Saturday, January 30, 2010

Creatures of the Sea


I realized today that I am a Remora fish. You may have seen Remora fish on the discovery channel, or if you have encountered a shark in real life. They are the fish always swimming beside or underneath a shark either trying to stay safe from other predators, take care of the sharks parasites, or get bits of food that the shark left behind. I realized that many of these things resemble me when I followed my shark of a husband around all day yesterday. I feel safe when I am with him, I do tell him to shower a lot so that is keeping the parasites/bacteria off of him, and I eat anything and everything especially if he doesn't want it. The main part of it is that I always follow him around. We had just been from the ADAC to get my drivers licence translated, from the bank to get me my own debit card, from the pharmacy to get some hair products. Sometimes I feel like I would get swallowed up by another big fish if I didn't stay beside him. I feel like I could not go anywhere without him. Whether this is a healthy thing or not, it is what I need at this point and time of my life.

Coming to Germany has been like being reborn without a voice, a sense of direction, or a common sense of know how. It's everyday things I was taking fro granted in my life back in the states. You really underestimate the power to speak in the native tongue when you need to know exactly where to find the Caro Syrup in the grocery store. But reality has set in for me lately. I AM living here, and I AM going to have to get around by myself if I want to grow up and get my voice back. I need to start swimming out in the deep blue by myself and learn how to stand up to those old German ladies cutting me in line. To be able to speak to people in their own language and make new friends. I am getting there, slowly but surely. Before I had my husband to follow around and do things with, I had my best friend Jesie. There was even a point in my life I was too scared to play piano for our high school chapel service so she sat beside me on the piano bench while I played. Funny enough, people actually thought she was the one playing and started congratulating her:) We loved it.

Since I was little I have always been one to eat lots of strange things then have strange noises come out of me afterwards. I would like to tell you a little story of what happened on our way down to Gerstetten. Last week before we left our apartment to travel for 6 hours down south I always like to pack some little snacks for our journey. I usually make Christoph a PB and J sandwich because he eats like a toddler and so do I so I also include cottage cheese, PB and apples. Banana's if we are lucky. Oh and don't forget the rice cakes. Ok so I pack them in a little bag and then we are on our way. This time I wanted to spice things up a bit and there was one thing in the fridge that was not used when I made Mac n' Cheese the other day. Fake crab meat! I love it. Yes I know there is gluten in it but this was when I was going to try and eat gluten again.
So a couple hours later around lunch time,I get a bit hungry for my fishy friends and I break out the fake crab meat. Christoph was oblivious to what I was doing until......"Ah! What is that smell? Gag, gag gag. What on earth are you eating?"
He then looks at my and I have a crab roll hanging out of my mouth. "That's sick, why are you eating that?"

Ok, so maybe crab meat is not the best thing to eat when you are in a tiny car traveling for 6 hours. In my defense I am getting pretty sick of the alternative cottage cheese and rice cakes so....there you have it.

I love fake meat!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Disappearing Fringe


Sometimes I get carried away with cutting my own hair. When I became a hairstylist the first thing I wanted to do was create something I loved on my own head. This is good in moderation, but I practice moderation in moderation. Meaning my hair starts getting shorter and shorter in regards to a) my emotions b) my feelings and c) what I see on TV, a magazine, or what I don't see in the mirror that day. One time when I was living on my own I watched this strange movie with Kierra Knightly in it. She was a bounty hunter, sorta like Dog the Bounty hunter but not really. She had a sassy short hair cut, and because I wanted to look just like her I decided right there and then, my pretty long hair at that time would need to be chopped and pronto. If I hadn't thought it through more I would have ended up doing it myself, but I thought it through and a friend did it for me the next day. Since I have learned to be more rational and responsible when it comes to making decisions about my hair, and because long hair is nice sorta, I have had self control in this area. It used to be that if I wanted to be blonde, then it would happen either that day by bribing my friend to do it, or I would do it myself. When I got married things had to change because Christoph along with every other male being on this planet, like's long hair. Hence my fringe, or what most non hairstylists call bangs are in danger of some real damage because they are the only thing I can cut some legitimate length off of.


In this case it all started out as a experiment. Christoph said I would look good with a full thick fringe, so I tried it. Everyday since then I think I have cut at them a little bit almost every week if not every day. Now they are the shortest they have been in a while. If I put my hair just right, at a certain angle I look like I have a mullet. It's not horrible, I just know when I have gone a little too far. I think that if every women was a hairstylist, men wouldn't even know what long hair was. In fact, I don't think they would even know that woman's hair grew past her ears. Emotional instincts kick in when a woman doesn't feel right about her hair. This is why so many of my past clients came in just for me to fix their fringe. They had some emotional problem, didn't like the way they looked and punished their bangs for it. I had one lady who always cut at her hair with a leg razor, and one side of her hair was always thinner and shorter because of it. If you think about it, your hair is the first thing you change when you want instant satisfaction. Now it seems that botox and face lifts are on that list as well. I think I will stick to my fringe if I want to change something. They always grow back.

I'm going to an aerobics class tonight. I haven't been to one of those since I was in my mothers belly. I hope it's hard because the most exercize I've been doing is bringing my fork to my mouth, brushing my teeth, and typing on the computer. Lazy days.

Monday, January 25, 2010

"da hanna"


This week I am all alone. Well, not all alone. I am in Gerstetten with Chritoph's family until he gets back from his business trip to Munich. We came down a couple days before he left and searched for our new apartment which left no time really for blogging or down time. But we found the perfect place, signed up for it, and then the Realtor called us and said that the owner has changed his mind and now he wants to live in it. It felt like last week when I got caught trying to eating a glutenous cookie. I was just about to take a delicious bight, and thought I was in the clear but then out of nowhere a mean man came in and stopped it all from happening. That mean man was Christoph, and this mean man is the owner of the apartment building. And what a delicious cookie it would have been.

I guess God has something else in plan for us. This weekend we will venture out again and see what we find. The good news is, we are in the clear from the Bulthaup business to go ahead and get the building for it in Ulm. This is huge people. That means our business starts up sooner than later.

I like so many other times have decided to follow in my sister footsteps and start back trying to eat gluten again. I am getting really sick of eating cottage cheese and peanut butter rice cakes. I think I am going to be really prepared on what to feed my kids someday because I feel like I eat toddler food now. It's unusually once a month around "that" time I decide in my head to eat gluten again. It's just this time Christoph actually gave up and said, do whatever you want. Before I had to sneak it.
This is my theory, or at least was. I would get so sick from eating gluten when I did because I was at such a loss for it and would crave it to the point of no return, I would eat my own body weight in it and therefore get so sick...not from eating gluten, but from eating too much. After eating little bits of gluten throughout the day, I thought it may work to get it back into my system. Well, last night I ate a piece of bread with nutella on it. Delicious! But here's the problem, if you would have walked into my room last night or even this morning, you would have dropped dead right there. Not good. So the gluten eating thing is a no go until next month at least.

I think I am going to get tested at the doctor, because if I had a doctors order that I could not eat it, or that I could eat it, I would be more likely to follow the rules. Prescribing myself has been something I've been doing for a long time, and now that I actually have insurance I might as well use it.

I also just found out from a friend that the Swebian word for "here" is "da-hanna." Swebian is a dialect that the southern Germans speak in, kinda like the south in the States saying Ya'll. So "here" in Swebish is "da-hanna" instead of just "da." My mother in laws name is Hanna, so you can see how I have been very confused when they would always be saying "da hanna" and I always thought they were talking about Hanna. When Hanna would say "da hanna" I would get even more confused thinking, "I wonder why she is always using her name when she is talking about herself?"
I can see now how German's get confused with the Southern accent in English.

I am more than happy that I am not alone in Hamburg right now. Up there I would probably start setting the table for Velvie (my cat) and I, and tell her what new words I have learned in German. After that we would enjoy a glass of wine together, maybe play some cards, and then finish reading my book "A long way down" before we hit the hay. Here I actually have my wonderful new family to keep me company. I think my mother in law Hanna is one of the funniest and most creative people I know. Yesterday she tried her best to show me how things are done on her end of the business, which in the future will be a lot of what I do to. She taught me what she could for now, and then sat me down with a delightful project that I never knew would be something that I would enjoy so much. Cutting stitches from a duvet cover. She is so creative. When something is too small, or doesn't work she takes it apart, turns it around, and puts it back together again. Nothing like what I do in America. If it doesn't work, throw it away or keep it in the closet, and get a new one.
Who would have known that I love to cut stitches so much. Apparently Hanna does it for liesure and not just because she has to. I think this may be me someday. Christoph better watch out that I don't cut all of the stitches on his clothes when he isn't looking.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän


Integration courses


Learning German has regrettably become something simmering on the back burner. Practically everyone knows English here which makes me lazy to learn it quickly, but this is no excuse. If I am going to be working in a German city, I sure as heck need to know it and quickly.

Now, here are my predicaments. After about 2 weeks of living here Christoph and I went to the immigrations office to get my visa stuff sorted out. Unexpectedly the lady at the desk started asking me questions in German, speaking very quickly. It's no wonder they have glass in between her and the immigrant because I really wanted to punch her in the face. Of coarse I wasn't ready for this kind of thing, and after I gave her a couple glazed over looks she concluded that I would have to take an Integration language course. I start next week, so me being the extremist I am have decided to learn all of the German I can before I take my test tomorrow to see where I am placed. I have taken the online test twice, and after cheating the second time and looking up all the words I was still, STILL ranked for the lowest level. Who do they think I am? Some CIA agent I guess. I said to Christoph, 'How long will this thing be, because I'm pretty sure you have to be fluent to be done with it.' He said. 'Two months probably.'
I laughed in his face. Apparently he is on their side.
So now, I have to live up to the expectations of the immigrations coarse and my husband in order to not be deported back to the land of the free.
But I will keep my head up. Learning a language fluently can't be that hard. They only have words like....

"Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän", which in English becomes four words: "Danube steamship company captain."

"Itisalmostlikeputtingeverywordtogetherjustforshitsandgiggles."

Or "schifffahrt" and "Betttuch." which have a billion f's and t's in them. I believe someone with a speak impediment created those words.

Sometimes I think it's a joke when I learn how to spell a word. Never in any language have I seen a need for 3 letters all at once. I guess it shows the importance of the pronunciation, I guess.

None the less learning a language is fun. When I was little I would always stare at mexicans in a Dillard's store when I was shopping with my mom, and be fascinated by how fast they spoke. I always thought it was so mysterious and they were up to no good. In my mind at the time this was like being a secret agent. No one would know what I would say if i knew how to speak Spanish. After that me and my neighborhood best friend decided to make our own language. We combined pictures and swirlies and dots to make our own alphabet. Then we spied on the neighbors and recorded things in our spy book like "Leon is mowing his lawn." or "The twins went out for ice cream with their real dad."

Then we forgot where we hid our spy book and moved onto things like smoking her moms cigarette butt behind the shed. We only did that once because we realized we were in fact smoking the filter. Tasted like plastic burned paper. We would also make about 1 dollar a day selling rocks that we painted pictures of little girls on. After bringing our price down from 10 dollars to 10 cents, we knew this was not a profitable business. We had to think of something more innovative than lemonade.

Ah yes those were exciting times. I wish my imagination was still as it used to be.

Now I am off to do my new workout video. It seems the video fitness instructor used to be a boxer, and he has a patch over one eye. It kinda creeps me out a little bit but none the less it's a great workout video. He doesn't say anything cheesy like...

"And a one, a two, a one two three four. Keep it up! Let your arms soar!"

Monday, January 18, 2010

Death to Superstitions

Holding onto things in the past takes its toll when you least expect it. Anxiety has been the only thing on my mind the past couple weeks, rearing its ugly head and making me physically and emotionally done. Deep down I knew what I was holding onto, but I wasn't willing to let it go. One word changed everything. Superstition. I didn't realize I was so superstitious until I looked at the life of Christ and how he handled the weight of the world. He was never superstitious, but always trusting. It came to be that I couldn't even pray without thinking that I was doing it wrong. That maybe God didn't quite understand what I was going through. Realizing that this was my problem and letting go was the next step, I found myself tucked into the sweet embrace of my Creator. Depression and anxiety not only runs in my family, it is also a concern for most of the world and still going up. I know what depression feels like and it is magnified when you are alone most days. It's like walking through a deep sludge, having your head poking out seeing the lies and worries you have float by on alligators. To extend love to others was never my responsibility, but God through me. Taking everything upon my own shoulders I couldn't even love others.

Finding my way to the source, I now look back and realize that as it might have been the most difficult experience I have ever had, it was all so simple. From where I was looking a terrifying maze of impossibilities stood before me, but when I got out I realized I should have just walked straight to find the exit. My eyes are small, but God sees all before me. So to trust Him is all I want to know, and all I need to know.

I am now free to extend the love I am so graciously given and always will be. I was the only one standing in my way.

During this you think that it's everyone else's problem most days. Poor Christoph was a prime target for me. Of coarse it's the one's we love the most.

I think it's safe to say now, without superstition that I can live my life now trusting in God. No better place to be.

On a different subject. We are still here in Hamburg awaiting the conformation of a biulding to buy for the new branch of the Gruener company. I am terrified because this is nothing I have ever done before, but I am comforted in the fact that selling kitchens is similar to cutting someone's hair. You have to get to know the client, their likes, dislikes, personality, opinion, character, everything really before you can make an assesment. You have to get inside the head of the client to know what their desires are and what makes them feel comfortable and safe, yet balance it with new creativity and innovative design. Ok so if I had a hair client and they wanted a mullet, I would want to make them feel comfortable but also give my professional opinion without insult. What's the balance there? Give many different alternatives, but also let the client think it is their idea. You're safe relieving yourself of a pushed opinion, or hurting their feelings. But you have to realize also that some people are just comfortable with their mullets, so in order to keep their trust you have to give them what they want. So metaphorically I am talking about kitchens here as well. With selling a kitchen it is exactly the same. So all in all what I really need to learn is the language better so that I can communicate that what they really want is a sleek bob, and not a hillbilly mullet. Luckily Bulthaup does not really provide an equivalent kitchen to that of a mullet.

I would like to congratulate myself for not running into any awkward situations lately. I think I am becoming more invisible.

My brother in law Benni so nicely recommended me for a stylist position on the set of commercial his company was shooting. I guess that I stepped over a couple of boundries by sitting in the directors, clients, and advertiser's group of chairs behind the screen, chatting it up with them. But it turns out they didn't mind at all and I kept them entertained. I was just explosively social for not getting out much, and decided I was going to make friends even if they were semi known, but not really celebrities. The actor that I did the makeup for and trimmed his beard a little bit was in a movie called, "The Educators" A famous German film. So that was pretty cool. He only played like a 1 minute scene though. Still....

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Flying off the handle!

I'm not a huge tea drinker. Never have been. I still drink it of coarse and I'll tell you why but the truth is I just don't really like it. It's good for you, especially green tea which is why Asians always look so good. It can be good if you add loads of cream and sugar, but that's only pertaining to black and Roibous teas. Herbal teas besides mint teas are on my never get list. I have always been a coffee drinker and always will be. Ever since I was old enough to read was when I had my first cup of coffee and a million cups later i still enjoy my 2 morning cups of Joe. Coffee doesn't lie. Upon smelling it, you have a pretty good idea of what it will taste like. With tea, you get a flavor like chocolate vanilla cream that smells exactly like chocolate vanilla cream, then expect to be tasting something with a thousand calories in it like chocolate vanilla cream. It get's me every time I taste it. It's as though you took a sliver of chocolate, 1/100 portion of vanilla, a drop of cream, and added it to a quart of hot water that always burns your tongue. It's unacceptable. They should label tea, "Almost taste's like vanilla cream" or "Smells just like apples and cinnamon, but tastes like water." With coffee, you can add cream, or chocolate, or sugar, or anything really, and the coffee just enhances what is put in it. There is even coffee flavored ice cream, and chocolate. You wouldn't have tea flavored ice ream now would you. I do guess tea is good for a couple of things. It's not so much the flavor that matters more than the warmth of the watered down vanilla taste easing my sore throat. When sick, there is really only one thing that does the trick. Tea. If I drank coffee while sick, I might as well be puffing on a cigarette too. In social situations tea also comes to mind as helpful and sophisticated. While it is not the most succulent drink it still serves it's purpose.

Take for example a late night out with friends at a cafe. You get there around 10 because no one in Europe goes out earlier than 9 really. You sit down and if your in good company you think, ok this may take about 2 hours so I'm good to get something with a little bit of caffeine so I can stay awake until 12 or 1 when I go to bed. So you get the first drink. "I'll have a diet coke please."
11 o'clock comes around, the conversation is good, you really have to pee from the coke already so your not sure whether to get another drink. Wine makes me irritable and emotional this late so that's a no go. I am allergic to beer so I wouldn't want to be holding in my gas the rest of the night. Decaf coffee doesn't exist in Europe. Finally I decide to get another drink. There's nothing left but tea. Unfortunately I always get caught off guard with ordering another drink so I am rushed and end up ordering something I didn't want. When this happens I get mint because it's real simple to say in German. Mint is ok, but Roibous is better. Mint just makes my nostrils tingle.

Ok so I don't know how I got off on that tangent.
The other day I flew off the handle. I don't know what really happens when I fly off the handle only that I know I am flying off the handle. I immediately get confused, clouded, angry, hyper, frustrated, stressed. It's as though everything I have worked for is gone and there is nothing left. I believe that is exactly my problem. Everything I worked for consists of manipulating a situation to turn out just the way I wanted it to. Ok, maybe that's not all I've worked for. It's just that recently I am seeing that everything I do out of my own effort is useless. It's like trying to figure out how to fix your transmission on a busy highway all on your own. You know that you should just call someone who actually knows what they are doing but you decide you want to figure it out on your own. Of coarse you never would. You would just be frustrated and angry while all of the working cars sped by. My point here is that I cannot fix myself. I cannot control my surroundings anymore than the next person. Sure, I can control my own actions but what good will that do when I am....flying off the handle. Let's consider the meaning of this sentence "flying off the handle." Strange thing to take interest in but I really didn't know what this meant until two minutes ago when I wrote that I had been flying off the handle without real knowledge of what it actually meant. I just always used it in sentences to describe that I had lost it. Here is what Google says.

Meaning:
Lose self control
This is an American phrase and it alludes to the uncontrolled way a loose axe-head flies off from its handle. It is first found in print in Thomas C. Haliburton's The Attaché; or, Sam Slick in England, 1843/4:
"He flies right off the handle for nothing."
Haliburton was an inventive writer and had a hand in the coining of several commonly used phrases:
"Ginger up"
"Won't take no for an answer"

Ok so Haliburton is an inventive writer. I wonder if he actually experience his axe-head flying off it's handle and something horrible happened like it killed his dog. Maybe that's why he made it a saying instead of "I'm a brick through a glass window!" or "I am a hot pot of coffee!" Both of those things are uncontrolled too.
I wish I came up with some catchy phrase that everyone say's. Maybe someday I will think of one more clever than "flying off the handle."

So maybe if your trying not to eat sweets but you run into a situation where you are at someone's house for dinner and you really want to eat that cheesecake, you could just yell out. "I'm flying off the handle!"
I guess it could work in that situation too.

I like it, and I think I'll start saying it more.

Ok, I'm rambling too much today. I'm sick in bed and I feel sorry for myself so I am going to stay here the rest of the day.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Diaper couches and cotton chompers




Our couch smells like a lingering fart. We discovered this playing cards while sitting on it, and I was thinking to myself, "I don't remember farting, that's strange." Leaning back and forth trying to figure out where this rotting milk smell was coming from, my nose found its way to the couch seat cushion. I will have you know that this is not our couch, but has been a series of people's couches over the past years. You see, the apartment is rented with all of the furniture already in it, which makes this situation a bit awkward. I know I have already spilled about 10 cups of coffee on it, so if the person who lived here before us drank milk instead of coffee then I can see how the couch would smell like diaper. There could also be a couple other options to consider being this is something that people sit on, but I would rather stop my mind from going there. There are many interesting things we have discovered upon living in someone else's apartment. I like to snoop in Sven's thing's quite often. I will admit to that. It keeps me entertained and I believe I am entitled to it. When we rented this apartment we rent everything in it, so I incline to believe that includes all of the things in it.

In addition to spilling 10 cups of coffee on the couch I have also spilled about 10 cups on the rug. The light beige colored rug, that is not ours is now covered in brown spots. We have fabricated an idea of soaking the entire rug in coffee so it would all be the same color. Sven would never notice....the look of it anyway. The smell I am not so sure he would disregard. Somehow though he disregarded the fact that his couch smells like baby diaper, so maybe Sven isn't as bright as I thought.

We also killed his house plants. We had a moth problem. Don't get me wrong, I like moths. I feel bad for them. It's hard to live up to butterflies especially when you fly so awkwardly and out of control, unlike butterflies that look like peaceful feathers floating in the wind. But unfortunately these little winged cotton chompers had to be done away with. The plants were the only thing we could think of where they were coming from, so we put those ugly house plants out on our balcony. The cold got the best of both of them. The plants and the moths. Too bad. We still see a moth floatin around here and there, but now the cat takes care of that.

Christoph the other day pronounced the word apostrophe the way it really should sound. It sounded something like this. Apo- strophy. It was a delight to my ears.

New Years came fast this year, but also extremely slow. It seemed fast probably because I sometimes feel like this whole year was a blur and I floated along in the waves, and slow because most days are filled with endless hobbies waiting for my husband to get home. But none the less it has been both a blessing and an exciting time for me to say the least.

This New Years was different from any other New Year I have experienced. I will never forget Y2K. Thinking back it is strange that I was only 12 years old and I extremely wanted the world to either end, or everything would stop working like they said it might and my family would be stuck together in our little basement eating Ramen Noodles for the rest of our lives. I loved my family and could see nothing wrong with this scenario. But as you all know, neither of those occurred and ten years later here I was, in Germany celebrating New Years with a new set of people, wearing European boots, married to a European, drinking European champagne on the road side(very European), and freezing by a European lake. You see, fireworks are only shot off on New Years here. So we meandered our way to the closest lake with a beautiful display of fireworks to entertain our eyes, popped open a bottle of bubbly, and made a toast to the New Year. Prior to this new experience we enjoyed a delicious dinner of shrimp with a garlic sauce, chicken on sticks, cream potatoes, and many other creative orderves prepared by my sister in law. Fabulous experience that came about from marrying into a new wonderful family.

There is another New Years that comes to mind at this moment. I believe it was three years ago on a snowy New Years eve. My best friend and I attended a party we left early because we were both single at the time, and seeing all of the glorious couples made us feel sad and lonely so we left to go do New Years on our own. During these days of our lives we confided in each other, and on this particular night we decided to do something a bit out of the ordinary. We hadn't seen our old high school history teacher in quite some time. She was our favorite teacher. In high school we would always give her a hard time, playing pranks on her and those kinds of things. She was a good sport about it. We decided to pay her a visit being as she lived on her own. We showed up on her front porch with a bunch of random things we bought at Wallmart, talked to her a bit about politics, Obama and how much she hated him I think(I kinda phased out during that time because I felt like I was in her class room again), and then wished her a happy New Year and were on to our next adventure. Drinking tea by the Telly was our next best idea. I know it sounds lame, but to us this seemed like the grown up thing to do. After all we were nine-teen years old now.
Watching as the ball dropped in NYC we looked at each other, made a toast with our tea mugs, and started laughing. At that moment we were completely content with our lives, and would have not minded growing old doing these things forever even if that meant staying single. Then that moment passed as quickly as the New Year came.
I just realized I combined about 3 holidays into one, telling that story. My memory fades and I get things mixed up. I am not going to correct it, but just know that all of those things did happen in the time period of a couple years. I think the visit to the teacher's house was actually on Thanksgiving and not New Years. I can't remember.

Anyways....

Happy New Year everyone!