November 29, 2009
November 28, 2009
I've been doing this all morning. Apparently I am incapable of learning a new physical habit. Fortunately the kids are at their grandparents this morning so I have all the time in the world to be inefficient.
On a side note, if you're feeling a bit unfit (fat) after Thanksgiving gluttony, or starting to think about Christmas presents, check out these shake weights.
November 27, 2009
November 25, 2009
To be honest, I'm a little off my game since K started school. She leaves at 7:30 AM and L doesn't go to Kindergarten until 8:30, so we get up at 6:30 and it's almost 9AM before I can start my actual day. It takes its toll.
During this extra hour L is thrilled to have me all to herself and we read books, play games and sometimes fold laundry. Her favorite game is memory, which is probably because she wipes the floor with me. Seriously, I don't let her win, she totally kicks my butt, usually with a pair ratio of about 4:1, or make that 2:1 on rare occassions when I'm really on my game.
This morning I caught her turning over a third card when the second card was not the one she expected.
'Don't cheat, darling,' I said.
She stared at me with those ginormous blue eyes, confused.
I explained: 'You don't need to cheat to win this game, Schnuggie.'
I tried again: 'You should only cheat if you're losing.'
That cleared it up.
November 23, 2009
It's a smart book, well written with good dialog. The main character Mikael Blomkvist is plausible and likable. There's a gripping plot with a murder mystery and a twisted serial killer. There's a mysterious violent background. There are politics and high tech and big business.
All the elements, in short, of a best seller.
There is also an intriguing aura of 'foreigness' that permeates the book, possibly due to the large quantities of coffee, extramarital sex and fish sandwiches enjoyed by most of the characters. I'm not saying there aren't Americans that drink a lot of coffee or cheat on their spouses or even both - but fish sandwiches? I don't think so.
The book is the first of a trilogy. I just ordered the second book.
Sadly, the author is dead, after stating he knew exactly which literary elements to include in a best seller and then writing said best seller.
That seems wrong to me.
November 20, 2009
Two personal favorites:
1. Nov 9, when Republican Representative brings baby in to 'talk' about health care.
2. Nov 5, when political correspondent responds to the question, 'What are you hearing from the Republicans' on Capital Hill?'
John Stewart doesn't take sides. He doesn't just pick on the Republicans, who can't get their act together with any meaningful argumentation and resort to their usual emotional one-liners ('It weighs 40 pounds!') and random Holocaust pictures (Nazis = National Socialists = Socialist Medicine, get it?).
He also makes fun of the Democrats for being unable to pull together a smart, succinct piece of legislation that inspires confidence in their ability to govern. Which is so sad I don't even have the heart to make a cartoon about it.
I mean, I did try, but the Republicans are just... funnier.
Do you think my caveman looks too happy?
November 18, 2009
Little do I know they soon won't be.
Ralf got a nice email from the blond guy who corrected me about the Sousaphone, saying that it was really nice talking to me.
This is why I love German men and probably would have married a German even if Ralf had been better at resisting my charms. I mean, can you imagine an American man writing an email to another American man saying how great it was to talk to his wife?
Nope, me neither.
November 17, 2009
November 15, 2009
November 12, 2009
Scarred from my last encounter with Ziege Lady I let each magazine drop VERY carefully as I finished them and they landed in a neat little pile next to my Stairmaster.
Toward the end of my workout a pleasant looking woman came over and inquired politely if she could take one of my magazines.
'Sure, take 'em all,' I said. 'I'm done.'
She knelt down and. . . I guess the word is 'rifled'. . . through my neat stack of magazines, selecting several. When she was finished my nice pile looked like a cat had scrabbled in it trying to bury its poo. Without bothering to restack them, she headed for her own machine.
Two seconds later Ziege Lady walked by, eyed my explosion of magazines with disapproval, and CLICKED HER TONGUE at me.
She did not, however, call me Ziege.
I think she's starting to like me.
November 11, 2009
November 10, 2009
Ralf was getting tense. He'd checked and double-checked every single appliance in our home and couldn't figure out why we were consuming about 30% more energy than we should have been, according to Wattson. Which adds up to about 600 euro a year.
But why? Was there a problem with the meter? Vanishingly unlikely and expensive to verify. Was it our expensive new heating system that has not been without difficulties? Everyone had assured us this was not possible.
Finally, Ralf took Wattson down to the fuse box in the basement and turned everything off, one by one, as the Wattson readings dropped modestly. The very last fuse was the magic fuse that explained the delta between what we should have been using and what we were actually using.
It was labeled: Dachrinnenheizung.
You will never believe what that is. It is an electric heater installed in the rain gutters on the roof to keep them from freezing. It's on all winter. It's like having a space heater on all the time.
We turned it off.
November 9, 2009
But they are also like real friends in the way they are always ready with an encouraging word if you're sick and sometimes have useful advice or information, like when Patti posted the NSC code for Saybrook Sage or Kristina helped me create my own church sign proclaiming my righteousness or the Dental Maven offered free dental advice or Sara explained how to drain a pond.
And I hope I've been able to help all of you with my frequent reminders about how society's going to collapse when we run out of oil and I'm still not seeing any solar panels so why the h-e-double-hockysticks are we talking about health care?
But anyway, occassionally a blog post stops me cold with either a wish that I'd written it or its relevance to my own life. The first time this happened was Kristina's New Year's Resolution post.
That was a darn good post.
I've had quite a few 'Wow' moments since then but most recently the Ask a Dead Person series over at Jezebel has captured my attention. The idea is that you send in a question and dead people like Freud and Kafka weigh in with advice.
I LOVE that!
A recent post ponders how to keep one's bratty daughter from alienating one's rich boyfriend. Well, that's just spot on in it's relevance to my life. Or, it could be if I weren't married because I would naturally only date rich guys. I found Jack Kerouac's advice particularly helpful. This is blogging perfection and I'm kicking myself that I never thought of having dead people guest post on my blog.
Of course, to pull that off you have to, like, know stuff. About history. And people. And what dead people are likely to say.
Anyway, if you want to help me look good on my other blog, which is being considered for the next Carnival of HR, please click here and leave a comment or two.
Or, if you want to know how to explain to your friend that her poor mothering drove her daughter to suicide, click here.
I know. Life is about tough choices.
November 8, 2009
November 6, 2009
This is a place we stopped for lunch in the mountains.
The Fall foliage was amazing. My pictures don't do it justice.
Nice place for a picnic, isn't it?
Mountains above Clausen.
November 5, 2009
November 4, 2009
If only I had my own dedicated creative services team.
But he has a good excuse - he had four wisdom teeth removed yesterday.
Our dentist is great at gory dental surgery but has a couple of odd scheduling quirks. For one thing, the person responsible for scheduling surgery is never there so calls back at totally inconvenient times when you don't have your calendar available to schedule you.
And they have this trick where they call you on some random day before your appointment to invite you to come in THAT DAY to take advantage of a cancellation.
This happened when Ralf and I were in California recently. His iPHone rang at 3AM and it was The Scheduler. She was so excited I could her her voice from under my pillow. 'I have excellent news. There's been a cancellation so if you like, you could have your wisdom teeth operated today!'
Isn't that awesome?? If we hadn't been in California we would have totally jumped at it.
Anyway, I drove him there yesterday morning at 9AM. The plan was that I would drink coffee and jot down some design notes in a cafe while he was under the knife, then pick him up at 10:30. However, perhaps as punishment for not flying back from California to extract the wisdom teeth earlier when that golden opportunity fell into our ungrateful laps, it turned out that we were an hour early.
Which meant I had the undivided attention of the guy who makes technical decisions at our company at a very timely moment. He usually fends off such attacks with a strategic mix of conference calls and children.
Me: Darling, as long as I've got you here. . . I have a prototype I'd like to show you. I was just working through my notes and we have a couple of UI requirements to make this work. We're meeting with the UI folks but you might as well be in the loop.
Ralf (groaning): On any other day, I'd say, 'I'd rather get my teeth pulled.' But that seems beside the point today.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is for THIS moment that I perfected the raised eyebrow.
Me: Well, that's funny, because on any other day I wouldn't be able to ask you if you'd prefer to discuss this before or after you get your teeth pulled?'
Mwa ha ha ha ha!