Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Useful Moose

Just found a directory of second-hand and free shops. There might be some useful info for you in there.

Wie neu
(like new)

Back to painting!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

&%$§ Telekom

Now I feel German. We've had the first of our moving glitches. Telekom has turned off our phone 1 week earlier than agreed on. No phone, no internet . . . not a single luxury, like Robinso - ok you get the point.

Might be a bit scarce til this gets sorted.

We have the key and the landlord has a small list of things that need to get repaired. There is a door latch that's broken.

Day 1 of the move involved MG refilling all of the holes in the walls. I stayed with him last night while he removed all of the lightswitch and electrical socket plates.
Someone had to be there to call 911 (or whatever it is) if he stuck that screwdriver somewhere it didn't belong. He insisted the screwdriver was designed for that, but I don't believe him.

Today he is taping, taping, taping and riding over to Telekom to give them a piece of our collective minds.

The mooselet is off to gay Paree for a couple of days. The trains are running again over there which means it's back to rioting season. C'est la vie parisienne, or something.

Meet-up

Anybody far enough down south that they would be interested in a local meet-up in Karlsruhe? I am thinking a low-key chance to visit one of our two new Starbucks cafes. Other suggestions are welcome. Glühwein/Kinderpunsch at the Christmas market anyone?

I have one definite, but she is returning from a tour of the Americas :) at the start of the year. Molly, my faithful commenter, has also expressed interest. I walked up to a random English speaking stranger on the street yesterday, poor thing, and gave her my number. Maybe she will call and I have to harrass the neice of an aquaintance of my mothers - who just happens to live about 500 m from here.

The long and short of it is, I am up for a local( KA) or semi-local (Heidelberg-ish) meetup or both. I don't pull a whole lot of traffic here, but if you are interested too, drop me a line, or even better post on it, and hopefully, we could get a group together for an afternoon some time.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Forgetting your English?

Here's a chance to get those synapses firing again and to do a good thing simultaneously.


Short but sweet - vocabulary game, 10 grains of rice to the poor for each right answer.

I can't get above a 44. Apparantly to be supersmart, you have to get to 48. All in the FAQ, kiddies.

HT: Eve Tushnet

Bonanza of Minutia

Despite well-meanng advice, I haven't made much of an attempt to find a new job. I have continued to learn, and there is no doubt I know significantly more than I did at the start. I have made a few phone calls recently that I wouldn't have made earlier, and have sent out a few faxes and emails that didn't need so much correction, but for the most part my writing still requires heavy reworking. I am still not at a point where I have skills that would make me truly marketable.

The week before last we had a madatory celebratory dinner that ran til 11:30 PM (read: I got to bed at 1 AM) in a week where I was overloaded. I still am furious, but I just had 1,5 extra days off and I am OK for the moment. My scheduling this week is going to be tight because of the vacation days, but perhaps I can rack up a little comp time for the move. Last week, I wound up back in the office Thanksgiving morning, which I was supposed to have off - doing recalculations for a project I thought I had finished weeks ago. The higher up who had signed off on the project was speeding away to Switzerland, but his failure to process my "It won't work like this" meant I was in the office wanting to scream "Happy $%&$ Thanksgiving" under my breath from 7:30 to noon Thursday.

But then I was swept off to little America by my sister mg or the Mooslet and MG and all was right with the world . . .

Everyone else at the office is a bit swamped, too. We've been offered "too many" projects, and the normal down-time of the year (sauere Gurken Zeit) is going to be anything but - apparantly it was last year as well, and that was one of the reasons I got hired. So here we are.

But we are in good health, my parents and in-laws are in good health, my sister is here, and we are moving. There are things I want (even more than better kitchen tiles) that we haven't gotten yet - but for the next 15 minutes, I have a bit of space from it and a little peace.

off to write some Christmas cards in my 15 minutes - take care ya'll

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Lincoln can't be outdone. . .


so I will merely offer the following.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.


"It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union."


To all my fellow sojourners and my fellow Americans and to everyone - Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

So not true, but whatever . . .




"whatever . . ." ought to get me back to highschool level. Personally, I think it was the use of "aprapo" that put me over the top.

Seven Random things about the Moose

Thanks to the American in Bad Homburg for tagging me. . .off we go

I have a scar on my chin. In the town baby pool (depth 1 ft.) my sister (not the one that comments here) rammed me in the face with a plastic boat. No stitches, but it was the first time
since my birth I was to the hospital for care.

I may very well write in Steven Cobert for President. But being that the postage for a ballot costs a fortune, maybe not.

Earlier in my life, I was a very poor keeper of secrets. I am much improved.

I used to be able to connect large portions of the history of the monarchs of England through books and films.

I love the ocean, especially in Autumn and I love the mountains. I have lived in both and now live in neither. There is a distressing dearth of lighthouses in Baden.

My father read to us as children. The first book was Heidi and we read Sunday mornings. Later, we had to do the dishes every night and he read to us then. Twain, Dumas, Longfellow, Alcott, Morely, Caroll - what a gift. I can't imagine my life without them.

God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next. (For those not in on the "joke" - trust me, this says volumes.)

I tag

Dixie Peach

In Search of Dessert
Stepping Stones

Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.
3. Tag 3 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs

I have added a few more names to the blog roll on the right. I have much more in my google reader, and even that needs updating. Some people (you may or may not know who you are) aren't listed cause the occaisional post is too graphic, or too hardcore Catholic (Paul :) ) - I am an equal opportunity discrimator. I hope to add more soon, but I just spent an hour adding stuff to the reader this morning so it is going to have to wait.

No snow here - but it's cooooold. (i know, i know, waaaah).

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I am not a shoe kind of a girl,


But these sure are purdy.

Say Hello to my Little Friend!


Mausi's not the only one with a new washing machine. I am betting that her German didn't push the drain pipe back into the machine, though. Mine thought "What a great idea! I can store the extra hose inside the machine!" The problem was, that that put the hose too close to the motor and we had water all over the floor 4 days after we got the machine. Thank God for forgiving service men, who are willing to turn a blind eye to customer error. (Although, if the hose must stay positioned exactly as it is, there should be a piece holding it in place - imho.)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Why we went to Vienna.


Nothing cute this entry. We went to Vienna because I had the opportunity to be at the funeral of someone who I knew only fleetingly, but who was ready to welcome me into her life and into her home. Whether that had anything to do with me at all, or only out of love for her nephew, I will never know, but she was a force unto herself and I always connect her in my mind with the pleasure she found in the good things in life - good food and good music. I had wanted to get back to Vienna to say good-bye, but did not imagine it would be this way or so soon.

I can only hope that these pictures give some impression of the way I remember her. Laughing and enjoying life.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Touchy Topic or "Buße und Moose"

Hunting around for a Mass time on the webpage on the Stadtdekanat in Mannheim, I stumbled across this notice.

Der Bußgottesdienst anlässlich des Gedenktages zur Reichspogromnacht 1938 findet in diesem Jahr in der Citykirche am Markt St. Sebastian statt. Die Feier beginnt am Freitag, 9. November, um 16 Uhr und trägt den Titel „Das Geschenk der Versöhnung kosten“. Mitwirkende sind unter anderen OB Peter Kurz sowie die Pfarrer Andrea Knauber und Lukas Glocker.

The Penance Service on the occaision of the Day of Remebrance for the Reichspogromnacht 1938 (Kristalnacht) will take place this year in the City Church on the Market, St. Sebastian. The service begins Friday, November 9th at 14 PM and is being called "Taste the Gift of Forgiveness". Participants include, among others, Mayor Peter Kurz, as well as clergy members Andrea Knauber and Lukas Glocker.
Let me start off by saying that I agree that acts of public reparation by institutional leaders (i.e. the Mayor, Bundeskanzler, pope, President, etc.) can be acceptable and serve a purpose. Nor do I have anything against the event as it is being advertised in Karlsruhe (a service in remembrance/ and as a warning to the living). I am just wondering how they are intending to work in the penance service part.

Post-modern Germany has pretty much rejected personal sin (social sin, they still have - we are always being reminded that someone, somewhere else, is doing something wrong).
The prayers at church run something like this . . . "Oh Lord, for the times when we have not opened ourselves fully to your love like the beautiful, delicate flowers we are, and thereby failed to experience total fullfillment and have high self esteem every waking moment, we ask your forgiveness."

I don't think they are actually going to be calling anyone to personal change - or even to acts of personal penance (which would be very Catholic, actually, but is as likely as a cold day in Hell, see last paragraph). Is there really a purpose to this? Part of me thinks I might be using my time more effectively to think about currently occurring injustices?

Am I way off here?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Aprapo of Nothing

I was listening to a documentary podcast from RTE (imagine an acute accent over the E) over the weekend which discussed shanos dancing in Ireland. An internet search revealed that that is actually sean-nos (old-style) and boy is it nifty.



Looser than the Irish dancing I grew up seeing. I got the link and lots of other good info from this site.

The documentary was called "Heel Up" and available here or at Itunes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It's all in the fine print. . .


A very busy (seriously) restaurant.



The serve bunnies here and they slaughter them themselves.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Which evangelische evangelikalische witch is which?

Lots to upset the observant reader at MSNBC today. Let's start off with the witches. I have no energy to debate the figures. No -my objection de jour is to the lazy translation that as the first commenter points out is terribly confusing to the modern English speaker.

False friends time, Freunde

What we in the US would refer to as Mainline Protestant denominations in the States are referred to as the "evangelische Kirche" in German. There are lots of exceptions - the Methodists for instance are a Freikirche. (I am not going to speak for Switzerland here.)

Historically you got shoehorned into whatever religion the guy who ruled your neck of the woods decided was most profitable for him in year X (treaty of westphalia??). If he felt his ties to Austria or Rome or whatever were useful to him, you stayed Catholic. If he had his eye on some monastery property you were free to reform if you were doing it yourself and if not a reformer could be imported.

Prior to that, some poor slobs had made up their own minds, but territory went back and forth (some towns near where MG comes switched back and forth between some flavor of Reformed Chritianity and Catholicism 7 times. Seven times!!) But anyway, after year X, your leader decided and you could like it or lump it. He was free to switch after that. You, peasant farmer in the town of XYZ-heim, not so much.

There were lots of Reformers though, and once having made the decision to split off from the Western Church, they continued to split (e.g. Christianity in the U.S.). Soon there were many varieties of the new Reformed Christianity. Unlike the US, though, the government's big ol' mits were stearing this process the whole time, and because religious freedom brought so much chaos, you weren't even allowed free to be the particular flavor of Protestant that you wanted. In the North - way Calvinist, middle Germany Lutheran, down by us, some kind of mish-mash. The point being in each location there was only ONE Protestant church with the locally acceptable seasoning - and they joined together to form (drum roll please) the evangelsiche (Gospel) Kirche (church) after the collapse of the monarchy.

This has absolutely nothing to do with modern Evangelical Christians.

If I meant "evangelikal", I would have said "evangelikal".

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tiles, Yey or Yech ***



The Kitchen tiles - I know, I know - they're not soooo bad, but what to do with random fruit? Ehhhhh brown tiles with ehhhh Birch-finish. I am considering the darkest wood countertop that ikea has. (We are not talking about forever in this apartment, so it's ok if they eventually stain and treating with oil a few times a year is also acceptable.)

*** (German) Igit (eee-git)
arrrrgh blogger is again refusing to let me load a photo, so ya'll still can't see our future kitchen tiles.

So I guess I will have to start off our new moosie series -The Cheapskate's Guide.

We were pretty disgusted with our travel guide in Vienna, and we felt that there must be some sort of guidance for travelers on a tight budget. We certainly don't know it all, but our travel guide was crap. So I will offer up a few measly tips here.

Looking for a great little bar (studentenkneipe) with reasonable prices, Czech Budweiser Beer and brick oven-baked "fladenbrot" (imagine a pita like bread) with a wide variety of fillings? Not much for the vegan here, I am afraid, most contain cream or cheese.

All of this in the 1rst Bezirk and it all hidden in a tiny alley that will have you feeling like a true insider. Oh and have I mentioned that the prices are reasonable? It's smokey; it's a keller (cellar); and the music is loud, but it's a cheap evening out. Here's the menu at Kolar.
It's in the tiny Kleeblattgasse.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

For Jodi




Weak proof that there are vegetarians in Vienna. Even weaker because this vegetarian store had closed. But up until recently there was vegan ice cream to be had. And hopefully Ms J. will be pleased to hear that the fallafel restaurant made a real impression on MG - cheap and super tasty! The tahini was soooo good. I thought back fondly on Sunday Veggie Cooking at the unviersity. We don't have much middle eastern food around here (one of the things I most miss from the States.)

Here's the web address for Maschu-Maschu. And because I like torturing myself with memories of dinners past.
Posted by Picasa

The good stuff




Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Moose Round Up

Lots has been going on in the past few weeks. Many good things and a challenge or two. It was a good week, and there is a holiday coming up next week - all of it leaving me more optimistic. There were some ugly moments last week, but with the coming week split in two and busy, I am back to trying.

We have signed a lease for an apartment and move in December. The apartment isn't my altbau traum, but it falls into the 70-80% range in all categories instead of being 100% in some and 40% in others, AND the landlady wanted us, or at least allowed herself to be convinced by relatives to take us over the other applicants. The location is good. It's on a major street, but the street is especially wide (read: cars much further from our window than they now are) and the streetcar doesn't turn (a huge factor in the noise) and there are little balconies out the front and back. There are 4 Rooms, giving us flexibility for the future should we need it. Everything in the bathroom is in acceptable condition. The basement is huge (We are so happy about this). Parking isn't quite as tight as in other locations in the city. It's on the 1 OG - only 1 flight of steps (Yey!) which reduces our anxiety about moving and for the future.


So now we are giving thought to decoration. The kitchen is an issue. The one that is there is pretty oogly and we can't change the tiles.

Blogger won't let me load photos - so the rest of the post will have to wait

Do you read home design blogs ? Anything you want to recommend? thanks

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Giving "Get off your fanny" a whole new meaning

What I lack in speed, I hope to make up in additional useless trivia. Here is the long awaited answer to the fanny conundrum (drumroll please).

From the Wikipedia entry on "fanny"

Fanny as slang may refer to the:

Abbreviations:

  • FANY, (First Aid Nursing Yeomanry) pronounced "Fanny" were female army nurses in Britain from 1907 onwards, and may be the link between the word and the slang usage.
This newer potential source might explain why there was no problem with the nickname for Frances historically. Aparently there is even rhyming slang for "the f word" now.

Here's a page from IrelandLogue

Fanny - A very rude word for a woman’s private parts.

Seriously.

Never use this word in polite company as it does NOT mean your gluteus maximus out here. In Ireland, “fanny” is so rudely specific, it’s pretty much treated like a curse word.

Poor, oblivious US tourists come to Ireland every day and refer to the “fanny pack” they’re wearing unknowingly causing the Irish people around them to blush and/or giggle every time they hear it said. The anglicization of “fanny pack” is “bum bag,” by the way.

When an Irish friend came to visit me in the bay area he could not get enough photos of the exterior of a restaurant featuring an enormous statue of a woman holding a plate of hamburgers. The California hamburger chain was called, of course, Fat Fanny’s. Hee hee hee.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

We were lucky enough to attend a wedding in Rüdesheim a few weeks back. Here the lovely bride and groom in their
cable car. The guests got to follow them up the hill with this view. Yes, the Rhein was in flood.
I don't care what the guide books say, the town itself is a tourist trap but the region is lovely, and the wall paintings in the kloster are really impressive. We have relatives who stayed with young boys at the Jugendherberge in Bacharach. The boys loved it, telling me excitedly about their time in a Ritterburg.

It was a wee bit weird because we know that one member of the pair went through the whole thing reluctantly, at least initially. Not the relationship or the committment, but the wedding. This is hardly a secret, it was mentioned in the wedding invitation and again during the ceremony. I just couldn't get as into it as I might otherwise would. How worked up can you get about someone improving their tax situation? But the guests were lovely and I got to talk way too much with an incredibly kind British couple.

Hint - don't ever say "fanny pack" in the UK

Genitalities

We were talking about this post from Mausi, and My German, surprised that I might have any objection to naked (somewhat older) children running around, said

You don't want to know the genitalities of your son?!

(I was trying to explain that there was a difference between boxers and buck naked.)

Strangely enough, genitalities were mentioned over at Claire's today too.

Not dead yet


Still among the land of the living, but here are my excuses for not having blogged recently:
  • illness (but that only lasted 3 or 4 days) and for most that's an opportunity to blog
  • the apartment search has taken a number of distressing turns recently. It's my life, but it's to depressing to write about, let alone read
  • travel
  • trying to behave myself at work
Trying with mixed success to keep my life on an even keel has taken up most of my energy, but that doesn't mean I don't have some photos.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Yey.

No apartment stuff, but this.

More Dads making use of the opportunity to take parental leave with the new Elterngeld.

8,5% up from 3,5% in one year. How cool is that?!

I won't go into all of the reasons that this is fabulous, but I do want to add that it has strengthened the resolve of some fathers we know to take time off, and one father I know is splitting the time 50/50. He loves it.

On a much, much sadder note, I am waiting for an email from Lima to find out if a friend and his family are all ok.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Scattered but good.

Lawdy. I do not want this blog to turn into some kind of emotional Twitter.

Things are not any better than they were, and my German and I find ourselves older, wiser and back at square one, but I am strangely relieved to face it all (the housing search) with a clean slate. I am headed to Paris for the first time in two days - how sad can a girl allow herself to be?

MG left his wallet at a wedding on Saturday and it was safely recovered by S., the most organized bride ever. Even the weather bent itself to her overwhelming planning powers. (There will be pictures when we get the camera back!!) We spent Sunday afternoon with more amazing folks in little America-in-Germany. We had our rental car searched with mirrors and I touched all of the couple's American major appliances. They fed us and spoke English and once in a while, I noticed a big word coming out of my mouth. I didn't know words like that were still in there somewhere. Tonight I am headed off to yoga class with a young lady of superior courage and wit. And the weather is gorgeous.

Clearing my aborted blog posts, here is my jotting from yesterday:
Reading this my be nearly as depressing as having it happen to you. My apologies. We didn't get the apartment, but thank you for being so kind and wishing us well.
More from last week
This isn't a rant. It's a whine. Even finding a place to rent is complicated. We missed a good chance a few weeks back, and missed another one I got really excited about over the weekend. My dear German is going to one open-house tonight - the "last" one, but I don't have the impression that we are so appealing that a land-lord would be looking to take us over the "competition".

I want guests, or at least just to be able to extend an invitation instead living in my house of moldy shame. I should just be excited an glad that there are dream apartments out there, and not so disappointed because there is always a little something wrong with each of them (5th floor walk-up, no balcony, too loud) we don't look at places with yucky bathrooms anymore. I really -really- want to move on to the next big step in my life and we don't do that until we do this. So we will continue doing this.

In happy news 3 days of splendid weather and a totally decadent brunch followed by several hours in the Landesmuseum with concepts of Egyptian beauty followed by lots of Egyptian-influenced work by the Beuron School, which totally rocks, btw.


A link to the St. Hildegard Abbey near Rüdesheim - photos of the chapel.






Even if we had a place, I cannot move on, i.e. even think of reproducing until I am out of my frieky name phase. At the moment I am all about "Traudl" and "Lorelei" and "Tristan"*. We cannot give our children these names without everyone thinking we are great big na$i's**, and that couldn't be further from the truth.

* The "Tristan" obsession is not a new one. I had a secret crush as a child on Tristan Farnon from the "All Creatures Great and Small" series. The actor went on to play another BBC fave of mine - Campion.


The best part is that Tristan has become strangely popular in the past few years, breaking the top 150 names, and making me slightly less of a dork (ok, I can dream).

Want to see how popular your name was in the past 15 years (in the States)? Thank you Social Security Administration.

** Google searches amuse me, but I don't want anyone looking for neo-you-know-what material coming here.





Monday, August 13, 2007

All quiet on the Wohnung front

We are still waiting to receive word on the apartment. I didn't leave the interview with a particularly positive view of our chances, but I felt a great deal better once the interview was behind us. The landlady was quite pleasant, but I didn't get the sense that she was in any way convinced by us.

keep holding those thumbs, and thank you!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

You, press me your thumbs. . .

and I will try to keep my ears stiff.

We are going to chat with a land-lady tonight who has an apartment we'd really like to rent. We're the last ones, so we have no right to the place and although I think we would be a fabulous addition to their building (what with my objectivity and all), she may not agree.

I feel better just have written that. Nervous panic abated, I will return to the task at hand. Stay dry all you folks in the West - it is a wet one out there.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

No worries folks. We're off to Paris for a few days in two weeks and in 1 week, I get to see a friend from the States whom I haven't seen in 4 years, so it's gonna be alright.

Just Say "No" to Crack


This post could have had so many alternative titles.

Eating Mohnstreusseslschnecken to Dull the Pain
RIP Traumhaus
What Happens to a Moose Lodge Delayed?
Back to Square 1
etc., etc.

In our last stages of deciding about the apartments we wanted to buy, My German contacted neighbors from the surrounding buildings to obtain their approval for the modest deck/dachterrasse we wanted to put in off our kitchen. Monday morning he sent a fax out to one of them with some drawings. Last evening at 18:30 he got a call back from the owner of a neighboring property who lives in Offenburg saying that there had been a 6cm-crack in the shared bearing wall at some point in the past. The crack had been repaired only with difficulty and, furthermore, at that time their construction engineer (statiker) told them that no further weight should be applied to the wall. Why he couldn't have told us this on Saturday, when we spoke to him by phone is unclear to us, but there it is.

So ixnay on the achterrasseday.



From day 1, the dachterrasse was non-negotiable for us. The garden is extremely small and quite shady and I would never have appropriately managed my jealousy of the downstairs neighbors with theirs if we couldn't have one. On the day I finally decided we should go ahead and do it, we found out we won't be getting the apartment after all.

We know that we are lucky for finding this out now, and all that was due to the hard work of my dear, dear German. 75% of my little heart-break at the moment is for him. He is so disappointed. We had our (Ikea) kithcen planned! We know what we are mourning is the dream and not the reality of the house. We know we are fortunate in eachother, and that we still have what matters, but we are going to have to work through our disappointment for a few days.

Re: work
I have sent out two apps for positions at the university, but generally we have decided to stick it out where I am for the moment because maternity leave will play a role in our future IF (when, when - it just feels like if) we can ever find a place to live. Give us a few days to get emotionally back on track, and we'll get back to looking, maybe this time for an apartment to rent. I worry there about not being able to rent anything in 7 or 8 years because a lot of landlords refuse to rent to people with children, but today's struggles are enough to busy me for today.

. . .doesn't kill you .. .stronger
darkest. . .dawn
humor best medicine
At least we have our health. . .

They may all be true, but I am going to eat some more Mohnstreusselschnecke.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fußless Moose

I wrote this post some weeks back. Notebook lets me get some thoughts onto paper that I can bring to you later through the glories of cut and paste. It does, however, mean that posts don't necessarily reflect how I am feeling this instant, which is shockingly enough, ok. Subject to change with about 4,5 seconds notice.

Well some people gave me a great deal to chew on over the past few days. One, because it sounds like she's got some things sorted out and is happier for it - and that is fabulous, and I wish her much continued success. Another, because she pointed out that despite a great partner and tremendous talents, this expat cosa nostra is a hard, hard row to hoe even after many, many years.

We just celebrated our first legal anniversary. Beating the German state into acknowledging you on any level is an achievement - so it's worth celebrating. My guy is great. I got such a deal, but work has continued to be unspeakable. It probably isn't as bad as I am making it out to be, but my job went from the monster that at my evenings and weekends to a place where there is nothing to do. I envision the axe over my head and the replacements lined up for hire, although this may not be a reflection of reality.

I left the best job ever - a job with its problems, like any other job, but I job I was really proud of, and I came to Germany for some other guy, who though still my friend, decided that I wasn't all that and a bag of chips. I still won't hear anyone talk smack about him, but I have come to believe he was right and been glad that he was brave enough to make an unpleasant decision. He also hung around long enough for me to get my life in order, for which I am also eternally greatful.

But here I am with a job I can't be proud of and can't enjoy. At least if I worked in a cafe, I could enjoy it. And people who love me advising me to leave the career I worked so hard for so long and tutor or something and I feel completely at sea and I wonder when I will get my footing again (Fuß fassen).

The thing to do is to get up off my proverbial you-know-what and face the pain of potential rejection by finding some more companies to apply to. Why can't I wake up as Pollyanna?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Haustier Peeves

* I have things I love, too, but we'll get to that later.

What is it with Germans and bathroom doors? They never, I mean -never- knock first. Of course, I always lock the bathroom door now, but have often had the experience in public restrooms where even the locked door is viewed more or less strictly as a suggestion, and repeated, ever more forcible attempts are made to open the door. I am usually too shocked to respond in a timely manner - "WTF??!!" being the only thought running through my mind as I cower on the other side of the door.

By the by


(This note is not a criticim of someone with furniture in the basement. You've got to store it somewhere. I have less patience with organizations spending millions of tax-payer euros putting some of their most sensitive systems in the one location most likely to get wet.)



A little advice for the world (as if they drop by to read it). If you build/redesign your facility in a flood zone, would you please, please stop putting all kinds of crap you care about in the basement. Ya know, like the expensive stuff. Like your hvac unit, or your computer server, or your security system, or your state of the art kitchen, or your laboratory. Or, for instance, priceless art treasures that have to be painfully and expensively dragged hither, thither and yon every time it looks like it might rain too much.

'Cause, there was like no one who knew that there was a potential for this, or this, or this when all ya'll decided to install all of that below the floodwater line. The stone marker on the front of your building with the historical highwater might just be helpful in determining just where that is.

Thank you for your attention.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Today* we are 33

* Date written, not date posted.

While I would like to offer some profound reflection on aging and becoming an age which I once considered impossibly old, my thoughts today are altbau thoughts and architect thoughts and thoughts of getting together tonight with a new friend and an old friend and a bottle of wine, but we'll see if we get the details ironed out over the course of the day.

We went, laser measuring devices in hand, to remeasure the apartments last night. Most of our pencil calculations were correct, but there was a big difference in one room which made up for most of the missing quadratmeter (square meters). The rooms are the right size (3 m difference is within the acceptable range). The apartment on the first floor is low tech to be sure, but better than I had thought it to be. The tiny WC actually has a proper wall and door, it's not just an open cabinet in the kitchen.

So now, we have to clear out conerns in areas where we are not in a position to judge ourselves. Can we put in the rooftop terrace? Is it technically feasable to put in balconies? (Both important for me, because the garden is so small).

The big questions -
  • The beams - are the spongy or ok?
  • Can we put in a staircase to connect the two apartments. (Raumspartreppe)
  • Does inspection of the basement point to any problems?
  • Are the walls ok?

And then, there are the questions no one can answer for you:
  • Is this what we want for the rest of our lives?
  • Is this bad neighborhood what we want for the kids we might have? Are the chances too high that they would fall in with the wrong crowd in the grundschule and ruin their lives? (School post still pending.)
  • Will the drunk people and grafiti get me down?
  • Are we actually exposing ourselves to higher levels of crime? - We don't know.
  • Are we crazy becoming landlords?

I am at a point where I can't think logically about it any more. I thought about putting in a woodstove and it was over for me. I imagine myself and my bookcase, my coffee, and the fire in the woodstove on a winter Saturday afternoon with kids playing (They're not fighting; this is where you know it bears no relation to reality, right?)

Mr. Moose is excited that there is a zoo nearby (500 m). He has fond memories of going there as a child and is thrilled by the prospect of annual membership and taking his kids there every weekend.

Monday, July 16, 2007

World. fast. spinning. {wretching noises}

Positive - Mr. Moose and I do oodles of talking every night about what we want out of our lives, and I have a feeling we are going to look back on this time very fondly. M.G. is fab.

This following points all re: 1880's house 4apts in not the greatest part of town.

Negative - So the apartments aren't 90qm. They're 78 qm. AND the owner hasn't been paying his house dues for the past 6 months. We're furious with the realtor. We knew he was slimey, but really. This is huge because it meant that the already ridiculously low rent has to be lowered 12%! Argh.

Postive - Downstairs neighbors have made heaven on earth out of their apartment and seem to be lovely people.

Negative - Our potential balcony would darken their kitchen - no go. Putting in a terrace for us might be complicated. Umm, and they seemed to be under the impression we would be overtaking all of Mr. X's unpaid house dues. Not happening. We'd be taking on our undesirably high percentage of it and that's that.

Positive - some of the estimates the "neighbors" had gotten from contracters were lower than we had planned with.

Negative - very cool couple are going to hate us for raising the rent of "our" tenants and kicking the one lady out. It's unsozial - and to be honest, I have thought a bit about the moral implications of it all.

Positive - "neighbors" have good relationships with other tenants of building

Negative - story about garden becoming property of studio apartment - bogus, but we can't go back an make an offer for just the two apartments in which we were originally interested because then Mr. X is still in the game and not making payments towards the facade and roof repairs which we all want to see done soon (2 or 3 years).


Sooooo - What does it say next to "You are here" dot in my life?

Wait for a counter offer from evil-bank/realtor/owner, Wait for response on offer from couple re: cute little apartment. Do not pass go. Do not spend X00,000 Euros.

How much progress can one Moose take?

When we last left the adventures of Yours Truly in Southern Germany, I was lamenting our lack of house/apartment/rental property aquisition. And so it remained, until some time the week before last.

The world has started spinning very fast.

First, we stumbled back across a smaller apartment that we had decided not to look at earlier because it would be a less than 10 year deal. It would be very tight with two small children and should there be a third, you would have to be out before you were out of the small children phase.

The apartment is darling and what we would be looking to take off the asking price is not unreasonable (edited, ok maybe it is). Negatives: streetcar noise, garage rental a must, front facade needs work, 4th story walkup, bathoroom in need of a makeover and a new water heater, bathoroom vents only through terrace access (lots of cold air in the winter). Positives, (mostly) bright airy rooms, several with wooden flooring (yey), a floorplan that works, cute building garden, access and view over huge complex garden, good transportation connection for us both, generous basement. Mixed blessings: discussion of re-doing back facade expanding balcony, no installed kitchen.

But we would definitely _have_ to move out in the plannable future and we worry about being able to find space for a family. Would we be able to sell? We're not sure. We could rent, but having your capital locked up is not so nice. Plus real estate just doesn't seem to appreciate much around here, and Mr. Moose has already started in on the - "Do we really want to renovate X, if we're going to have to move out in Y years?" We wouldn't make our new home perfect because by the time we were throught, it would be time to go and we couldn't recoup what we had invested.

Then came Mr. Moose's dream. An old building (nothing wrong in principle with an alt-bau - preferable, actually) with 4 apartments for sale. We wanted the two apartments directly on top of eachother. One to live in, one to rent out until we need it. Here, the list of negatives. Get a cup of coffee; it's looooong.

I will do a separate post on the school district. There are private school alternatives.

  • Across the street from Sozial Wohnungen. Group of drunk people/drinkers hang out across the street in front of the Plus store. (The are good natured enough- we don't percieve them as a threat.)
  • Major, major facade work.
  • Can't move in for 9 months.
  • Needs at least
  1. new windows
  2. new floors - although these you can live with for the time being
  3. new heating system to replace the single gas ovens - opportunity to do Fußboden-heizung.
  4. roof terrace - would require a building permit
  5. balcony
  • Garden is tiny and in shadow
  • No parking

Good points-
  • price
  • lots of space
  • option to move into studio apartment for parents or for us when steps get to be too much
  • train connection is good for me
  • we could do a lot to raise the value of the apartment. some hope of getting some money back out.
  • could put in dream things (fancy bath or wood oven) becasue one is staying
  • street in front is quiet
  • bathroom WC together, but big

We made and offer for 3 or 4 apartments, and the bank counter-offered 5k more than we had offered for all 4 apartments. The fourth aparment is worth practically nothing. The third we would need to guarantee access to the little garden, although we would rent out the studio apartment right next to the garden.

Facade will be pretty when completed.

A lot to think about.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

There were bells on the hills. . .

but I never heard them ringing, no I never heard them at all, til ...

Nach Hamburg wollen in den nächsten Wochen Niedersachsen und Baden-Württemberg ihre Gesetze verabschieden. Dort soll die Gastronomie sogar schon am 1. August rauchfrei werden. Das Hamburger Gesetz tritt erst in der kommenden Silvesternacht in Kraft - wie in den meisten anderen Ländern. Dort wurden die Gesetze ebenfalls schon von den Regierungen abgesegnet. Jetzt müssen nur noch die Landtage darüber abstimmen.

Following Hamburg, authorities in Lower Saxony and Baden-Württemberg want to pass their [anti-smoking] laws in the coming weeks. It is expected that restaurants and bars there will be smoke-free as early as August 1rst.


All that and the Motu Proprio in one week. Pretty cool. The article has a lot of the usual blah blah "The reactionaries are coming; the reactionaries are coming!" to it. For purposes of disclosure, I am not a huge fan of the Traditional Mass in practise, but I have lived plenty of places where there was demand for it and the bishop thought that once a month on Thursday night was "generous" permission. I also have friends I'd like to see more clearly at home in Rome and this might help. And isn't there something ironic about the bishops being circumvented because there was a problem complaining. If he thought you were correct in your assessment of the situation Your Eminance, there wouldn't be a motu proprio to issue in the first place, so put a sock in it.

This I didn't know and will have to look into:
An indult was granted in 1971 by Pope Paul VI after a group of English luminaries - including Graham Greene, Kingsley Amis, Agatha Christie, Kenneth Clark, William Rees-Mogg, Malcolm Muggeridge, Ralph Richardson, C Day Lewis and Iris Murdoch - complained to him about the loss to civilisation and culture that the suppression represented.


** The Agatha Christie Indult - Huh,who knew? The kids at The Shrine, no doubt, but really, wow. Your religon may have cool meditation techniques (not that Catholicism doesn't), or encourage a healthier diet, or do Liturgy better (high church Anglicans), but until you've got an Agatha Christie Indult, you are missin' out.

It is pouring AGAIN. Not that it's better in the States. My sisters chat status = "humidity". She cracks me up.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

 
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One more thing I learned while in Italy last weekend (and in honor of languages week). We didn't sing the last line - for us it was just filled with la la's so I can't tell you what they are singing.

Constant Craving


ok - maybe only yesterday.

Bacon, egg and cheese on a toasted everything bagel, with a hazelnut coffee.
Mmmmmmm.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Solidarity Delayed

A long, long time ago - June 14th to be exact - International Webbloggers Day was celebrated. (HT: J at Germany Doesn't Suck.) I knew then what I wanted to post, but I was too concentrated on giving a presentaiton in German in front of 90 people. I was just glad to be alive after it was over - but less satisfied with my performance than I had hoped to be. I went to dinner with M.G. and all was right enough with the world again.

There was, however, something I have been meaning to get up here for a while. It has nothing to do with Germany or Expat life, but living over here, one certainly gets plenty of people telling you that your country is crap.*²,³ We are all overweight, poorly educated and beligerant. (Funny how the overweight thing didn''t happen to me til I moved here.) We suck, we suck, we suck (the post-modern mea culpa) now can we please change the subject?

One of the people fond of telling us how horrible we are just did something that I am very proud to say, you cannot do in my country. Well I supposed you could, but you would get a slap-down post haste, even, and I dare say, especially from the supreme court justices whom the majority of people reading this page loathe.

So the next time we head off to a Michael Moore blockbuster documentary, we can remember to be grateful we aren't living in the Bolivarian Republic.




* Not everyone's experience (Heather has an interesting story)
2 I got a copy of this as a wedding present. (Here for the english only folks.)
3 I have had 1 experience in 4 years where someone told me that I was fortunate that my ancestors emmigrated.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Backblog Part I - House Hunting Links

A great deal going on here, without a whole lot of forward movement. How can that be?

We are looking to
  1. buy a "Bleibe" (house or apartment, not yet decided)
  2. replace my Dell which is just a few final boot-ups from paperweight city
  3. buy a car
  4. perhaps move somewhere else while continuing to rent
I have been really inspired by Christina G.'s recent post on American food, and will try to add links to useful sites we are using in to resolve problems 1-4.

It's a lot to do and Mr. Moose, a.k.a. My German, spends a lot of time with his nose tucked into ImmobilienScout and the newspaper, the BNN.

The local classifieds listings can be read in a weekly paper called Sperrmüll, but all the hip kids know that the listings can be accessed from your (for a fee) by computer at Quoka.de.

I have also run across Kijiji, but can't offer an evaluation. There wasn't much there that was helpful for us, but this is true of Craigslist as well.

Here is a web site on which houses are sold without a makler - but the geography is wrong for us.

Here is a nifty apartment we found, but the distribution of the rooms wouldn't work for us and the street is not terribly desirable. . . but it's so cute!!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Search for Moose Lodge

First off, it got mentioned at Girly Weekend, (Jen's new page) that the "joke" in the blog name wasn't clear to everyone. I am writing this all "semi-anonymously", hence Ann on a Moose. It's a stretch, but I once worked for a federal agency with a connection to the great outdoors, so there's that link as well. I do not, did not, will not ride on or advocate the riding oon of meece.

We have started the great hunt for our new "zu hause". On the one hand, exciting, on the other terrifying. What to look for, what to avoid. This will probably be a recurring topic (hope this won't bore you all out of your trees, particularly those of you who already have roofes over your heads.) Some observations to date:

  • Germans do not appear to sell their houses privately with any frequency. (Is the realtor fielding a few phone calls really worth 10k to you? (And then another 10k to me btw.)) And if they have more than one realtor, you could get stuck paying it twice. Haven't quite figured out how that works yet.
  • I think I could get a lawyer in the states to review the sales contract for a hell of a lot less than 1,5 % of the sales price. My normally mild-mannered German said, "Anwalte - die kriegen so-wie-wo für jeden Scheiss ein Arschvoll Geld." Shocked the britches off me.
  • People advertising apartments are sneaky with the living area. Always make sure you get a good look at the size of the place according to the DIN. It's much smaller.
  • We hear that prefab houses from the 50's are/can be crap (hell-hörig, schlecht gedämmt).
  • We want to avoid buying near a Hauptschule - although it's not a dealbreaker because the days of the Hauptschule may be numbered anyway.

Friday, June 01, 2007

My Ipod Boyfriend

I have an audio crush and his name is David Noon. It's alright I've confessed this to my husband and btw, you can find Dr. Noon's non-loading picture off the link from this page.

There's not much going on in his history class that's new to me, but anyone who can talk about an 19th century assasin wanting to "bust a cap" in anyone's anything or a tenament family being SOL when the place burns down or discusses the virtues of "Opposite Day" before lecture can share my commute with me anyday.

And that's all we have time for this morning!

Apparently he also has his own blog. Plenty of stuff to make Christopher Hitchens happy there, but then, that will make most of my readership happy, too, so there ya go. Should the poor man be reading this, really no worries dude, you are just a coherent, confident speaker - a rare breed, indeed.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Indiefeed

Looking for some new music? I can only recommend Indiefeed, another one of the freebie treats I am enjoying with my Ipod.









I encourage you to check out "Ikea" (the text in the box is "reissue-jona") for a little lift and Dntl's "Dumb Luck" for quite the opposite. I really dig the song from "Soular", too.




Last Sunday, we rode again to the in-laws. This is how I see my "wahl-heimat" in my mind's eye, even when it rains non-stop (see Pfingstwochenende 2007).

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Moose on a Bandwagon



The Karlsruhe soccer team finished in the first position in the second league, meaning they move up to the first league. Tickets will become more expensive and they are going to lose quite a bit next year. A mixed blessing, even for fans.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I vote "Hell yes" too.

I was for a rare evening out during the Eurovision song contest this year, and I think it's generally been covered around the ex-pat blog community, but some of you not keeping up on catty celebrity critique might have missed out on this over at Go Fug Yourself.

They have it from Variety.





We are starting to think about moving - how much we've got, how much we can spend, what's available and it scares the living bejeezes out of me. I have no idea how anything works here and what I seem to be being told is that you're not that much better off buying here. (It's been browbeaten into me that one is foolish not to buy if one can manage it in the States.)

I need someone to tell me what to do. There seem to be some many guides in America which explain the steps. First get your credit card debt under control (ok - not an issue). Then make sure that you have your emergency account set up (yes, but how much here etc.) All that sort of thing. Does any one know any good resources they could recommend for a financial ignorant like me?

Oh, and the pictures. Good friends from college in DE and NYC. Did you know that there is a §$%! ferris wheel inside Toys R Us in Manhattan?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Friday night found us at the dissolution of a church Jugendkreis that my German attended in his teens. Some of the folks had continued to meet until recently - while a new, younger youth group had been established and the official end to what had become the "Young Seniors" was celebrated Friday.

There were photos and plenty of video. Their first talent show included clips of my German both playing guitar and juggling and all that with a great haircut and perfectly acceptable shirt. I hadn't known that he went through a cute phase in the middle of two awkward phases (hair too short, hair too long). Yes, even then, he did those weird mouth things while playing the guitar that children do while drawing with concentration - but what a cutey patooty! Unfortunately, even after we get a DVD with the films, I don't see myself getting it formated to post here any time soon.

And so I offer the following nuggets from my German -

Is that a rooster on the weazerwane? (Try "weathervane" with your German soon!)
MG: Do you get cranky before you get the, how you say, regulation? Me: Honey - that's "crampy" and the word is "period".

And yesterday's of Eurovision Song Contest reminded me of Stermann und Grissemann, who used to do a simulcast in audio that made the competition truly worth watching. Worth watching as well is this contribution to Dorfers Donnerstalk. . .

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

WashPost Article on Latino Catholics



This article is a decent jumping off point for one of my most serious gripes about our time in Costa Rica. My friends were begging and pleading with me not to blog this, but this blog is all about cultural differences (well, once in a while) and they don't read my blog anyway.


I was really looking forward to going to Mass during Holy Week in CR, because of my other experiences with Mass in Spanish. Yes, the music is always awful, and by that I usually mean that they sing the same 5 songs ever time and the music is led by some woman with a strangly high, slightly off-key, drony voice, but I am often really touched by the piety I have seen among members of the Latino community. (I, according to the linked article, have apparantly also only been to the "old-fashioned" Spanish Mass.)

And Holy Thursday was that way. The homily was very, very long, but it was good. I knew the songs - as I said, it's the same 5 ones. Altough it's the one night of the year we are supposed to get to sing in Latin - no dice. Why is it that I know so many more English speakers comfortable with Latin than Spanish speakers. (They have higher literacy rates in Latin America and a much smaller step from Spanish to Latin than from English. Why is this so difficult?)



But then there was the Easter Vigil. I have no problem (ok - less problem) with exhuberance in music. I went to prayer group with BAC friends in college. Praise music is fine I have no problem even with clapping or quite honestly with the charasmatic movement - it's just not my box of cookies, but I want to notice the difference between the music in church and what they are playing in the bar, and when they are both backed by a cheesy synth salsa beat, I can't. And "This is our culture." isn't going to cut it with me if 1/3 of the pieces are rewritten (does one say - African American (?)) Spirituals or ($%&§!) the Our Father set to "The Sound of Silence". As all of those were composed by people from my country, it's far more my heritage than theirs.

end Rant part I

Coming in Part II "Animators" and why they have no place at a Mass which runs 2 hours even without them.

Part III - more Animator reflections - "Does injuring people who push the length of the Mass to 3.5 hours unneccisarily constitute a corporal work of mercy?"

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A few photos from Costa Rica

I will fix them later - sorry!! Gotta work.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket