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!