Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Cost of Curves


It all started with a comment. As many great insights in life do. A simple comment, that turned into a ordinary thought, that evolved into a rudimentary idea, that melted into a plan verging on the edges of obsession.
Flash back to sometime in March of this year. I don’t remember the day, but it was somewhere in the middle of being both cold and warm and my husband and I were sitting in our car as we waited to enter a traffic circle. He was driving. I was sitting beside him. We both watched as a very large looking man on a not very large looking motorcycle drove past us and around the traffic circle. I probably chuckled a little, even though I shouldn’t have. It seemed a little out of place, for such a big man to be sitting on such a petite bike. I know enough about motorcycles to know that one should never call one “petite”, but really, that’s how it looked. I cringed and waited to hear the screech of the peg or pipes dragging along the ground as he turned, but was surprised to hear nothing.  “He looks out of place.” I said simply, before remembering something I’d been trying to remind myself of lately. What was it? Oh yeah, I’m a hypocrite.  A complete pile of hypocrite.  My husband nodded his head absently. Feeling a little guilty, I added “Well, actually, that’s probably what people think when they see me driving a motorcycle too.” It was the truth after all, wasn’t it? “I mean, how much more does our bike weigh than me? “ I asked.
“Well, it’s like 600 pounds.” Said the man I love.
“Yeah, and I’m like what? A buck and some change?” I joked. For some reason I always thought it was funny saying that instead of a 100 and something pounds.
Then came the silence. As it always does when a smart man is debating whether he should say what he is thinking about saying. He went for it.  “Um…” He said in a polite tone as he delicately corrected me. “More like a dollar… and a penny.” He said finally.
His words sunk into me. Really, they went straight through my heart (around the padded bra of course). One dollar and one penny. That’s all I’m worth.  I mean, I knew I’d been a bit on the light side… but having my weight compared to money seemed horrifying.  No one even picks up pennies anymore! They’re nearly worthless! One dollar and a measly penny. 101 measly pounds. Grrrr. I simply didn’t like how it sounded.
You see, I wasn’t always so broke on the scale. I used to be worth a dollar and at least a shiny fabulous quarter. Once I even had a nickel on top of that quarter! But that was when I was eating tortillas for 7 meals a day (I’m thinking now that the problem wasn’t necessarily the tortillas, but rather the number of meals per day). Over the last few years I usually stayed between a dollar and a nickel and a dollar, a nickel and a dime. But not now, nope. Just one measly, worthless penny.
Of course, there’s always something to blame… or at least that’s what I choose to believe when I can find no logical reason for my results. One thing is for sure, being allergic to gluten doesn’t help. On top of that, living in hotel rooms for 2 straight months doesn’t do wonders for a girl’s feminine physique either. If we’re being totally honest here, neither does being a vegetarian. Especially a vegetarian who doesn’t really eat processed sugar. I mean, think about it this way;
The World of food and awesome tastiness – gluten = a tragedy.
The world of food and awesome tastiness – gluten – meat = a disaster (usually a skinny one).
The world of food and awesome tastiness – gluten – meat – sugar = a catastrophe
Catastrophe (2 Months hotels – kitchens) + protein shakes + cheese=  X
There you have it.
X=Heart break.  It’s as simple as that.
Oh yeah, heart break and an inability to gain weight.
Sure, I know what you are thinking right now (all two of my readers). I bet you’re thinking something along the lines of “oh poor Crystallynn, you can’t gain weight… what a joke”. Well, it’s not a joke. It’s a serious concern.  And it was then, in that car, by that traffic circle that I decided that I wanted to gain weight.
So I went to work. And mind you, gaining weight takes a lot of work sometimes.
I went on high fat- shopping sprees where I only purchased things within my eating requirements that are… well, high in fat. I ate more nuts than a squirrel, drank full milk, practically dripped peanut butter into my veins via an IV and made a goal to add 4 cheese sticks and one stack (the whole container) of Pringles into my daily consumption plan.
Still no improvement.
Then I thought if I worked out more I would gain more weight. I did gain a little…mostly just muscle. But when I worked out too hard I freaked out because it looked like ALL my PRECIOUS FAT was disappearing.
Then I started to not work out. Thinking that I know many people who gain weight by not working out. It must work for me as well… right? Incorrect. I only felt skinny and lazy.
 I decided I needed to do more about the predicament that I’d somehow found myself in. I needed to be more proactive.  I looked up weight loss tips online and then reversed them (thinking it would have a counter effect on the results… logical right?).  Instead of 6 snacks throughout the day, I ate 6 large meals throughout the day. Instead of always leaving something on my plate, I always ate everything. I quit drinking water with meals so I could stuff more food in my stomach.  I made sure to NEVER miss eating super late and then going directly to sleep. And when I would ask myself “Self, are you really hungry? Do you really need to eat that?” I would ALWAYS answer with a “yes”. 
But somehow, I still lost more weight. Probably because I burned too many calories just thinking about it. I began to dread looking at the scale… the stupid scale.  After weighing in at 98 pounds I bought a new scale (hoping the last two I’d tried had been inaccurate), which also seemed to be wrong.  There was no way I was 98 pounds. That’s what I weighed in 5th grade. Now I was feeling like a pile of spare change.
Meanwhile, the comments of concerned offenders continued to trickle in.  By the time August rolled around, I had heard enough “you need to eat more”s to last a life time. What really bugged me were the blatant accusations of anorexia which usually came from people who I considered nearly or complete strangers. It was getting annoying. I hated how people felt completely comfortable talking to me about my “under-weightness” when it would render cataclysmic results if I took the liberty to mention their “over-weightness”. It simply wasn’t fair.
It was on a cold day in September that I decided more drastic measures must be taken. I couldn’t eat gluten (I get much too sick for it to ever be worth it), but there were no physical reasons I had to avoid meat and sugar. I simply felt healthier and had more energy when I didn’t eat them.  One month. That’s all it would take (I thought as I worked out my diabolical diet plan to gain weight).
I called the plan my “Get fat fast plan”. It was as simple as the name.
I decided I would eat meat and sugar for one month… and lots of it. In my mind, it seemed I would grow to a very large size during that time and then I could continue with my normal eating afterwards and still have a healthy supply of fat.  It was almost like I couldn’t wait to look in the mirror and see love handles.
On day one, my husband was concerned when I ordered a bacon cheese burger, strawberry milk shake and fries. He was astonished when I actually bit into it, and he was somewhat terrified when I completed the entire meal. By the time I ate ice cream for dessert and bought a bag of Halloween candy (that I planned to eat long before the Trick or Treaters even picked out their costumes), he was certain I had snapped. Secretly, I was wondering that myself. It seemed so strange eating such unhealthy food… especially in such large quantities. But I didn’t stop there. I knew I had to push on. You know what they say about a diet… it only works if you stick with it. I ate like that every day. Not to mention I supplemented with butterfingers, snickers, hot dogs, milkshakes… the list was endless. Are you feeling sick yet? I just ate and ate and ate. I felt sluggish and full… all the time. I even set reminders on my phone to eat again, reminders that went off long before I even felt anything that remotely resembled hunger. Hungry? I didn’t even remember the meaning of the word.
After one month I gained 9 whole pounds! Well, that, and a whole lot of confidence. My tight jeans were actually tight! What can I say? It was a joyous time for me. Although slightly worried about my cholesterol levels, I felt like I was really making progress.
But then I ate one too many snickers bars. I’d maxed out and suddenly, I couldn’t take it anymore. It was like my body was literally cringing as I swallowed it. ALL the junk food. ALL The sugar. ALL the fat. ALL the grease. It was disgusting. I mean, on that particular day I had eaten cake frosting… for breakfast.  I felt sick even thinking about junk food. It reminded me of the day after Halloween as a child. You know, when you wake up sick (just like Mom prophesied) because you ate too much candy?  It was like that, only times that feeling by 30 days. So I decided I’d start being a little healthier again.
One week later, at weigh in…. I’d lost 4 pounds. That’s almost a whole nickel.
So here I am. 103 pounds (after breakfast). And I’ve just decided something. Women are never happy with their weight and it’s really stupid. In Asia all the women want to be bigger, in the US all the women want to be smaller… in France all the women want to be hairier (Haha! Sorry, I couldn’t resist).  It’s like we just have to be skinnier or fatter all the time… when what we really need is to be more confident all the time.  When it comes down to it, what you think about yourself is probably pretty close to what everyone else thinks about you. What’s important is how beautiful you feel. And feeling beautiful is an entirely different thing than being physically “beautiful”.
As for me, I might only weigh a dollar and a penny on some days. I might feel like I’m blowing away if the wind picks up and I might have to wear a belt on my size 1 jeans. I might have to sit back in the seat to activate the air bags and I might have a colorful collection of push-up bras.  I might even have to “run around the shower in order to get wet “, but the truth is, that’s okay. I’m healthy enough to run aren’t I? : ) Plus, who doesn’t wear a push-up bra? Your brother?

I took this picture at the Deutsch Gemeinde P.V R├Ątsel Fest. It reminds me of a time when it only took a costume dress to truly feel like a Princess. : )

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Yeh absolutely Lovely, ye really are. Ye really are.

Last week I flew to Ireland. I'm not going to lie, it didn't take a whole lot of planning. Pretty much, I sat down at my computer and the idea popped into my head and for the first time in my life, I thought 'I'd like to go to Ireland'. It was almost like that 'I think I want cereal for breakfast' feeling. So I bought some tickets off of my best friend-internet site (skyscanner) and reserved a hotel and rental car. Luckily, my adorably understanding and sweet husband did what he's so good at (understanding or at least pretending to) and kindly went along with my unfounded trip plans, which I had no certain explanation for. He supported them anyway,  unfortunately he wasn't physically able to ACTUALLY come along (some people actually have jobs I guess), so I went alone. A couple of days later I did something very unnatural for me... I'd almost call it an anomaly, but I like that word too much to use so casually. I packed my suitcase the day before the flight. Not like there was a lot to pack, one of the requirements of flying on a wickedly cheap airline is that A) you might actually need to know how to operate the emergency Exit door and B)you can only bring a bag the size of your makeup kit. Okay, I exaggerated, but still... only one slightly smaller than usual carryon. The only tough part was jamming my tripod in diagonally... and then fitting my camera gear in... and of course my mini-dell.... and that darn makeup bag... AND clothes for nearly a week of Ireland. Just to be on the safe side I wore the ugliest clothes that I have; my baggy black "travel pants", and the delusive green sweater my sister gave me. I say delusive because when she (or my cousin) wore it she (they) looked like a Ralph Lauren ad (I saw with my own eyes!) and when I put it on I just looked like, well, probably like an unattractive kid named Ralph.

The news is; I love Ireland. With all my heart. I really do. I spent my time there writing, taking pictures and exploring (all while praying not to die due to my driving). I can handle twisting skinny roads and steep cliffs with only barbed wire fences for guard rails (how unpleasant would that be? Can you imagine driving off a cliff to your most certain death and getting scraped up by barbed wire on the way down? Miserable), fast speeds, driving on the left side of the road, sitting on the right side of the car and driving a stick.... but ALL those things added together? PLUS THE SCENERY?
I've got two words for you;
Adrenaline Rush.
I mean really, why skydive when you can drive through southern Ireland? I'd still opt for skydiving. It's much safer. Plus, when you jump out of an airplane they don't authorize 1700 dollars on your credit card just in case you come back with a measly scratch.

The scenery was breathtaking. The people were incredibly friendly and usually incredibly old. Maybe it was just where I was, but it really seemed like I didn't see a single young person the whole time. It just seemed like an old place in general. Old and calm. Quiet even. I stayed in a sweet little village near the Ring of Kerry (a beautiful and life threatening costal drive), in an adorable B&B ran by an adorable old Irish Grandpa named John.

I think my favorite thing about the trip was the feel of the place. If felt like everywhere you go someone will walk up and say hello and stop to talk for 5-20 minutes. It seemed like in the little villages, everyone is either your friend or going to be soon. Imagine that.. me making friends... IN the goblin sweater! Haha! Actually, I didn't make any REAL friends, but I did talk to a lot of people and got to glance into their lives for just a moment and I usually went away thinking that I'd like to be real friends with them. I saw a lot of pairs of very kind eyes there. Except for the chainsaw salesman... he was terrifying. I'll see if I can post a little clip of him on the job. If it doesn't work, just know he was at least 6.5 feet tall, skinny legs, huge upper half, red sweater and yelling at people while trying to force them into buying chainsaws. Don't forget to add the Irish accent, stereotypically speaking, the guy was the epitome of a thug. It's amazing I haven't had nightmares about him yet. A chainsaw seller.. of all things for a man like that to sell!







 I thought this would be a nice place to grow old.


 This luxurious two lane road (speed limit 40MPH!) was a joy to drive on. Really, aside from thinking that every second might be my last (before the barbed wire and plummeting to death thing) it was lovely.


                                   I love this picture. Something about the colors.







 This is my little friend "Pluto". According to Jim O'Conner (his employee/owner) Pluto drinks two pints of Guinness every night.


 When I asked Jim if Pluto was an alcoholic dog he said "naw, naw, he ain't an alcoholic dog, not yet he ain't, but he's headed down that road he is, he's headed down that road. He won't sleep without it. I have to give it to him. He's the boss he is. He's the boss you know?"


 Even with a hangover, Pluto was a pretty talented dog. At Jims request he dropped his treasure of a rock and retrieved his frisbee from the open van door. When Jim was busy trying to fend off the chainsaw sellers, Pluto reluctantly turned to me to throw his frisbee, but then decided it was more fun to push it into my hand until I tried to grab it and then pull it away from me. Over and over again. I can just imagine what he was thinking, 'humans are so easily entertained'...I agreed with Jim "Pluto is the boss."


 Jim told me times are tough in Ireland. He said the recession has so many out of work. He said he used to be a fisherman, but the village sold their rights to fish the river to foriegners. Today he and Pluto just came down to the port to watch the water and clean up his little fishing boat. I could tell there were a million stories he wasn't telling me. I could see it in his eyes.

 

I took this shot from someone's front yard. It must be miserable, staring out at that crappy view every day.

 This bay is located right in front of a chocolate factory. A real one. Full of smiling Irish women in hair nets and aprons.


 Meet me for lunch, or for forever... which ever.


 There are two things  I really love; Sheep and painted sheep. Which might be why I loved Ireland so much. It's loaded with flocks of painted sheep. I'm not certain why, I'm thinking it would be a convenient way to distinguish who is who or who's is who's. I heard from a local that it might have something to do with "sheep dipping" which is when they emerge each sheep entirely in a pool of (safe?)  "critter mix" to get rid of the "critters and bugs".


The beach. Even though there are lots of beaches around, this one is called "the beach" and every one knows where it is.


Pluto seemed deep in thought over something. Perhaps he was thinking about the recession as well. Or maybe about going fishing again. Or maybe about the pile of nets he had just peed on.


When I met Margerett, she told me she is nothing special, she is just "half of a shop owner, who owns half of a shop and does nothing but stand in the doorway watching the dear little bird who comes to eat each day. Because things are slow this time of year". I thought she was pretty remarkable, especially because she knew the location of every single article in what she blushingly called her "a bit untidy shop". I'd been standing there for 5 minutes before I even noticed the cash registrar. Can you find it in the picture above?

 The place seemed magical for some reason. Like a treasure chest.


 When I asked this man if i could take his picture he said "ye don't want a picture of me Love, I'm not what they call.... photo...genic.'' I couldn't think of a more photogenic face. I told him he was very handsome and he just grinned at me as he slowly shuffled away. Really, he was adorable.


 This was taken a five minute walk from my B&B.



 A rare photo of the green goblin sweater. Now that I'm looking at it, the smurf boots and pants probably didn't add a whole lot to the togetherness of the outfit. The house behind me is part of a little village on the cliffs that was supposedly abandoned in the Potato Famine of the 1850's.



 I guess I missed the last ferry for the season.


 Oh well. I'll just take the other scenic route.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blog, we need to talk.

Hello there Blog.

 Yes, I thought I might find you here. Yeah, I know. It's been a long time. I'm not surprised you weren't expecting me. There's something we need to talk about. I know, I should wait until I can talk to you in private, but I feel it is of an urgent matter. I don't blame you for being upset. You've been severely neglected. I didn't mean to leave you there, alone, in that place where all forgotten Blogs gather together to collect dust and lament over what could have been posted, had their makers not walked lazily and selfishly away. Really, I'm sorry. I never intended to desert you like that. Honestly, I thought you and I could be great together. I thought we had so much in common. You, a silent and constant listener and me, a loud, constant blabber... really, I thought we were perfect. But now the brilliant and hopeful potential we had seems to just mock the slow, dwindling pain of our demise, as potential often does. I need to be honest with you before it's ultimately too late for reconciliation.What it came down to was as simple as this;

Blog, you are the essence of dullness. I can't even read you without nearly succuming to a sleep coma. It's unhealthy really.

I can't stand how you just sit there, without meaning or purpose. I don't mean to be rude, perhaps I am out of place to say this, but it seems you have a vacant soul. This is a very bad thing to have, sometimes even incurable. I know, I know. I'm probably partially to blame for all this. Althought I wish I could wash my hands of guilt, technically it was I who created you and fed you every single word you ever relayed, but still, something has to change. You're just terrible, really.
I know I make so many mistakes. Don't think you're the first one to call me out on that one. I know I really need to work on my communication skills. It was awful of me to eat ice cream in front of the Eifel Tower and not even mention it to you. It was so inconsiterate of me. Heartless really. There is so much I haven't told you about. From speedo girded fat men to being stranded at sea with a windsurfing board, menstrual cramps and a headwind. So much has happened. You missed the Sleeping in castles, angry train ticket men, beautiful poppie fields, one legged Pigeons, black berries, strange hostel mates, stranger food, breaking more bumpers (3rd one this year- Im afraid it's become somewhat of a trend), 3??? hotels(not to be confused with 3*** hotels), family visits, herbal tea, Irish grandpas, Polish pigeons, road trips, bad jokes, bad habbits, good friends,  Nazi hand granades, missed planes, last minute luck, the bar fight I should have got in, some great bike rides and runs, my fly garden, beautiful sunsets and the Love of my life. Really, you've missed a lot. I'm afraid something needs to change. Let's make a deal. I'll try to communicate with you more often, if you'll try not to be so terribly lame and dreary. Deal? I think I might even throw in some pictures. I've never expected you to be wonderfully whitty or helpful to the world like many other blogs. I never asked you to explain how to fold napkins or how to make all the lovely, little, frilly, lovely things that are out there, but can we please just be a little bit more fun?

Monday, June 6, 2011

GIVE ME 20! (Gibt mir zwanzig!)

 I think I liked the idea of paying for my words much more when it was a bit of a vague, metaphorical or even theoretical statement.

Here’s the deal. My husband (D.), my cousin (A.) and I (C.) decided to kick start our German language skills… in the butt. On Wednesday, we committed to one week of speaking only German to each other (until 9:30 pm… which really, seems a bit late now that I’m thinking about it). Nice and easy right? Probably too easy (we innocently thought), so we all agreed on some consequences. The repercussions of disobeying the rules mentioned above are humorless, which is really saying something seeing how I find quite a few things funny. Anyway, if any of us speak any English, Spanish, or Portuguese  before 9:30 pm, we have to do 20 push-ups or 5 pull-ups for each 10 second period of English words that were spoken. I’m still in awe over the accelerated rate those 20 pushups can add up. Really, it blows my mind. I have however found one way around the rules (leave it to me… ) it’s called Gerglish. That’s what I call it anyways, I’m sure it actually has a much cooler name in real life. But really, it’s simple. You just say and English word with a German accent and then add some Scchhh sounding sounds to the end of it. Sometimes people fall for it. Sometimes you get stuck with 20 pushups. It’s a risk, but like many risks, every once in a while it pays off.

Needless to say, if I don’t stop slipping up and forgetting to speak German, I’ll be looking like a top heavy body builder by the end of the week. Maybe I should get a tan and buy some white wife-beaters. For those of you who didn’t grow up around or as Rednecks, a “wife- beater” is a (usually) tight fitting, sleeveless shirt that is worn by someone who may or may not actually physically assault women, but appears to be someone socially capable of doing such deeds. Common accessories include barbeque sauce stains, sometimes mustard, and often produce an aroma of sweat, urine and or beer.
Now that I’ve described wife beater shirts, and newly remembered how incredibly insulting on a cellular level they actually are, I’ve changed my mind about buying a few…

Really though, I’ve got to watch my words. Yesterday I had to do 80 push-ups, and today I’m already up to 100. I chose push-ups instead of pull-ups mainly because… what was it again? Oh yeah, I can actually do push-ups (not the girl ones… by the way). Pull-ups and I haven’t quite come to terms yet… I mean, just for the sake of example I’ll share with you the 8th goal on my list last week.
#8- Do 2 pull ups a day.
Pathetic right? I always say I like to set realistic goals… even if they are humiliating, but really?
Want to know what’s even more pathetic? I didn’t even do them.. or try.  Hence the 80 push-ups. I vote for new consequences. I’m legitimately concerned about this body builder thing, and I can’t get that mental image of me with a spray tan out of my head (the woes of an active imagination). Especially, considering the fact that D doesn’t need to do any pushups… not that he would even notice doing 80 push-ups(even if I was sitting on his back trying to weigh him down.. to no avail), and A. doesn’t seem to mess up very often. Maybe we should make some punishments that REALLY suck, but won’t actually physically kill you… you know, like watching the Twilight series, or something? Actually… I’d rather do the push-ups. I value the health of my brain cells too much.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dear Google Translate, I would not trust you with my knife, I mean life.


Last night I had a fabulous idea. And as is common in the primary stages of the formation of many good (or possibly catastrophic) ideas, it came to me at 10 pm. The idea was this simple; GET RID OF THE HORSES. If you think I'm talking about beautiful, tall, long haired, fast running, strong, beast that graze in a field... I'm going to tell you right now, you are wrong. I'm talking about the abominable sin called "wallpaper" that has been harassing and insulting my eyes every time I walk into our reading room ever since we moved in. Picture this; a 7.5 inch high banner pasted onto the walls near the ceiling with approximately 79 strange, floating horse heads staring down at you. Almost like they are hungry or something, maybe I just imagined that, I probably did. But still, pretty freaky really. If you are wondering where I got the number "79" from…take a wild guess. Yes, I counted them... horrible, I know. I'm afraid I'll need some counseling to try to erase that memory. When an idea as wonderful as this one happens upon you, one must act immediately. Luckily I had previously purchased a long, pearly looking whitish creamy wall paper thing to put over it. Now, I'm no wall paper specialist (only incase "specialist" is referring to my ability to criticize wallpaper, and if that’s the case, I should be making money by now. But realistically, probably not, seeing how I'm not sure if it's spelled "wallpaper", "wall paper", or "wall-paper". Some specialist right? I think I'll switch it up randomly throughout this post so those of you who ARE wall-paper (or whatever) specialist might think all the misspelled versions are just typos...), but my landlord approved of the pearly looking whitish, creamy wall paper thing... so I talked my cousin into helping me for "just a couple minutes" to put it up. I felt an urgency growing within myself, the floating horse heads must be covered... even if it was (by this point) nearing towards 10:30. How difficult could it be? I asked myself naively as we looked over the small innocent looking box of German glue mix. Did I mention it was GERMAN? Just checking.. I thought I did. Anyway, I've been studying German for a little over a month now in an advanced intense course (don't you hate the sound of those two adjectives together?), so I was feeling pretty good about my ability to translate the simple directions. In my hasty confidence I had forgotten that I don't speak "Wallpaper instructions German", which is a completely different dialect then "conversational", or "business" German. I found myself and training of no use. So we immediately turned to our good friend, Google Translate. After I typed up the instructions we waited patiently for the document to load, anticipating a sure explanation of the strange pictures on the small box. I'm still a bit confused. Bewildered actually. I’m just going to paste it here for you...

Preparation of the glue. Package contents fully and rapidly with vigorous stirring tightly cold water. After 3-5 minutes beat vigorously Duch... Anger can paste stirred in about 14 days after splitting. approach operating range for roll . Respect; beachton In laufrigtung patterned wallpaper and neck. Scale wallpaper dan down roll, and cut with a Musgumiroller air balasindfrei to drunken done!

It’s that simple! Thank you Google. Cold water, beat the Duch, and Anger can paste. It's really all I need to know in life.
In case you're wondering what we did... we just poured some water in, beat the duch and then laughed like idiots (not saying that idiots laugh more than other people do... more of just a phrase. Although, it seems to me like other people laugh more than idiots, usually because they are often laughing at idiots. I’m not sure, and I still don’t know exactly which category I fit into). I'm still lost on the 14 days thing.. maybe my walls will dissolve or something minor like that. Probably not important. 

The good news is: the horses are gone. FOREVER! Well, most of them anyways. There's still a small space behind a tall book shelf that we didn't cover. But I'm just not going to tell anyone about it and no one will ever know... except for all the people that read my blog...so pretty much, I don’t need to worry about anyone ever finding out.

Some more good news is- my man got to fly right by Mount Kilimanjaro yesterday! I'm pretty sure that was the coolest thing ever, or at least, it would have been for me. I've wanted to see/climb that mountain my whole life. Luckily, he took some pictures for me! Which are, with a little imagination, almost as good as nearly sweating to death, and then nearly freezing to death while suffering from acute altitude sickness, and living off vanilla flavored protein bars. And yes, I'm still not sure who was steering the plane while he was wildly snapping away photos for me(he’s so sweet). He's a pretty talented guy though, I wouldn’t be surprised. He's really been over worked this week though. I’m worried about him. I mean, a 5 star resort, wind surfing and seeing Mount Kili. can really be exhausting. Do I sound jealous? No way, I've had a faaaaabulous week. I got to beat the duch! Haha.. Realistically, I'm super happy he's had a few minutes to actually relax, seeing how he's ALWAYS pulling 12-16 hour days, and even then, those "minutes" are smashed between long flight days...
Really? I just miss him. He's my favorite person in the world.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

In Distress.

So, evidently in order to be considered a damsel in distress in Germany, one must meet some stringent requirements. #1- You must be in distress. #2- you must appear somewhat similar to, or bear a mild or vague resemblance to… well, a Damsel.

Not a cold, wet, dog, who has a left arm that is most likely covered in poison ivy. Yes, I said “arm”. I’m not exactly sure if it is deemed appropriate to call a dog’s two front limbs arms or not, but since I was referring to my own resemblance to the after-bath version of the canine race, I’ve decided I will make the rules. Rule#1- Dogs usually have four legs, but if they are wearing a soaking wet back pack and dodging traffic in a thunderstorm, they only have two… really, I guess it just depends on if they are standing up or not.. life is the real illusion. Rule #2- Don’t ever call me a dog. Especially not a female one. #3-Only in case I really deserve it (which is definitely a possibility).

Back to my story. I’m freezing cold. My pants are doing that embarrassing sagging thing (you know the one I’m talking about. I’m sure I will expound more on that one later) and my fingers appear slightly purplish in color. Obviously, I’m just beaming with joy and optimism.

To make a short story long, and potentially overbearing… today on my way home from school I failed to call a taxi at least one hour before I needed one to pick me up at the train station. Germany is a bit strange sometimes. I’m still not entirely convinced that the “taxi” I call each day is indeed a taxi, and not a bored retiree who gets a kick out of picking up cash from confused foreigners, but either way, I just dial a number and mumble a bunch of groggily sounding words with a German accent and just like magic, BAM! …I have a ride. Well, my “BAM!” wasn’t very bam-ish today.  Instead of waiting an extra hour for the taxi to come, I got impatient (me? Impatient? Never...) and I decided that I would get in a little work out and just run the 3.5 miles to my house. No big deal right? I have legs… two of them… actually. So I cinched up my back pack straps and started out on an easy jog with a smile on my face (only.. it wasn’t as graceful as it sounds in the previous sentence…my heavy back pack was like flying over my head then crunching into my spine and my hair was blowing straight up like a freaking 80’s prom-queen, hairspray crown—only not even half so cool… which is really saying something). It was great, until suddenly, within only a couple minutes (really like magic this time), the blue skies were pushed out of view by an angry mob of grey thunder clouds. Almost instantly, my happy, fluffy, flying,  80’s crown hair was pasted to the sides of my soaked head and my mascara morphed into the inspiration of Kiss’s destroyer album makeup. The next three miles was up hill. Literally, it was..every inch of it. All in all though, it was kind of nice. I mean, I didn’t get hit by any cars (still hard to believe for me..), I didn’t actually get poison ivy  (just the mental kind.. which doesn’t last as long), and I got to spend some time on Germany’s lovely little windy, deathly dangerous, yet strangely charming, sidewalk-less roads. Kind of a rush.

Bottom line? Don’t look like a wet dog.  Germans do not pick up, slow down, or swerve for wet dogs… even if they are wearing a back pack… which in my mind in somewhat of an anomaly. They only look out the windows of their toasty warm cars and probably think the German equivalent of the “poor little thing” phrase (when I learn how to say it I’ll let you know- but it probably sounds something like “weinerstaugutreihlitionzuegdingbatschnitzel”).

Next bottom line (It really sounds like I’m expounding on saggy pants doesn’t it?), if you happen to look or feel like a wet dog and no one picks you up or swerves… don’t be mad. They are probably just worried about fleas. Which, I must admit, is a legitimate concern. Fleas are nasty… it’s pretty much a proven fact. I think I read it in a book somewhere.

Friday, April 1, 2011

LIKE AN AMERICAN

Mar 20, 2011

We move into our house in the morning. I’m not going to lie, after two months in hotel rooms… I’m more than looking forward to stretching out my toes. Just kidding, that was a weird thing to say. But really, I do kind of feel like it would be a nice thing to do, provided you are in an area with more space than 17 closets added together.

Today we stopped by our “Haus” to see the new paint colors and help the landlady clean.  Our landlady is pretty fabulous. She is the kind of person you always want to hug. She’s about a foot taller than me and has an easy smile set under the most expressive eyes you may have ever seen. The first few days we knew her we tried to sprach back and forth in our very limited German and her very limited English. Those conversations consisted of  myriads of awkward facial expressions, animated hand gestures and a whole lot of moments where the only thing you can do is bite your lip and blink one eye as you scratch your head and wonder.
Then suddenly, a very strange thing happened. I asked her what her name was (I know, I should have known it by this point… but really... there’s quite a few things I should know by now… I mean, being 23 years old and all that), She said “Manuela.”
I said “Manuula?”, as I unsuccessfully tried to fake a German accent.
Then she said “Manuela…shpanish.”
I sighed under my breath wishing that not only her name was Shpanish. As I sighed I said in a defeated tone “Puedo hablar en espanol.”
Suddenly her expressive eyes almost popped out of her head and landed on the table (just kidding, that was a gross exaggeration. Speaking of, I was told recently by someone who knows me kind of well… well, pretty well…. actually, I’m married to him, anyway-- he said I sometimes exaggerate. In a voice of rushed offense I said “ I NEVER exaggerate. NEVER, not once in my life”. We changed the topic, but I was still thinking about it. A moment later he asked me if I knew the meaning of a German word on a road sign. I immediately replied “Yes. I’ve always known what it means… since I was baby… or at least since I was born.” Then I smiled to myself… perhaps exaggerating is more fun, actually it’s like 65 billion times more fun.
  But, just so you all don’t thing I’m a load of BS (what does that even stand for? Just kidding, I know, but really, I was just wondering if anyone would post it in a comment below), I’ve decided that with every new gross exaggeration I decide to implement into my daily life (for entertainment purposes only), I will also include a disclaimer, just in case you seriously were wondering if I did something 25 billion times. As for those who already think that I am a load of BS… never mind, I couldn’t think of anything painstakingly witty to say here (but just imagine I just punched you in the face). Back to my story.
Her eyes didn’t actually pop out of her head, but they did appear to visibly enlarge during a moment of surprise before retracting back to normal measurements congruent with relaxed and common facial expressions.
Then she said “HABLAS ESPANOL??? “ you get the story… since that second we have been carrying on like long lost Amigas, or gossiping Tias on the front porch on an sunny afternoon.

Tonight we cleaned the house and I was thinking about a couple things as I washed the toilets (Yep… too much info… my best quality. Stick around and I might even make you sick), but mostly, I was thinking about Americans. Since we’ve been here in Germany, I’ve heard quite a few sentences that resembled the following;
     “Bla blab bla bla bla… like an American.” (don’t forget to insert the German accent).
Right, I know what you are thinking. The Blab bla bla part of the sentence went something like “I want to be the coolest person in the world… like an American”, or maybe “ I would like to be really smart.. like an American”.

Well, if that’s what you were thinking, you’re wrong. Not just a little bit wrong either. All the sentences I’ve heard so far ending with “like an American” started with “the idiot drives…”, and “that woman cleans….”, and “that fat kid eats….”. and  on and on.

Pretty sad huh? Since when have we been culturally recognized for being grease eating, absent minded and inconsiderate driving, ignorant shopping,  uneducated, energy wasting,  lazy housekeepers?
Probably for a while now. But really, can I just say one thing? Or maybe a couple? Who’s keeping track? You probably are, especially now that I made such a big deal about it. Anyway, we might have a tendency to be tardy, we might over indulge in unhealthy foods and under indulge in basic yet foreign ideas like well, walking for instance, or a strange, orange colored, cylindrical shaped vegetable called… what was it? Carr-ut? Also, we might not score very high educationally (only in case we were comparing our school standards to a game of golf. If that’s the case, I would imagine that we would do quite well in racking up a significant amount  of points),  we might have a hard time getting used to the idea of turning the water off for half the your shower, and we sometimes might forget to do the following : use turn signals, turn off the lights, clean the window tracks, respect other’s cultures, look around before buying, and be “polite”.
But let’s not get too caught up in the bad aspects of our lovely land. We’ve definitely got a few things going for us. #1, we are confident. #2, we are somewhat ignorant.  I’ve decided as a general rule of life,  if correctly applied, and with properly balanced ratios, ignorance and confidence can get you pretty dang far in life if you ride them right. It really is bliss.

And tomorrow? I’m taking a bath, a very American bath. After that I’ll work on conserving water, oil and electric like a true German ( a skill I have much hope of mastering—mostly because I’m terrified of getting a quadrillion dollar bill in the mail at the end of the year).
*that was an exaggeration, JUST in case you believed me and were actually a bit concerned.

Back to cleaning toilets, the last renters really did clean like Americans. I think I’m going to start saying that… maybe it will make people think I speak German better than I actually do. Problem is… I don’t know how to say that in German. Anyways, It’s pretty gross really. What else is on my mind? Other than the nasty toilet that I’m kneeling in front of? Today I feel sick.

I don’t have the flu or anything that can spread. Unfortunately the sickness that I have today is not contagious. I can’t pass it on at will to a deserving and unsuspecting target by licking their drinking glass in an attempt to not suffer alone or find some kind of crude comfort in making others miserable as well. No, today, I am sick with something called stupidity, and I alone must bare the burden of it’s effects. I would try to get you to feel sorry for me, a little pity usually seems to make people feel better right before they yarf… (yes, that is a somewhat new word… my sister and I made it up a few years ago… it’s a little bit funnier to say than it’s overused cousins, “puke”, “barf” and “throw up”), but you shouldn’t pity someone for doing something stupid. *Not to be confused with pitying someone for being stupid. That is a completely different topic, one that varies greatly due to situational differences and exceptions, in which cases, it is often very acceptable to offer pity. It’s kind of like the difference between a credible person, a semi-credible person, and an edible person…they may sound similar, but all have totally different meanings and connotations, and when used incorrectly can potentially cause severe confusion, or even acute fear in the person you are talking to or about). I am sick, because I did something stupid. Here’s the story:

I’m allergic to gluten. I haven’t always been allergic to gluten, but after contracting a rare and serious mosquito born disease (that’s a really long story, one I’d rather not go into, but let it suffice to say, it may have had something to do with a type of stupidity, mixed with some bad luck, bad timing, and a beautiful miracle, bottom line? GET IMMUNIZED!), I can no longer eat it. If I do, I feel like I have the flu for about 3 days, and then for another 2+ weeks I have headaches and stomach aches. Here is where the smart person would say “Oh, if that happened to me, I’d never, ever eat gluten again.” And here’s where I ask the smart person “HAVE you ever tried to go without gluten for even a day?” Gluten seems to be in almost everything (not an exaggeration), and sometimes, when the amazing smell of German bakeries, Italian pizzas, and heavenly crepes fill the air, I get to feeling sorry for myself. Last week, in such a moment of self pity as described above, I bit into a perfectly toasted slice of Italian garlic bread. Just a moment of weakness? Well, I didn’t stop there. Since I figured I was going to be sick anyway, I decided to order some pizza as well. So now, here I am (conveniently enough, leaning over a toilet bowl) and the glory of the taste of the stupid toast has long since been forgotten, and I am left here to nauseously contemplate the lasting effects of my own stupidity… when will I learn?

The good news is, we will have 2 urinals in our house! Now that I’m reading what I just wrote, I’m not sure why I labeled that as “good news”( and I certainly don't know where the exclamation mark came from)… I really don’t care much for urinals. Not that I’ve ever used one (although, everything is funnier at 2am), but my husband on the other hand, has been pretty excited about them. I would like to say we picked this house because it was a good fit for us, but I’m highly suspicious that my husband’s interest in the house and overall motives were fueled by the excitement of the two, strange looking porcelain objects hanging from the walls that further segregate the male and female race by magnifying the glory of man’s ability to more quickly and more easily pee… all while standing up.