cool! Only they seemed younger - like when they did Wayne's World. How cool is that to have Wayne's World at your very own party. They were totally cool and pretty 'regular'. We were just hanging out and chatting - having a great time, but . . .

How can I explain this to the church fringee? He'll never believe me now.

Later in the evening, at a climatic point the Jeff Goldblum-ish guy steps in for a romantic kiss. It was all slow motion as I tried to decide whether to turn my head for a cheek peck and stay true to my man or give in to the carnal desires brewing. Just as I was leaning in, my husband appeared and stepped in between us saying, "she's with me. we're together!"

What a way to ruin a beautiful moment. Thanks honey.

Then I woke up and kissed him on the cheek as he slept soundly next to me.

Hey, he does have a little of that Jeff Goldblum quality - ish.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Night of the Proms


My husband's boss invited us to some concert while we were in Germany. The name of the concert was 'Night of the Proms'. All I knew about it was that Robin Gibb would be performing.

Between the title of the concert and who would be performing, I was preparing myself for a cheese fest in the first degree!

Before the concert began, it was explained to us that 'Night of the Proms' refers to a night of all prominent performers - nothing to do with the (classy?) dance in American high schools that seems to be the result of much trauma and drama and the climax of many teenage movies.

However, I have since done some research and found that this actually may be a 'spin off' of the British Proms, which is a classical music concert.

At any rate, it was quite a concert. It included an orchestra, a gospel choir from Harlem (NY), a comic duo who used a violin and piano, a rock band and the 'prommys' or prominent singers, though it was not without its cheesy moments.

Highlights:

1. Robin Gibb's live performance of How Deep is Your Love, backed by the 10cc singer (who was obviously a much better singer). Okay it did venture toward cheese, but if you were alive when Saturday Night Fever came out, then it's hard not to feel something stirring from those years ago.

2. 10cc singing 'I'm not in Love' - again the memories (wasn't it a slow dance in 7th grade?)

3. Tears for Fears singing 'Shout' - that was awesome!!!

Cheesy Moments:

1. The Harlem gospel choir doing the robot while Dennis de Young (Styx) sang 'Mr. Roboto'

2. A coliseum full of middle-aged Germans singing 'We're the kids in America' to Kim Wilde's song.

3. Robin Gibb coming out at the end as the 'headliner'. This is after the lead singer of Styx and Tears for Fears (not to mention Kim Wilde and 10cc - which actually sang Gibb's song for him!) I think Robin Gibb has a solo career touring in Germany now. Perhaps with David Hasselhof?

I must admit that I went in hoping it would be over quickly, but was surprised when 4 hours had passed without once looking at my watch!

Okay . . . after I tried to find photos, I realized how cheesy it actually was, but surprisingly palatable.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Time for 'Sticky' to travel



I received this piece of art which I call 'Sticky' from Susan at this blog:

Art Spark Theater

You see Sticky above resting peacefully on a shelf in my studio with other 'like-minded' pieces.

Sticky is participating in a guerrilla art project where he will be placed in a location where he may be admired by passers-by or picked up by an appreciative onlooker.

Below you see Sticky in my suitcase resting up for the trip to Germany.

Stay tuned to this blog to find out what happens to Sticky. Though, at some point Sticky will become independent, and I will lose contact with him *tear*.

But that's okay, because Sticky was meant to be on his own, not tethered to a mother figure, such as I.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'm juist sayin'


There's this one blogger who is expecting and just found out she's having a girl. She has two boys and all the comments are like:

Congrats! you're going to have so much pink and frilly fun!

and

you're going to paint your nails and go shopping . . .

and some day a boy will call your house and ask to speak to her - it will be so cute and
la di da . . .


Well, I hate to rain on anyone's parade. The dressing up like a doll is fun . . . and painting your nails is fun, but . . .

welcome to the technology age, because once they turn 13, you will buy her a cell phone.

No matter what you think now, you will.

Do you think any boy will call her on your home phone? Do you think any of her friends will have her home phone number. Do you think any of her friends will call and actually speak to her on her cell phone when they can silently and sneakily text each other who-knows-what stuff?



to be continued . . .

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Meeting my personal challenge


i have been challenging myself to do something creative every day

notice my creative lack of punctuation here

since I finished a painting the other day i decided to get a 2fer out of it by now using it in a creative blogging post

so there you go i met my personal creativity challenge for today

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Is that one of those attacking animals?


Husband (in his German accent): There's an animal sitting on the fence that's causing the dog to bark. What should I do?

Me: What kind of animal are we talking about?

Him: One of those wild animals.

Me: Is it a racoon?

Him: Yes.

Me: Is it an opossum?

Him: Yes.

a few minutes later

Him: I know, I'll try to knock it off the fence with a tennis ball from the balcony!

side note - his athletic skills are on par with his wildlife skills.
Him: It didn't work. I missed

Me: I'm getting a snack.

Him: Can you do something about the animal?

Me: Why don't you take a shovel and push it off the fence?

In comes the title ---

Him: Is that one of those attacking animals?

Me: I'm getting the video camera.

He went into the garage and brought out an 8ft. 1 x 4 and headed to the back yard. I grabbed a flashlight and the video camera.

He proceeded to oops, slide down the hill on his butt while holding the long stick. I thought I was ready with the light and the camera.

And . . . it was anticlimactic when he actually pushed the opossum off the top of the fence. It just fell into the leaves on the other side, plumph. It was then that I actually looked at the camera to see that the memory card was missing. Hence, no video here.

I did some research on the internet and found out what to do next time we encounter an animal. I'll have to keep the milk, cereal and turnip greens stocked, just in case . . .

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Typical day



It's a typical day only better because today I don't have to drive anywhere. I did some productive stuff like I did take a shower and I did brush my teeth. I did some laundry, and . . .

okay, I might have checked my email. I had to check it just in case there were some important notification, like the one I found . . . I actually have some long lost dead relative from Nigeria - COOL !!!! Now, as soon as I send the small transfer fee . . . I'm rich !!!

My next important task for the day is to figure out how I'm going to spend all my newfound money!

So, I started researching . . . stuff.

While I do my important work on the internet, both kids are supposedly doing their schoolwork. I stumble upon a website that says children become more successful if you praise their effort as opposed to their finished work. Since I'm so good at homeschooling and stuff . . .

Me: "Son, you're good at doing your work."

Then, I saw a picture of a man almost getting bit by an alligator, then I saw some awesome pictures of graffiti.

This is stuff that takes tremendous concentration. I have to get through this stuff before I continue with the important task of spending my enormous wealth - perhaps some designer duds!

One more important duty - I have to see this video of a panda sneezing, then I will continue my work.




However, I am rudely interrupted in my thought process on special important stuff when my son starts.

"Wah, wah, wah, I need help with my math."

It reminds me of the poor mama panda in the video - eating, minding her own business, completely lost in thoughts of how hot she will look in her new designer duds . . . when BAM, the little one totally interrupts her zen.

Me: "Just a minute," and I continue my important research.

15 minutes later

Son: "When are you going to help me?"

Me: "Try to do it again and make sure you write all the steps, then look up the answer on your computer."

I TRY to continue my important work when he interrupts again . . .

Son: "Uh Oh! It's the blue screen of death!"

Me: "Don't worry, we're rich now, so I'll buy you a new one!" Then I add buy computer to my list of important things I need to do today.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Please don't mention . . .


It's the day after Thanksgiving and with the food hangover and the late night of playing cards with Republicans and all - please don't try to talk to me about things that don't interest me.

Things that don't interest me:

Traditional furniture and decor

Crafting

Scrapbooking

Football

Someone else's children's sport activities


Best Game Ever from ImprovEverywhere on Vimeo.

Holiday decorating tips

Republicans (even though most of my friends are of the elephant persuasion)

Christmas sweaters



Meat



Opera

Nascar

Mommy and me groups

Semi home-made food



Chemicals that are sold as food

Fast food joints (other types of joints are interesting!)

Pharmaceutical reps (some pharmaceuticals can be interesting, but the reps . . . not so much)




Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Neighbors


We live on a little private lake.   I haven't met the people who live across the lake from us.  

Supposedly, there is a pastor living in one of the houses across from us.  There are also a couple of teenage boys who hang out in a row boat on the lake rolling something with their fingers, and then smoking.  Since they smoke pot, they must be the pastor's sons. . . come on . . . you know I'm right!

In the house directly across the lake from ours, live another family.  Our bedroom is on the lake side of the house.  When we first moved in it took a while for me to find the right curtains. It shouldn't have been an issue because our windows face the lake.  One night when things got a little heated in our bedroom, we were startled by a bright light shining through the window. When we looked for the source, we found it was coming from a car which happened to be parked in the driveway across the lake.  We giggled at the coincidence of the timing of the car's lights coming on.

The next time things got frisky, again the light beamed into our bedroom.  There was no way to block it out, as we still didn't have curtains.  This time our eyebrows raised as we looked at each other with the question . . . could this be something other than a coincidence? And then we shrugged it off with a, "naaaahhhh" followed by hysterical laughter as we thought about why anyone would be interested in us.

Well, after the same scenario happened with the light at least 287 times, we started feeling creepy about the perv across the lake.  One time when I was trying on dresses for an event, again with the light.  Now, we know our pet perv also likes pretty dresses.  That's where we drew the line.  We decided it was time for curtains.  

So, we have to ask ourselves how does he know when is the right time to turn on the lights?  Is he looking across the lake through the windows with binoculars?  How can he see when it's dark?  Does he have some sort of infrared binoculars?  A dress loving perv with spy gear????

Every now and then when things heat up in the bedroom, and we least suspect it . . . BOOM, we're in the spotlight again!  But . . . we have our secret weapon for the dress-loving, spy gear perv . . .  it's the highly technical spy gear deterrent known as . . . curtains!!! 




Friday, November 14, 2008

So you think you can dance, really?


I'm so sorry to all you reader out there who were anxiously awaiting the next part in the terrible cocktail party stories series that has hit the internet like a really slow and lonely turtle.

I just had to write about what we did not do last night.



Background - I used to be a dancer. Not one of those tippy toe dancers, but a real dancer at a performing arts school. I even had a teacher who used to dance with Debbie Allen. That's how close to the big time I was. I'm talking BIG TIME. I'm talking touring on an old school bus through rural Pennsylvania's school gyms circuit hugenormous BIG TIME!!!

So, when I discovered a little TV show called So You Think You Can Dance, I had to check it out. After all, Debbie Allen was on it, and she might want my opinion as a big time dancer. I have to be prepared for these things and take the responsibilities of a big time dancer seriously.

Here's what I did not do.

I did not buy tickets to the lame live tour they did around the country. I did not wait anxiously with a special software counting down the hours on my computer until the live show. I absolutely did not drive all the way over to the lame-o arena to see the show with my husband and kids, and I certainly did not watch the entire show while screaming at the top of my lungs. I would have had to stop screaming when security was called over to carry me out of the arena, which did not happen.

I did not wait for an hour and a half after the show behind the barricades with hundreds of screaming girls for the cast to come out and sign autographs. That would be too uncool for a former dancer in the B-i-g T-i-m-e!



I also did not get autographs by pushing through the waiting throngs of girls - that would have been a bad example for my kids, and I did not take pictures of those small time dancers with my cell phone. I mean, they aren't big-time celebrities, so what's the big deal, anyway? Just to set the record straight, I did not drool or drip any saliva on Will.


And Will, that was NOT me casually practicing my petit jetes, and grand pirouettes and then falling on the pavement as you passed by, hoping you would notice what an awesome dancer I am. Because, just so we're clear, I usually don't fall!! Really!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Terrible cocktail party stories, part 3


The third story I shouldn't share in public but do anyway

#3


This one goes back before the 'fruitful story' period of European travel. This one takes us back to that most favorite time in our lives - high school!

My high school had a tradition for the senior football players at homecoming. Each senior player would be presented a plaque on the field at half-time. Each player would ask a female to 'sponsor' him, and she would be the one who handed him the plaque on the field. They would also have a picture taken for the yearbook. Generally, the football player would ask his homecoming date to be his sponsor.

My senior year I had this sort of 'pet' guy who followed me around and always asked me out, and I always told him I just wanted to be friends. He asked me to Homecoming, and I had been taught that you graciously said yes to the first person who asked, so I was going to Homecoming with him whether I liked it or not. He was also the class president but not a football player.

One day before homecoming I was sitting in my Advanced Comp class, minding my own business, reading Audrey Rose under my desk when the vice principal/head football coach came to the door of our classroom and called me out. When I stepped out in the hall, he immediately let me know 'we' had a problem.

He proceeded to tell me that Barry (Obama) was planning to ask me to be his sponsor. Uhhhh . . . okay, I stammered. I felt flattered and embarrassed and confused. We often send a friend to ask for us in high school or to see if someone likes us, but not a teacher or a coach or especially an awkward vice principal coach. He continued with, "You have to say no!"

"Why?" I asked.

"Well, he's black and you're white," he said seriously, as if revealing a secret.

"I noticed that," I said, "so what's the problem? I already have a date for homecoming."

"He already has a date, too. He is just asking you to hand him the plaque at the game and have your picture taken together for the yearbook. But, this is a problem. Our school is not ready for this. You have to promise me you will say no when he asks you."

"I can't make any such promise," I said, feeling the butterflies in my tummy as I imagined Barry asking me himself.

"You have to say no. You go home and tell your parents. They won't let you do this. Are you ready to get bricks through your windows and see a riot here at our school?" he asked with the true concern of a man who had seen violence.

"My parents are not prejudice. They would be proud of me. This is not about a relationship. It's me standing with him on the football field," I defended.

I went back to my seat with the feeling I had done something wrong and the butterflies still floating around with a secret I now held. I waited anxiously for Barry to ask me. I tried to walk close to the football players' locker room to give him an opportunity. It never happened. I never knew what happened, but someone else stood on the field with him at homecoming, and her skin was the same color as his.

Okay, it wasn't really Barack, it was Johnny Greene. But, it could have been him if only . . . I had gone to school in Hawaii, and if he had played football instead of basketball and . . . if I were a couple of years older and if only . . . we had been friends.

Johnny, I so wish for a chance to talk to you without the awkwardness of the coach in between, so I could find out what really happened on your side. . .

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Terrible cocktail party stories, part 2

Another story I shouldn't share with others -
#2
How pathetic is it that most of my stories come from a 2 month period in my life when I was in my early 20's?

While me and my girls were touring the European side of life, we happened upon Salzburg, which is one of my all-time fav-o-rite cities that I have visited ever. One of those people on the trains told us to check out the salt mines in Salzburg (which means salt mountain, by the way).

So, we waited for the train that would take us on the hour ride to the little village where the salt mine was. We rode on the train for an hour, then finally made it to the salt mine. We donned the white suit customary for these occasions. The mine itself was anticlimactic, the suits were funny and the slide at the end was fun.



Worth the trouble and time to get there? Not sure.

When we left the mine, we were really hungry, we were faint from hunger and a bit thirsty. We knew we still had a walk back to the train station and then a wait and then another hour back to Salzburg before we could find food. So, we dragged ourselves through the streets of the tiny village, sniffing around for any trace of sustenance, but smelt none.

We walked past a non-descript building and heard loud music pouring all around. There was no sign indicating it was a restaurant, but we were so hungry we didn't care. We tentatively walked to the door, unsure what we were doing when a young guy greeted us on his way in. He asked if he could help us, quickly establishing that we were English speakers. We asked if this building happened to be a restaurant. He told us that this was a town meeting hall, and that the music we heard was the celebration of the village after a 'futbol' (soccer for us folks) game between the town musicians and the town fire brigade. He then said, "come on in and join us!"

So, we followed him through the building onto the back lawn where there were tables full of drunk Austrians and and musicians playing folk music with accordians and whatever other instruments they use. The tables were covered with large glass beer steins filled with beer and plates piled with some sort of meat - roasted pig? roasted horse? roasted American tourists?

Somehow, the word spread that we were Americans, word travels fast in small towns. We were given our own plates of meat and large beer. Then, a young girl came over with a small wooden barrel attached around her neck. She slammed three shot glasses full of liquid down in front of us. What is it? "Schnapps," she shouted above the oompa pa's.

Hey, I love peppermint schnapps, peach schnapps, any schnapps except melon (another story I shouldn't tell) is cool. A free drink to go with the beer and the mystery meat, which I was trying to not eat without suspicions arising. "Why not!"

"Prost" klink of glasses with the young guys now sitting around us and "Aieghhhhhhhhggggghhhh!" That is no peppermint schnapps. That stuff is like what the frat boys used to pour into the punch in the bathtub - everclear . . . moonshine - wicked stuff that burns a whole in your insides. A few minutes later she came back, bringing us another round.

"No thank you," I whispered politely over the accordian music. "Oh you have to take it - it's been paid for and it is not polite to refuse in our culture." This is a scene that would continue throughout the night. I tried to fill up on the small slice of bread accompanying the meat, in order to soak up some of the alcohol that was now being forced on me.

Then, the mayor (burgermeister) of the village stood to make a speech. He spoke of the game that was played, blah, blah, blah and someone kindly translated in my ear. Then, he spoke of the honored guests that have come this evening. These honored guests have come such a long way, they have come from across the ocean . . . in America. . . It's us!!!

Then he asks the musicians to play a song in honor of the honored guests.

The band strikes up a song we all know, and we are asked to stand and sing along with the band, When the Saints Go Marching In, as if it's our favorite song ever. The band continues playing while marching and circling the gathering. We are escorted behind the procession so that everyone is watching us and clapping for this honor they have bestowed on us.

Is this the part when they lead us to a fire pit for roasting?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Terrible cocktail party stories

Stories I tell that I probably shouldn't because they're not that good:

#1
When I was a young spring chick fresh out of college, I took a trip to Europe with two girlfriends. We had a flight into London, a flight out of Amsterdam and a Eurail pass for in between. We also had a book called, Europe on $25 a day. The exchange rate was awesome that summer.

We met many young people on the trains doing the same thing we were doing. We always asked the people we met on the train, where they had been, what they had done, what they recommend we do, and of course if they wanted to buy us a drink. Several of the people we met recommended that we go to Baden Baden to the roman baths while we were in Germany.

So we did.

We spoke absolutely no German at this point (other than guten tag and ich mochte ein bier). We found our way to the roman baths and paid the few dollars it cost to go through. We started in a locker room on the ladies side and stripped down, then moved on to the first room which was some sort of salt pool, then on to the sauna, then another plunge pool, then a soap massage by a massive german lady, then to the steam room and then to a mineral bath. While my one girlfriend and I lounged in the mineral bath, our other girlfriend was still in the steam room.

Suddenly, a partition next to the pool opened and in ran many naked men. We had no idea, but at a specific time, the bath became coed. We scrunched down so that the water was up close to our necks. We crossed our arms tightly over our chests, since, as you may know, water is clear. The worst part was that our other friend was still in the steam room and had no idea that she would be opening the door in all her glory to a pool full of ogling men. A fellow with an Australian accent approached us and tried to start a conversation with, "have you ever been in a mixing pool before?" We were mortified, but not as mortified as our friend when she opened the door to the pool and saw the splashing and roughhousing that only a group of boys can bring to a pool. She elegantly walked the length of the pool with her head held high and nothing but a grim smile.

This story is okay for Americans, but europeans generally just nod politely as if waiting for the punch line. They don't get the absolute horror rendered on a young girl who was taught all her life that it is not appropriate to show certain parts of your anatomy in public and then to suddenly show those parts to perfect strangers (actually, these strangers were far from perfect).

The picture below is more like the public baths we were used to - notice the overt use of a bathing suit!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting


When we arrived home from the trip abroad (without any luggage), I discovered 3821 messages on my answering machine from crazy politicians. One call was even from Newt Gingrich!!! EEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwWWWWWWWW - how did he get my phone number? Now I have to change my number so Newt, the stalker can't find me.

I know the old saying, but somehow I just discovered in the last 8 years that it's really better not to discuss politics with newly acquired 'friends'. Especially if you live in the south and especially if you are in the homeschooling community and especially if you are not leaning to the extreme far right! I also discovered the hard way that you can't convince extreme right leaning homeschool parents who tell your kids that the dinosaurs lived with Adam and Eve that there might be other, different political options.

I am actually a registered independent, but have voted against Bush in the last two elections. I didn't care if Micky Mouse ran against him. How ironic that he made the 'evil doer' label so well known. What would an evil doer do? Start a war where thousands of innocents die? Destroy a country's standing in the world? Run up huge debts? Crash the economy? In a conversation with friends from Germany, they compared our government to the old East German stasi - spying on all their citizens comings and goings.

My husband voted first today. Only he can get away with calling me from the voting booth to ask me what these propositions mean that we are voting on. Oh, honey, it can't be THAT bad. Just read the words and put them together - you can do it!

When I go and look at the screen, I am suddenly eating my words. I don't know if I say 'yes' to the proposition - am I voting to spend take money from the school system to build roads or to pay $90 million for a park?

Then I notice that 80% of the positions I am voting on have these two options:

1) John Doe, republican

2) Write in

That's the beauty of living in the south. You get unlimited choices - you just have to write them yourself!

There was a cute kid in front of me getting ready to vote for the first time. Perhaps I'm not the only one here leaning away from the right. Youngsters are supposed to be pro Obama - right? Then I watch him leave the building, put on his trucker cap and climb into his big pickup truck with the gun rack, confederate flag and 'W' sticker.

Oh well . . .

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Paris' Revenge



Paris got revenge for the cloud I left (see Warning, Stinky fog . . .) .

When we flew back from Nuremburg to Atlanta, we flew through Paris once again. However, our flight from Nuremburg to Paris was delayed, and we had to run the Charles de Gaulle maze to barely catch our flight back to Atlanta.

Of course, none of our lazy bags (checked in Nuremburg) were willing to make the mad dash. So, we arrived in Atlanta with no luggage.



I deserve it, Paris. Now we're even. I am here in Atlanta without my toothbrush OR my deodorant.

I'm prepared to take the high road . . .

Paris, the stinky fog was my fault. I'm sorry. It won't happen again.


Can I have my suitcase back now?


Monday, October 27, 2008

Have some spooky chicken with your happy package


This sign was advertising a chicken special in a German restaurant . . .  hmmmm . . . no thanks.



This is a mural in East Berlin left over from when east and west were separate.  It shows how happy we should be to all do our duty like collecting hay from the fields by hand.

I did not find beer bongs and bathing suits in Prague as I had hoped (see Contest Entry post).  But, I did find some other stuff . . . 


This sign is offering mulled vine. . .   hmmmm


My husband was most interested in this offer . . .  Happy Package!!!!!



                         If your shoes or bike are looking old, try painting them!


Wear white boots in Berlin



Our trip continues as we travel from Nuremburg to Hannover (unremarkable) and then on to Berlin.  

My husband is driving us through Berlin to find a specific cafe he remembers.  Why can't we stop at that nice, new looking cafe, I ask him.  Why can't we stop at that one that looks like it was brought here from Paris?  As he drives by a dozen or so cafes that all look nice and warm.

Oh no, he remembers this very special one.  I'm cold and hungry, and I am dreaming of a nice cup of hot chocolate in a warm, cozy seat.  We drive down a dead end street, we drive to China, and he is still determined to go to that specific, special cafe he remembers.

On one street, every meter (this is Europe - think metric) or so stands a lovely young lady. Each lady is wearing high-heeled white boots that reach all the way to her thigh.  I realize they must be selling something.  They must be advertising those fancy white boots.  They all have very short skirts on, presumably to show off those boots.  A couple of the ladies are not even wearing skirts.  They are wearing leotards with their boots.  Perhaps they just came from a dance class?

There were several men stopping to talk to the white boot ladies.  The men must have been buying boots for their wives - how sweet!!!



Even though my husband grew up in Berlin, he kept getting lost, and we kept driving down that same street where the ladies were selling the boots.  I asked him to stop so I could get a pair, but he refused.  Perhaps he wants to surprise me with a pair for Christmas.

If you travel to Berlin, and you are female - just remember that white boots are all the rage right now.  Definitely get a pair and parade them on the street - you will fit in like a local!

We haven't been to Berlin in over 12 years, so when we finally found the 'special cafe', I felt as though I was transported back in time.  Back to a time when food didn't have to be good, tables didn't have to be clean and cafes could be cold and drafty.

Lovely


Monday, October 20, 2008

More trouble

When we arrived in Nuremburg, I wasn't surprised to not find my suitcase on the conveyer belt which was shuttling belongings through a trap door. How could my suitcase find its way through the labyrinth of the Charles de Gaulle airport when we barely made it to our connecting flight by running and crawling and following the trail of signs.


My first thought upon realizing that no more new pieces were appearing was - lost luggage = the perfect excuse for an 'out of control' shopping spree. With a great excuse, I was able to finagle a detour to the shops. We started in a lovely boutique. I frequent this shop when in Germany and usually have to censor myself to keep from buying more than will fit in my suitcase. However, I don't know if it's the 'breath fumes (see previous post)' or the lack of sleep, but I cannot make a decision and am having trouble even looking at the clothing.

I realize that I have to refocus. What is most urgent at this point? Underwear. I can rewear jeans, even after travelling in them for days and breathing on them with dragon breath. I can borrow a shirt from hubby, and I can sleep in one of his t-shirts, but I cannot re-wear my underwear, not even inside out, and his underwear has a wierd pooch in the front that I have no use for.

So, we head off to the underwear store. Bear in mind, that we are in Germany, and I can speak German just well enough to get around, but it takes a little time for the words to come, especially when I haven't slept.

We find the lingerie store, and there are beautiful European designer pieces that would look fabulous on any self-respecting anorexic model. I begin to walk through the racks and soon realize that a woman is following very closely behind me. I hear her speaking to me, but I ignore her hoping she will go away, because I simply cannot think of the translation for %$&* off! She lags far enough that I don't have to run and duck between the racks any more. Then, another woman is following me and asking me in German if she can help me find something. She spoke too loudly for me to pretend I didn't hear, but I do anyway. Soon, three women are gathered behind me, following every dodge and zag. This is now gang violence in the lingerie store. They are taunting me, speaking German among themselves and laughing . . . at me.

I turn towards them and try out a few of the Tae Kwon Do moves I have seen my son practicing, so they will know they can't mess with me. Then I leave the store with dignity and my head held high, knowing the only underwear I had was the pair I was wearing. Who needs their brand new, clean, non-stinking panties, anyway . . . besides me. We leave the shopping district empty-handed, and I know I wasted my best ever excuse for shopping, thanks to the 'panty gang'.

Finally, we landed in our hotel room approximately 24 hours after leaving the wedding - on virtually no sleep. I brushed my teeth, scrubbing and scraping for 218 minutes continuously. I took a shower for at least 3 hours and put on a nice clean t-shirt of hubby's. I tucked into the clean sheets, knowing I would need to find a good use for that pooch in his underwear tomorrow, because I would be wearing them.

Warning: Dense, stinky fog in Paris



We've had such a busy October. I knew it would be so, and I tried to gear myself up for nonstop stuff I had to do. Every single weekend was taken up by skating competitions, piano recitals, weddings, etc. Then, my husband's mother got sick. She lives in Germany, and we live in southern part of the U.S. We had to add a trip to Germany into our already packed month.

So, we left from a wedding of our Polish friends, after munching on lobster ravioli and toasting the couple with champagne, we drove directly to the airport. We chose a flight that connected in Paris, since it was the latest flight out.

Once on the very full flight, I was sandwiched between my 6'4" husband who tries not to trip the flight attendants with his legs draped into the aisle and some other French man. We ate around the packaged meal which included a salmon salad that wasn't awful.

Around two hours into the flight, I felt that familiar feeling that always comes on the transatlantic flights. The inside of my legs began to jump like baby rabbits under the skin. It feels like I am trying to contain a zoo within my muscles while confined to a small square area with snoring men on either side of me. It is at this point that I see the worth of the $10,000 business class seats. But, the real trouble is yet to come.


At some point during the flight I do finally fall asleep somehow quieting the bunnies in my legs. When I awaken, I taste the foul, awful thick and noxious cloud that has formed around my nose. I mentally accuse the man next to me for the stinky breath I smell. He is French, after all.

We are served breakfast, so I eat some of the hard, crunchy melon that is supposed to pass as fresh fruit. I then realize it is not my neighbor's breath that's the problem. The fruit tastes like bad breath, and it is coming from my own mouth. Fruit is supposed to help freshen the breath. It doesn't. I realize that I forgot to keep a toothbrush in my purse as I usually do for these flights. The lobster ravioli and the salmon salad have returned as a nasty version of their former selves to haunt me. So, I take a peppermint out of my purse. I can't even taste it through the stinky fog in my mouth.

We leave the plane and begin the long, journey to another gate in order to catch our next flight. The first mile walking through the Charles de Gaulle airport dries my mouth out. I'm so thirsty at this point, I am on my knees begging for water, and the stinky breath fog grows around me. My husband makes me stand up and walk, and the fog extends 10 feet around me. I notice people ahead of me gagging as they walk towards me and then running past to try get away from the stinky breath fog. We then have to walk 18.6 more miles, get on a bus and ride for 34.8 miles, board a train and finally arrive at the next gate. I have now spread the stinky fog all throughout the airport.

Paris, I'm so sorry. Perhaps if you made your airport more efficient, I could have contained it more.

If you have planned a trip to Paris, I suggest you postpone it for a few months to allow the stinky breath fog time to clear. It should be fine by December.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The difference between a hockey mom and a skater mom


I am a figure skater mom. We're pretty much the same as hockey moms . . . without the lipstick. My daughter has been skating with another girl for about five years. The other girl is cute, she's sweet, she's fine (monotone fine, as in ok, not as in fiiiine - hot fine).

Her mother is different. She has known me for five years. She doesn't know me at all. She talks at me all the time, but she has never listened to anything I've said or noticed anything about me. She is is cordial, and her fashion sense is a bit lacking. A person's style is generally not an issue with me, but stay tuned because hers will become relevant.

We recently both traveled to another state (separately) in order for our daughters to compete regionally. After competing, our daughters were equally apathetic about visiting the historic sites of this city, so we decided to tour it together in order to ease their pain, but to at least walk by the local sites.

At one point, she began to offer me advice for footwear. She asked me if I ever bought shoes from (I don't remember the name, but insert your grandmother's favorite sensible shoe brand), and continued to say how great those shoes were and that I should try them. I never tried those shoes - I prefer that my shoes don't embarrass me in public.

What you have to realize is that when she asked me this, she was wearing . . . . . fake fur-lined house slippers!!!!

No joke. She was seriously giving me shoe advice in her cheapo fake fur-lining on the inside, man-made uppers on the outside house shoes, that she wore specifically for site-seeing in the city!!!!

I sat there in my beautiful (and comfy) Cole Haan shoes and my snappy Diesel skinny (non-mom) jeans listening to her with my mouth agape. Did she notice that I had found the completely perfect city touring shoe that was comfortable, yet stylish and wouldn't make my feet too hot by surrounding them with polyester pile?

I try to keep an open mind and could care less what other people choose to wear, but if someone doesn't ask for your advice on footwear, personally, I think you should keep your advice to yourself or beware the open jaws coming for you, ready to lock down figure skating mom style.

Monday, October 13, 2008

What's Real

I just returned from a trip to another state. I had trouble on this trip because I have a penchant for things that are real.

I knew I was in trouble when I checked into the hotel, and it was adorned with fake ivy. It was everywhere draped throughout the center of the lobby. It was high up. It was too high to touch, but it was not real. How is it that when someone has hair on their head that isn't real, it is completely apparent to everyone. Everyone except the fake hair wearing person. I think the fake hair is often made from real human hair, but if it's not really the wearer's, it's not real. That's how it was with the fake ivy. I knew instantly it wasn't real. This hotel was supposed to be a 4 star hotel. That hotel would never make it in Atlanta.




The next problem with 'real stuff' was in finding food. I like my food real. I don't like my tea made from a powder. I want it steeped - that's real tea. I don't like cheese from a can. I like my food to be recognizable and fresh. I don't like anything that is made in a lab to taste like something else. When we first got hungry on this trip, we went for pizza. The restaurant looked fine, and it looked like they were making the pizza fresh in the back. The drinks offered were in a cooler. We looked on every label of every drink in the case. Every single drink was sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. I try to avoid corn (see the King Corn movie) in my drinks, because hfcs is not real.

We ordered a cappucino at the rink. It was definitely not real. When a cappucino comes presweetened and excessively so - it's not real!!!

The ultimate in 'not real' would have to be prevalence of altered body parts. You know you spot cosmetic surgery from a mile away. When you look at someone and have that feeling that something is just not right. Get real, y'all!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bad Day

The other day I had a really bad day. My kids are homeschooled so that I have servants. I can't afford to hire servants, so I had to train them myself - 'homeschooling' !

My daughter had not warmed my tea to the proper temperature. My towels were not heated sufficiently for when I stepped out of the bath, and a vital ingredient had been left out of my morning orange juice - champagne. That was just in the first hour of the day. You can imagine how the day went from there.




My 9 year old son is still learning, so I can't be too upset when the laundry isn't folded perfectly or when he takes forever to iron the sheets for my bed, that's how I roll.
-Segue - since the closet in my room was waaay too small for any self-respecting woman who doesn't wear 'mom jeans' (that's for you Kirsten). I decided to turn my son's bedroom into a 'princess-style' closet. He can sleep on the sofa - he probably won't even notice the change. This is the perfect school project for a 9 year old.-
But, he forgot to use a level and hung the closet bar crooked so that all my clothes bunched up at one end and were completely wrinkled!

I became so frustrated that I decided to 'show them' and just leave without any warning or hint of where I was going. First, I had to finish my morning stretching, but then I would go. Well, I might as well eat lunch since they finished making it . . . then, I'm outa here!

Okay, I was still planning to take off. I needed to 'show them', but first I had to watch the latest episode of Cribs on tv - then . . . I would go. Well, at that point I needed to check my email, but then I would go, and they would be sorry!!! Oops, I got a bit caught up looking at 'stuff on my cat' and watching Sarah Palin have all her witches removed on you tube. I still had to get out of there before I got stuck at the dinner table with them.

So, finally, I walked out the door and got in my car, opened the garage door, slowly backed out of the garage . . . wait, why didn't they run out after me, begging me to stay? Maybe they didn't hear the door slam. I screeched out of the driveway just to be sure they knew. Still, I saw no one peeking out the doors or windows. My cell phone was eerily silent. I began to drive to nowhere - this would show them!!!

I drove around, certain that they were worried sick, but hadn't thought of trying to reach me on my cell phone. It seemed like an eternity, waiting for them to notice I was missing. I wanted to go home.

I waited for my husband to get home so I could make a grand entrance, they could all circle around and tell me how sorry they were and how much they missed me!

So, home I went, driving slowly to keep them in suspense. I eased down the driveway, opened the garage door and drove the car in. After parking and sitting in the car for a sufficient amount of time, pretending to finish listening to something on the radio, I slowly opened the door and made my entrance.

They glanced up at me from the floor they were scrubbing. In my heart I knew the furtive glances meant - we love you!!! we missed you!!! please don't leave us!!! we want to serve you!!!
I knew my husband was just pretending to celebrate that I had been gone. Inside he was completely torn up over my absence.

Fog Piles