Monday, September 30, 2013

Weird things

This morning, I woke my daughters up at 6:45am, as usual.

Scruffy was in Sphinx pose at the foot of Aeron's bed, looking inscrutable. Claire was wrapped in blankets like a large fuzzy purple burrito. Boo had the covers over her head and was lying perfectly still, so I wouldn't know she was awake.

Me: "Good morning, girlies! Time to get up!"

Girls: ...

Me: "Boo. Don't forget you need to write in your journal."

I whipped the covers off her and discover she was butt naked. Again. I un-rolled the Claire-burrito and she moaned in disapproval.

Me: "Up! Clothes! Shoes! Now!" I went back to Boo's bed. and when I leaned on it, I felt something hard.

It was a thick, chewed-on T-Bone.

Me: "Why is this in your bed?!"

Her: "It's cool."

PS: On the way to school, I asked the child where the beef bone came from.

Her: "I found it at church!" 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cognitive Overload

I got a lot going on.

A set of squirrelly twins.  A teenage boy. A Foreign Exchange Student from Germany. All who need to be driven various places. A blended family. Schedules that change on a dime. A house, a garden and a shit ton of dishes. A husband who works two jobs.

So, I realize we're behind the 8 ball and the girls need to do a book report due on Friday. They haven't even chosen a book, much less put pencil to paper. I tell everyone we can't go to the youth group thing tonight. Wails abound.

I spend about a hour researching level appropriate books online, then checking to see if our local library had them. Not much luck there. So, as I picked up the kids, I found a teacher and she gave us permission to check in her classroom books. We found two books and then I hustled the girls home, fed 'em a quick snack and then told 'em to READ!

I run off on an errand. I also email the teachers as I never saw the packets with actual instructions for the assignment. Just the form about choosing the book.  Then, I get a phone call. It's one of the girls. I argue with her until she says something about the report being due on October 28th.

Whoa. Wait a minute.... It did seem kinda fast and I never saw the instructions and oh, wait, it's a costume thing and....

Well, damn. I'm trying to get the girls to do a month-long project in 2 days. Whoops.

Don't I feel like an idiot.

This is what my good friend B the psychologist calls "cognitive overload". It like trying to keep too many tennis balls under the water and inevitably, one pops up and smacks you in the face. 

If I'm having troubles keeping track of things, which is my full time job, I might add, how in the hell do women who work outside the home do it?!

Ladies? Any suggestions?

Moments in the Alps

 Another NOTE: I wrote this on June 20th.

Yesterday, we drove into Austria. Our first night was at a pension in Heiterwang. Looking at the scenery was like looking at a picture postcard. We had an excellent dinner and a rest full night.

Sunday found us at Sudnighaus.

Moments, in no particular order:

Driving up the mountain, our GPS ran out of road. We were off the map. Said my husband, "Here be dragons!"

Aeron said, as we approached 6000 feet, "OK, I'm completely out of my comfort zone!"

We watched 3 cows chase a car out of a country lane. Literally, the car got a few meters up the lane, was stopped by cows in their way/looking in the windows, then the car reversed back down.  The lead cow actually galloped after the car.

We can see/hear a rushing stream out our bedroom window.

Dinner was marvelous; a creamy garlic soup, a buffet salad course, a schnitzel with ham & cheese, roasted potatoes and wilted spinach, then this traditional Austrian dessert of an eggy fritter with currents, napped in a apricot sauce. Dear lord, we are all gonna waddle outta  here by Wednesday....


Today, we awoke to.....wait for it.....snow. Our hostess Margot was shaking her head in disgust as she was covering her pots of flowers. By lunch, the snow turned to rain. I declined an invitation to hike in the slush, and handed all my warmest clothes to the Wee Lassies.

Breakfast was a buffet of ham, cheese, lox, fruit, muesli, jams, house-made bread and kugelhof, coffee, juice and the local sweet butter.


And so it went for 6 days.  We hated to leave.

Randon thoughts through the jet-lag

NOTE: I wrote this in July. Forgot to post it. Did I mention jet-lag?

Ah, home again! As nice as it is to go away, it's always nice to come home. Sleep in your own bed. Use your own shampoo. Have a shower where the shower curtain (should one be present) doesn't stick to your butt when you attempt to shave your legs.

The causalities were as follows:

1 dead blueberry bush
1, possibly 2, dead rose bushes
1 leaking toilet

Considering the heat, I'm surprised more stuff isn't dead. The grass is a beautiful emerald green, thanks to the diligence of Randy, our next-door neighbour.  

Half an hour after we arrived, we discovered Mitzi in the garage. Bloody and not happy about it. So, off to the vet I take her. She'd been wounded, developed an abscess, which then burst, but was too big to close. The tissues all around her eye were infected and she looked like a a zombie, poor thing. She stayed the night and was surgically tidied up the next morning. Now she's stuck in the house and not happy about it.

The cats took their vengeance for abandonment by peeing on absolutely everything in the garage. But hey, not in the house. So I'm gonna call that a win. Miles went on a Laundry-Paloosa and now there is clean stuff all over the house. Don't try to sit on the sofa. If you can find it. (Hint: it's under the shambling mound of towels and comforters)

Miles also went through the massive pile of mail. Couple of bills didn't get paid before we left. Whoops. ("Ah. So that's where the trash cans went...")

Yesterday we discovered that we have mice in the house. So, that's fun. Lots of cleaning out of cupboards and giving the cats a talking to about doing their jobs.

So, it's Monday morning and I'm quite certain Miles was thrilled to go to work.

Here are some random thoughts swirling about my brain about our trip:

Berlin is so quiet. Not a lot of cars, the people are relaxed. Weird. Also, it's kinda freaky to see the grand old buildings of what used to be East Berlin positively riddled with bullet holes.

Here's a question. Germans are so very efficient. Yet, there is not AC in any of the houses, not ceiling fans or any sort of circulation system. Thus, one opens the windows for some air. There are no screen on any of these windows, and they have mosquitoes! One cannot hide under the covers, 'cause it's too damn hot. So you wake up covered in bites. Aeron had 23 bites one morning.

German seem to eat nothing but bread and sausage. after a couple of weeks, even I started craving a salad, and that's saying something. I don't think I'm gonna be able to look sausage in the face for a least 6 months.

In Germany, beer is a breakfast food. Also, beer is cheap. Wine, however, is pricey.

The biergarten is to Germany what the cafe is to France. Hot and tired after touring a cemetery? Plop down at the biergarten and have a drink! They are everywhere!

Bavaria was beautiful. Ludwig II, a.k.a. Mad King Ludwig, picked a gorgeous spot for his castle. Shame he didn't finish it. 

Austria is awesome. Stunning scenery, excellent food (salad buffet!) amazingly friendly people. Plus, snow in June!

Tuscany looks a lot like North County, but greener. Which means it was Allergy City. Kayla was our Zertec pusher.

Venice is a crumbling glory. Though, at time I felt like a rat in a maze. 

Imagine 20 people in a large villa. The phrase "herding cats" came up quite often in conversation.

Florence needs a good power-washing. 

Children don't need to speak the same language to play together. We had kids that spoke German, Serbian and English all together and it worked just fine.

It was a wonderful trip. 

New material!

Things have been hoppin' round here.

School started. The Wee Lassies are now in 3rd grade. ( did that happen?!) The Boy is a sophmore and we now have a Foreign Exchange Student from Germany (hereafter to be know as FXSG)

FXSG is a nice kid. Playing football at school. Joined the Kindness Club. Kicks a soccer ball around with the neighbourhood short people. And he's funny.

During a conversation 'round the dinner table:

Me: "In Phoenix, during monsoon, if it rained, we'd get so excited we'd go dance in the street."

FXSG: "Ja. We do this in Germany when the sun comes out."

Sunday, September 22, 2013

An explaination

It's been a while since I posted. It's not that I don't want to. It's just, well, I don't have much to say.

Life is clocking along, everything is ticky-boo.

8 year-olds aren't nearly as funny as 4 year-olds.

We're hosting a foreign exchange student from Germany. That's been fun.

Shall I just quit? I dunno.