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.


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