Monday, November 30, 2009

So we had our German Thanksgiving. It was nice, albeit having to explain each dish I had prepared. Cranberry… yes, I know they look big. No, they are not from an actual forest in Sweden. Yes, there is a lot of sugar in them. Yes, a lot. And that? That is stuffing. It’s a bit like a Knödel, just all broken up, and with celery - not the celery root, the actual stalks. (Telling people about the celery makes a lot of them put the serving spoon down before taking any.) One year I didn’t tell anyone, and one person (Oh all right, it was my mother-in-hell, I mean law) Grabbed, and I mean literally GRABBED her glass of water and gulped it down. What was that, what did I just bit on, WHAT WAS IT?? (Did she think it was a cockroach?) And then there are the bright orange sweet potatoes. I like to call them the polite bite dish. Who, on the face of God’s green earth takes a teaspoon of yams? Germans, that’s who. And the Gravy goes on EVERYTHING people! I don’t even bother serving pumpkin pie. The Pumpkin Pie -yes, I even capitalize it - is Holy to me. And I will not have it sacrileged by a bunch of “isn’t she serving spätzle??” Germans.
All in all, I did get a lot of compliments. However, the after-dinner Thanksgiving tradition of undoing your pants and flopping on the couch doesn’t go over well here. I had to stay buttoned.
The day after with my German husband is always a treat. It is time to put the furniture Back In Order. I need to back up a bit and tell you about the 24 hour argument/anxiety attack on Uwe’s part each and every time I invite a lot of people over. It requires setting up another table, and moving the coffee table out of the way. This, my friends, is drama. Drama, drama, drama. It will CHANGE the order of life as we know it. Or at the very least, my living room. And furniture DOES NOT get pushed around. If we’re not allowed to shove the furniture around, then why, pray tell, did he put little round felt things on the bottom of everything we own, including the coffee maker.
WHY I ask you, why? And yes, I do wait for him to leave the house and PUSH it around. And yes, I do lie and tell him Alexander helped me CARRY the furniture.
But the next day, bright-and-early-first-thing-no-time-for-coffee, Rainman and I put the house back in order. Jawohl.
But wait, there’s more… more food that is. Leftovers. Now I ask you, are they, or are they not the best part of Thanksgiving? Honestly.
But Uwe has this thing about leftovers. They’re, well, left over. I put them outside on the picnic table. No room in out tiny German Fridge for a roasting pan full of leftovers.
So the kids and I were digging in about noon, and sin of all sins, the last person left the top askew on the pan. And the Saran Wrap from the cranberry had flown across the backyard. Now, not only do we have leftovers, we have exposed leftovers.
That was all he could take. It was, so to speak, the feather that broke the turkey’s back. I got him calmed down, and suggested he go to the sauna. There is nothing like sitting naked with your cousin Ralf and twenty other sweaty people to ease your nerves. It seemed to do the trick. And today, (day two) I shall dispose of all leftovers on the premises. In three weeks we’ll be having a Christmas Party. This will not only require more furniture relocation, but the hanging of colored lights. The more anal he gets, the more lights I hang.

Christmas lights for the house - $150.00
Timer for outdoor lights - $15.00
The look on Uwe’s face when he sees an inflatable Sponge Bob Square Pants on the roof atop 2,456 blinking lights? Priceless.
There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s Mastercard.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

To lazy to lather

Is it my imagination, or do Americans get lazier every year. Liquid soap comes out pre-foamed. My God, have we become so lazy that sudsing our own squirt of soap has become too tedious? What's next? Pre-chewed gum? "ABC Spearmint gum. We do the chewing, so you don't have to."
Do I sound old? ... "Back in my day we had to work up a darn good lather all on our own. You kids don't know how good you have it!"
Next thing you know I'll be buying sensible beige colored shoes with Velcro straps, and underwear with a waistband that goes all the way up to my bra.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Story of Sally and Mrs. Mally

Three things you need to know to "get" the story I have written.
1.)When my mother - Sally - cooks something it is always enough for twenty people. We call them "Sally Batches".
2.)As long as I've been alive, my mother hasn't had many friends. But, the ones that have come and gone over the years have always been, well, peculier.
3.)This story stems from an e-mail I got from her. She was very upset about having hit a kitten on the way home. She stopped at the only house around, and asked if it was their's. The old man told her that people just dump litters of kittens out in the country, and not to be too upset, and that he would bury the kitten, like he has for the past twenty years.

Out of those three things, and a very warped sense of humor, I have written,

The story of Sally and Mrs. Mally.

The old man appeared out of nowhere carrying a weather-beaten shovel. His green faded overalls hung low and saggy in the back, and one of the metal clasps in front was missing. His wife, a hunch-backed old woman, walked as if her left leg was shorter than her right. Her hair was pure white and pulled into a loose bun held together with bobby pins. She hobbled towards a simmering black kettel in the side yard and stirred it with the most enormous wooden spoon Sally had ever seen.
„I‘m Mr. Mally," he said in a consoling voice. „Don't worry none about that kitten. Happens all the time. People just think those poor little things can take care of themselves, and they leave whole litters of ‘em out here in the country. And, well, they wind up getting hit by a car.„ Sally listened to old Mr. Mally, still in shock from hitting the kitten. She didn‘t know what had happened. It was as if the kitten had actually flown through the air and landed in front of her car. „Can I interest you in one of the missuses fine crocheted couch throws?“ Mr. Mally asked, startling Sally back to reality. „She spins the yarn herself. Ain't nothin' softer than kitty yarn." He spit a stream of brown chewing tobacco out of the right side of his mouth and pointed towards a green roadside stand.
"Got free samples of jerkitty today. Smoked-n-dried right down yonder in what used to be the old outhouse. Just the right size for a smoke house." He hooked both thumbs into the sides of his overalls, gave a Skoll stained grin and continued with his sales pitch.
"And everything here is Or-ganic." That's just how he pronounced it, with a pause between the Or and the Ganic.
His wife gave a friendly wave as she stirred the kettle. "Won't you stay fer stew? Got plenty. With your hit, that makes five today. I'll have to freeze it if you don't stay."
Sally's eyes darted from the makeshift roadside stand, to the old woman, and finally stopped on the still warm road kill.
"Name's Nellie Mally," the woman said hobbling towards her. "I always make too much. My young-ens call it a Mally Batch when I cook."
Sally couldn't believe what she was hearing. It was like the good Lord himself had brought these two woman together. Destined to be best friends.
"Well?" Nellie asked her. "You gonna stay? Can't you speak woman?"
Sally gave a sly grin. "Oh I beg your pardon." She said sarcastically. "Guess the cats got my tongue."
This made both women laugh so hard they wet themselves right there, together, by the side of the road.
And so began the friendship between Sally and Mrs. Mally. Sally sold her trailer and moved into the old farmhouse. Old Mr. Mally spent his time raising kittens and putting them by the side of the road when he heard cars approaching. Sometimes giving them a friendly nudge, or toss into the oncoming car. Most folks bought a little Jerkitty, or handmade scarf. Sally and Nellie sat on the porch sipping lemonade and spinning "karn" as they so called it. (and giggled like schoolgirls every time they said it. Sometimes they would say it for no reason at all but to have a little laugh. Karn. Tee-Hee, Karn.) If they weren‘t spinning and giggling they were busy cooking up Sally-Mally-Batches of soup or stew.
And they all lived happily ever after.

The End

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Sharon and I became friends the day she came over, handed me a cup of coffee and said, “What the hell is up with your husband’s sweat pants. Is he waiting for a flood?”
“Haven’t you heard? They’re all the rage. I call them Capweats.” - And when I said it, I sounded like Barbara Walters or Elmer Fudd.
The famous sweat pants were an indiscernible shade of green, and the length of a pair of capris. He wore them with black dress socks and sneakers. (Why would I make that up.)
The thing with my husband is, he cannot part with his old clothes. They are “perfectly fine”. And hell hath no fury like Uwe’s anger if he finds I have pillaged his sock and underwear drawer and thrown out the pairs that crunch when you stretch them. Elastic shouldn’t crunch. And that, my friends, is a fact. If we have an argument and I want to really piss him off, I head for his underwear drawer. He follows. “Liz, don’t you dare. I’m warning you!”
I take out a pair of his mommy -wear (Underwear his mother bought for him back in the 90’s) and rip them. Childish? Yes. Effective? You betcha.
My friend Trixie’s husband has the same 100% polyamide white Adidas shorts as my husband. I can hear some of you reading this squealing “Oh, Oh! The one’s with three black stripes on the sides and a draw-string waist!” The very same. Bikini cut and lined with a 100% cotton banana hammock. (Thank God.) I dare say they are pre-1980's. The label says Made in West Germany. And I am willing to bet money his mother bought those too.
What prompted me to write this? Well, the green sweatpants are long gone. (A tragic accident involving gasoline and matches.) However… He went out, and bought the same sweatpants. (Adidas, by the way, with three black stripes down the leg. Just like the shorts.) And while I’m at it, how do men manage to replace their old clothes with exactly the same thing? Anyway, as I was saying - he replaced the sweatpants ten years ago, and now, they too are the length of capris. It made me think of Sharon, handing me that cup of coffee. And all the cups of coffee we had together thereafter. Her’s black, mine with vanilla-toffee flavored creamer.
Just a little trip down memory lane.
Well folks, Uwe has just changed out of his sweats, and left the house. Time for me to wrap this up. The gasoline and matches are ready. Oh don’t worry, there’s an Adidas store downtown. Unless his mother has already bought him a pair…

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Go Green!

Every year it’s the same. We go stateside to visit my family, and I am mocked for my excessive recycling. I wash out the yoghurt cups, and put them in the blue recycling box. Empty cans, plastic laundry soap bottles, gallon milk jugs, glass, and paper - all in the blue box. The problem is, the blue box is the size of a laundry basket. After roughly three days, it’s full. Really full.
I’m puzzled. Everyone in town has a recycling box, yet none are ever full. (Except for mine.) They are put out on garbage day next to a “family size” (it could hold an entire family) trash can.
This got me wondering about the whole Go Green! slogan that is popping up everywhere. Google to the rescue. Ahh Haa… Going green means switching to solar power and hybrid cars. Turning down your thermostat, and being more energy efficient. Well, that makes sense. I googled further, and came upon an interesting website.
It is a list of America’s 10 greenest cities.
Austin Texas is #1 on the list. The city hopes to convert some of it’s vehicles to hybrids. I think they should make all the cars like Fred Flintstones. Just cut out the floorboards so the folks can get a good running start. It would also help the obesity problem in America.
The obesity problem, however, is actually helping “Green America”. Boston, Massachusetts, #3 on the list, hopes to generate its own power in one community by utilizing the used cooking oil from area restaurants. Heiliges Schmalz! Americans eat A LOT of fried food. Chicken wing grease alone could power most of Boston. Add to that fried fish, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, and super-sized portions of french fries and I think we could light up the entire east coast. Seattle, Washington is spending $30 million to be the best bicycling community in the country. I thought Seattle was known for its rain. Let’s hope their raincoats are environmentally friendly, made from recycled plastic, or possibly the cooking oil from Boston.
From now on, I am going to do more than just sort my garbage to help save the planet.
That’s right, I am going green! I am switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, turning down the heat, and hanging the laundry up instead of using the dryer. I wonder if I should write to Angela Merkel about turning the Schnitzel grease into energy? Yes, I think I will.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Gramma Hart

We called her Gramma Hart. My mother called her Ruth “did you put two in dear” Hart. She had a maid, Ola. Ola was a black woman with gold fillings - paid for, no doubt, by my Grandmother. The only apartment I remember visiting Gramma Hart in was 1100 East Avenue. My dad said it was one of many that she lived in, as she kept getting evicted for falling asleep while smoking in bed. (Or possibly her chair.)
Gramma spent 90% of her day propped up on the left side of her king size bed. The right side of the bed was an array of magazines, the newspaper, a tube of blood red lipstick, and the TV remote - which had only two buttons. One for on & off, and one to change from channel eight to channel ten or thirteen. Channel 21 came in fuzzy and only if you fucked around with the rabbit ears antenna. Which was strictly verboten. Last, but by no means least, was the large aqua blue stone ashtray. Emptied every few hours by Ola, and NEVER into the trash can lest another fire.
Gramma’s left leg, complete with stocking and shoe, stood in the far right corner of the bedroom. What was left of her leg, amputated just above the knee, rested on a pillow.
I think I was about ten when I realized why my mother gave her the nickname. Gramma handed me her cut crystal glass and asked if I knew how to make a drink. Having no idea, but much too afraid of the woman to say I didn’t, I shook my head yes. So I trotted off to the kitchen and filled the glass with ice, and then filled it to the tippy top with bourbon. Ola caught me in the living room and promptly took the glass back to the kitchen. “Now we always put a little bit a water in Ms. Hart’s drink,” she told me. Then she dumped most of the alcohol out and added water to the glass. “We don’t wanna haf another fire.” She handed me back the glass and told me when my Grandmother asks if I put two in, to say yes. And sure enough, Gramma asked,
“Did you put two in, dear?” “Yes, Gramma.” I lied, as I reached across the bed and put out the cigarette teetering on the edge of the ashtray.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Got Arnica?

There is no turning back, I am officially German. It has been creeping up on me over the years. The eco-friendly 100% cotton bags I take to the store to pack my groceries in. The Birkenstocks with socks. I argued with my inner self - The bags are practical, and the socks keep my feet warm. I even told myself they were signs of ageing. Maturity had set in. I pick things up when they are lying on the floor instead of kicking them under the furniture. I am an adult. No shame in that. I would rather admit to getting old, than turning German. But lately, I have been doing things that have nothing to do with maturity. Last week at Top Bau - the home improvement store - I toyed with the idea of hanging flower boxes over the edge of the balcony, and filling them with geraniums. This is more German than Sauerkraut and Bratwurst.
Anyway, the final leap happened this morning at 11:46 when the pharmacist handed me Arnica Kügelchen. For all of you Motrin gulping, Tylenol popping readers out there, Arnica is a homeopathic medicine. It can be taken after surgery to reduce pain and swelling. It can help alleviate sprains and strains, and is used for bruise relief. It is also used to manage the pain before and after labor and delivery, as well as lessen trauma.
I looked like possessed Linda Blair when I asked for painkillers during labor with my first child. The midwife gave me Arnica. I threw her out the window. Poor thing. Oh don‘t worry. It was only the first floor, and they gave her plenty of Arnica for the pain.
Needless to say, my whole take on these oh-so-popular little white balls is, pass the Oxycodone, please. I never, ever, ever thought I would have them in my medicine cabinet. It’s just so, German. You know that saying, “More American than mom’s apple pie.“ Thay have one here, it goes, “More German than Homeopathic Arnica pellets.”
I guess this is it. Tomorrow I’ll buy a basket for my bike and ride into town to shop. I just hope my dirndl doesn’t get caught in the chain.
I’d hate to fall off my bike. Oh wait, It’s okay, I have my Arnica!

Monday, April 6, 2009

I don't know who is glowing more, Angela Merkel or Karenne Sylvester

Barack Obama was in my neck of the woods last week. First in Baden Baden and then Straßburg. Current events gal that I am, I knew about it AFTER he was gone. There he was on the front page of the newspaper next to a blushing Angela Merkel. She seemed to be glowing in his presence. Anyone who's seen Angela knows she is not one to "glow". Well, Barack has that effect on people. Especially on the leader of Writers-in-Stuttgart (yes, that was a plug for our writer's group) I don't think I have ever seen Karenne like this. She was still floating on cloud nine Saturday morning.
"I shook his hand." She kept saying. As I watched her make the coffee for the meeting, I noticed her being careful NOT to get her hand wet. Will she ever wash that hand again?
After the meeting, she gave me an animated play-by-play account of her day. Photo after photo. The alarm clock - "This is what my clock looked like the day I Shook Barack Obama's hand." Her breakfast - "This was what I had for breakfast the day I shook Barack Obama's hand. Her morning dump - "This is what my poop looked like the day I shook Barack Obama's hand. Is it just me Liz, or do you see a sort of shroud like shadow of Barack in my toilet bowl?"
Oh all right, she didn't snap a photo of her poo.
I exaggerate this Blog because I am jealous. Did I mention she was sitting in the front row? The friggen front row for cryin' out loud! I mean, at first I was like - Okay, big deal you saw Barack. Then she said she shook his hand. And I was still thinking, yeah, you stood in a crowd of hundreds and stuck your paw through... Then she hits me with, "I was in the front row!"
So, yes, I was jealous. Perhaps if I spent less time on Facebook & YouTube, and more time on current events I would have known Barack was coming BEFORE he had already left. From now on I am going to keep up on what's happening. I'm going to know all the breaking news. And the next time President Bill Clinton comes to Germany I'm going to shake his hand!

Thanks to Karenne Sylvester for this blog inspiration and the great photos!
Check out her web page and blog spots. (for teachers) (for students)

Friday, March 13, 2009

posting not edited yet, might get to it soon

Onto the homework.The notebook came out, as did the spelling list. Word number one: “Füller“. Capitalization was forgotten, as was one of the l’s. He happily killed his mistake, but forgot to use the other end of the killer pen and tried to write over the blank spot with the Füller. It didn’t work. He switched back to the killer. Both ends of the killer were now open, and one of the tops had fallen onto to floor- (swallowed up by the same monster that takes all the hair bands, socks, and puzzle pieces) - never to be seen again. Next spelling word, next mistake. Switch pens, back and forth, back and forth. Now there was a new problem. The killer wasn’t quite dry. Let me take this opportunity to share with you one of my favorite rules in life: Less Is More. In mascara, in garlic, and in killer pens. If you don’t let the killer dry completely you can’t write over it. Also, when killing a word, it takes a few seconds for it to disappear. Newbie’s don’t know this and scrub at the word on their paper. Then they try to write over it using a sharp fountain pen, then again with the killer marker. (yes, it’s a marker, not a pen as I kept writing. And isn’t a marker also in the category of things you SHOULDN’T give to a six-year old?) Anyway, what happened next was a damp, messy hole in the paper. By now it has taken him forty minutes to write six words. Frustration has set in and he has begun to cry. I couldn’t just rip the page out because they aren’t perforated. That, and there are only 16 pages in the notebook to begin with. (See previous Blog). I desperately try to calm him down and find a solution. I Offered to cut a piece of paper to patch the hole. It was useless. He was so overwhelmed from getting homework to begin with at age six, having a teacher that expects perfection, and the pressure of having a “dictation test” the next day, that nothing I said helped. EXCEPT… offering to by a new notebook. So it was back to Toto-Lotto. I bought three new notebooks and another killer. Home again, home again jiggity jig to start the whole thing over again.Eventually he got the hang of it, and soggy holes became a thing of the past. Inky hands, however, NEVER become a thing of the past. The fascination of checking the ink level, or taking the stupid pen apart just for the heck of it never wears off. One of my favorite tricks with the pen is to shake it. Like you would shake an old-fashioned fever thermometer, or a normal Bic pen. This causes the ink to fly out of the tip at an amazing speed and splatter everything within a six-meter radius. A good fight between siblings is a sure-fire way to get ink on the walls and possibly the ceiling. One of them grabs the other’s pen, and a fight breaks out. The owner of the Pen tries to grab the pen back, causing the other to whip it out of their reach in an arc like movement up and over his head. Up and over, left to right, back and forth. And while they do this, they run. Yes, one is running with the pointy pen, waving it wildly and laughing like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. The other is screaming hysterically like Jack’s wife Wendy.“Gib mir mein Füller du Arschloch!”And where is mom while all this is going on? She is sitting on the floor in the ink splattered living room talking through her right index finger, “REDRUM, REDRUM…” Sorry, back to reality. Oh wait, that was reality.I believe this is a good time to end this blog. And Remember, Tintenkiller is your friend.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I was an arts and crafts virgin

The whole “Laterne, Laterne, Sonne, Mond und Sterne” was a mystery to me here in Germany. Why would you spend seventy-eight hours crafting something out of highly flammable material, stick a LIT candle in it, put it on a long stick so it convulses back and forth when waddling down the street, and then give it to a three year old to carry? Honestly, how long before your child’s lantern catches fire and he or she breaks out in tears? My first lantern crashed and burned within ten minutes. I'm sure it didn't help that I used to be arts and crafts impaired. A bastel virgin, if you will. The closest I got to arts and crafts growing up was pressing Silly Putty onto Nancy and Sluggo in the Sunday Funnies. But years of fun-filled afternoon arts and crafts projects with other mommies in Kindergarten has nurtured my artistic abilities. I have blossomed into a semi-professional "basteler" (That's German lingo for a really crafty crafter.)

There IS a reason for the frenzy of arts and crafts madness here. Cutting with tiny safety scissors year after grueling year in Kindergarten is to prepare you for the mother of all cut and glue projects in Germany. The design and construction of the first day of school cone, The Schultute. You can buy them in the store here. However, any German mother would gasp at the thought. Why, that just screams Auslander! Have you not humiliated yourself and your child enough these past four years in Kindergarten? What with the pleather Spongebob slippers, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Enough is enough. Make the kid a cone for cryin’ out loud. How hard can it be?
Oh those famous last words. It involves cutting things out of cardboard, paper and moosgummi. I’m not sure what moosgummi is, but it is a must have in the world of arts and crafts. When you are finished, you will have a three-foot long cone. Decorated with the most complicated design your six year old could think of. It is glued, taped, and stapled. One of mine even involved a shoelace.
And what, pray tell, was I supposed to put into the ridiculously gigantic cone shaped “schultute” ? Was I supposed to FILL it to the brim? He could barely carry the thing empty, and I was supposed to fill it with - well I didn’t really know what I was supposed to fill it with. I knew he had to parade through town with it, so I was thinking something light like… marshmallows. Marshmallows seemed like a brilliant solution. They’re light, airy, and they take up a lot of space. So that’s what I did. I filled my child’s Schultute with white fluffy marshmallows.
If you think the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches went over big in Kindi, you should have seen the looks I got about the two hundred and fifty six marshmallows. While other kids pulled out new boxes of crayons and pencils from their first day of school cone, my kid happily mummfed on his marshmallows. NO ONE told me I could stuff the thing with newspaper and just put a few things on top. I figured that would be cheating, not to mention disappointing. Like Charlie Brown always getting a rock in his trick or treat bag. "What did you get Alex?" "I got a pencil, an eraser, and a bunch of crumpled up newspaper. Scheisse." I think Marshmallows beats that any day.
Poor Alex. As first born, he has had to endure being my guinea pig. He will no doubt be scarred for life. Most parents start a collage fund for their children. We have started a therapy fund Alex. He's probably going to need it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Driving with a butcher knife

I decided to catch up on current events. The first story I found was about a family arrested for assaulting police officers. They were arguing in a car, and the police were called. The son was arrested first, which made his father angry - at the police, not his son. So, the father pulled out a butcher knife. (Mind you, they were in a car, not a kitchen.) He was arrested. This made the mother angry - with the police, not her husband. So... she tried to grab the butcher knife.
Too bad Grandma and Grandpa couldn't go along that day for the family outing.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Superbowl

Yesterday was Superbowl Sunday. It is like THE biggest day of the year in America. Bigger than Christmas. More American than Mom's apple pie. And who Didn't know about it until today?
I tried to tell myself it wasn't that bad. No one in the states knows about soccer. UEFA Cup? EM? And certinally they are not glued to the TV watching the Germans play handball in Croatia. They wouldn't know Heiner Brand's shaggy lip if it kissed them. (A revolting thought, I must admit.)
Oh well. I better get my head back in the sand, lest I find out about something up-to-date over there in America.

Michelle Who?

I just got an e-mail from my friend in the states. She said a few kids had spent the night and had attended a ball that her son and Michelle also attended. So I was racking my brain trying to remember how old her son is. I thought he was too young to have a prom or a ball much less a girlfriend. But apparantly he has attended a ball with someone named Michelle.
I won't tell you how long it took me to slap my forehead and say DUH outloud. Michelle. THE Michelle. As in First Lady Michelle. White gown with feathers Michelle. Apparently when you live so close to the Whitehouse Michelle is spoken of like she is the girl next door. A household name, familure, "per du" if you will.
My God, am I living in a cave?
No, just Germany, still that's no excuse.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Elizabeth Alexander

I was ashamed to say, I hadn't heard of Elizabeth Alexander. I have kids, I am doomed to live outside the realm of current events until they move out. Not that they don't keep me informed. I knew about Brittney shaving her head almost before she did. I can tell you which has-been star is trapped in a jungle eating kangaroo testicles. And I can tell you Dieter Bohlen's latest insult that crushed a wanna-be-tone-deaf-singer. I cannot, however, tell you anything about Obama, much less the poet who received the honor of composing and reading the inaugural poem.
And so I Googled. Very impressive.
When the big day rolled around,

She began
to recite
her poem
Praise song

I think
Needs to work
on her
a tad more.
It was
a good poem
filled with
She should have
figured it out
at the kitchen table
a little while longer.

My moms e-mail

I'm going to share an e-mail my mother sent me a few weeks ago.

Dearest Elizabeth,
Just sitting here having some Hagen-Dazz ice cream (cherry vanilla, yum) I remember reading somewhere once that that name is totally 'made-up' and is not anyones actual old family name or anything. Great ice cream though. Really great cherry vanilla. So I had on the public TV chanel. Or is that channel ? i dunno. Deepak Chopra will be on at 9 pm speaking about Enlightenment. Of course, what elsewould he be speaking about?...... So Elizabeth Alexander (poet) was on the news speaking about her poetry . She read one of hers which was wonderful. She has been invited to speak at the Inauguration of Barack Obama, our new President-Elect, next week when he takes office. I hope you are planning to watch it. Should be very good.. I don't know if you have noticed any change over there, but I have noticed a BIG change here in the States. Maybe it is only in my own mind but I think it is everywhere. I am talking about racism. Racial attitudes towards dark-skinned persons It seems to be actually going away.! Maybe we have a chance at World Peace after all. But as someone once said, "We'll see."

And here was my reply...

Dearest Mom,
I will Google Elizabeth Alexander.
Haven't noticed any change here, but I had visitors from Washington over Christmas. They are both reporters, and In my opinion, were in a sort of trance when they spoke about Barack. They brought me an American sized Coffee Mug with his picture on it. And it was almost eerie when they talked about him. A glazed-over look in their eyes. I'm wondering if the next time I see them they will have tanned themselves via fake-and-bake to a taupe-brown, shaved their heads, and done sit-up crunches to gain a six-pack tummy. Possibly give the Hari Krishna's a run for their money at local airports handing out, not flowers, but Barack Obama coffee mugs - American Size, natch. I think it's wonderful that all of America is levitating on a transcendental high. Let's hope it catches on over here!

I'mnasty, I mean Namaste!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Get Dressed!

One rule you need to know living in Germany is, you have to get dressed. You can not, and will not, go to the store in your sweatpants. No matter how little you need. You will, after many years, find it normal to put on an "outfit" everyday.
Visits home will cause family members to constantly say, "Oh, you look nice. Where are you going?" And after about a week it becomes the family joke. "We have to wait for Liz, she is still inside tying her shoes." The last three words are said in a mocking tone because no one in America wears actual shoes. They wear sneakers if it is somewhere they need to look "presentable" like a restaurant. Anywhere else they wear slip- ons. Doesn't matter what kind. The past two years it has been Gaudy colored styro-plastic clogs. Okay, I know they're called Crocs, but most people buy the knock-offs that are made from recycled plastic found near Homer Simpson's nuclear plant and smell carcinogenic.

Remember the year here in Germany when wearing bowling shoes was all the rage? The weren't really bowling shoes, they didn't have a huge number double stitched on the back heel, but still, they looked like bowling shoes. I took them with me to the States. I don't know what I was thinking. I wasn't. I only know I will never live down that little fashion faux pas.

Just a few days ago I went to see my friend Trix. She opened her front door and peeked around from behind it. "Oh good, it's you. Come in, quickly, I'm not dressed." I went in expecting her to be buck-naked, or just in her skivvies. No, she was fully dressed... in sweat pants.

She, too, has been here just a teensy-bit too long.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

We went to see the new Porsche Museum. After waiting in line for about fifteen minutes, we were informed that it is only open to employees and their families until January. Oh.
But all was not lost. We trotted off through the industry section of the city to see the old museum. We walked past dirty old warehouses, and I kept thinking Hummm... This doesn't seem right. But we trudged on, following the small signs directing us to the "Porsche Museum".

We arrived in front of an old brick office building across from a paint warehouse. Again I thought, Hummm... we entered the building, walked past the men's room, past the ladies room and found the... museum? It was a room. It had four engines, two race cars, two old passenger cars, and souvenir neck ties and polo shirts. It was Christmas time, and they had a miniature manger set up on the souvenir counter top. Ali looked at Sarah and said "Dude, they should like, have baby Jesus lying in one of the souvenir Porsche's in the manger." Even the sale's girl thought it was funny.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I feel old. Did you know that only people over the age of, well, old, say things like, My God, where has the time gone.
If you REALLY want to feel old, you could, for example, spend the Christmas holidays with a house full of teenagers. That's what I did. I have aged about seventeen years in the last two weeks. And I have called my mother countless times to apologize for anything I may have done as a teen to make her pull her hair out.
I was doing fine with my three children. Alex is 15, Patrick is 13, and Julia is 11. Living in Germany gives us a bit of shelter from Americanism. Americanism is that off-kilter way of life that becomes "normal" to "y'all" over there across the ocean.
Americanism #1 - Americans are LOUD.
The second day with two extra teens in the house was going well. We decided to go to the store about 7:30 at night. The two girls - ages 17 and 18 were the first to enter the small local grocery store. Sarah walked on ahead, while Ali lingered at the four selections of cereal offered.
Suddenly, Ali shouts to Sarah - (who is All The Way Down At The Other End Of The Store)
"Yo! Sarah! Grab some Bananas, Dude!"
I wanted to crawl behind the toilet paper display, but thought it would attract even MORE attention to us. What happened next was... good? We were approached by a man in cowboy boots, wearing a belt with a tape measure hanging off of it. "Howdy folks." He said. (Loudly)
This turned into a little American Pow-Wow right there in the Yogurt isle of Lidl at closing time. Who would have thought. Tex's wife and I have the same first name, and we ended up exchanging phone numbers. The world certainly is small.

There is still so much to tell about the holidays. But, Like Dude, I like have to get some sleep.

So, until next time!