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February 2007
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April 2007

I'm dreaming of a white...

....Easter?  Holy snowshoes, Batman, look at the white stuff go!  Isn't it spring?  What happened?  One day the daffodils are blooming, the next we're building snowmen in the back yard.  It is pouring snow and has been since this morning early.  We've had a few flurries this week, but this is the first real accumulation, and it's getting pretty messy out there.  I went to the grocery after dropping the kids off at school, and I almost didn't make it back up the hill to the house.  The really bad news is that they don't do "snow days" here, which means I have to go out in it no matter what.  Blech.  It is really pretty to look at...I have a big picture window in the living room that looks up toward the forest, and the pines are beautiful now.  The Black Forest isn't so black at the moment!
    Speaking of Easter, the kids' Easter break is coming up - two glorious weeks of sleeping in.  Can't wait.  We're trying to decide if we want to spend a few days in Paris or just hang out here and maybe do a few day trips.  Personally I'd like to just sleep, period, but I'm not sure I can get the rest of the family to agree to that.  They'll probably want to be amused or diverted or otherwise occupied - until, of course, it's time to go back to school, at which point they will all be SO TIRED!!  Sigh.  I've been tired for fifteen years, I swear, and I'm beginning to accept the fact that I'll be tired the rest of my life.  Welcome to motherhood, land of eternal fatigue.  Can I have a triple espresso, please?, yeah....

    Clearly I should have been more worried about the landlord coming.  Let's just say that the visit was "not as advertised", and I kinda feel like a Clydesdale drop-kicked me halfway to China.  This has been the suckiest week in a long, looooooooooooooong time.  I swear I'm going to go back to the States, sell everything I've got, and build myself a little cabin up in the holler on the ol' farm and Never. Come. Out.  I really think becoming a semi-hermit is the way to go right now.  It's almost a shame I don't drink, because this week would certainly have merited some strong stuff.  Guess I'll go drown my sorrows in dark chocolate instead. 

The light dawns

    You will remember that in my last post, I was concerned about a possible mystery illness because of some disturbing and unusual symptoms I've been experiencing.  Well, yesterday all was made clear.  It's not an illness at all, it was an early warning system!!  Warning of what, you ask?  A visit from the landlord.
    See, after 13+ years of living in my own house, I had a system.  I cleaned when I couldn't walk through a room, or when someone was coming to visit that I knew was a "good housekeeper" (like my mom).  We were viciously cluttered but perfectly happy.  Now, though, I live in someone else's house, and the experience has been a shock to my slovenly system.  I'd forgotten what it was like to have to worry about the kids running their racecars into the wood trim, or needing to be concerned about that funny greenish tinge on the front steps that I think is from all the rain this winter, or....well, you get the picture.  The place ain't mine, which increases the "need to keep it decent" quotient quite a bit.
    Now, our landlord is a very nice guy.  Honest, decent, funny, and he puts up with Seth jabbering at him with commendable grace.  However, he is German, and Germans are nothing if not tidy.  Therefore, when I discovered that he was coming by today to discuss some insurance issues (nothing wrong, just some questions that need answered before I can set up my torch to make beads), the reason for all my unusual angst became clear.  I GOTTA CLEAN!!!  EEEEEEEKKK!!  So I spent some time yesterday running around picking up things and putting things away and washing things and sometimes freaking out and hiding things because I couldn't think of anything better to do with the things, and...and...(must catch my breath, sorry) I think I'll be okay.  I mean, jeez, I have three kids, the man knows that, so I'm sure he doesn't expect the house to look like a museum.  Does he?  No, surely not., today I need to do some dishes (eternally redirtying things that they are) and stash a few more things and run the vacuum and dust and golly, there you go!  Come on in, Herr Landlord, nice to see ya!  So off I go, and if you don't hear from me in a couple days, well....those dust bunnies under the sofa were looking kinda hungry.  Send help.

Mystery illness?

    I think I'm sick.  I mean, maybe I'm sick, or maybe it's just something in the air, or the moon is in the seventh house or something like that.  But weird things are happening and I don't know why.
    Weird thing the first: I've been getting up in the morning and instead of making a pot of coffee - real, good, actual coffee - I've been making (gasp!) Nescafe.  And liking it. Sometimes even two or three cups.  This is not normal.  I'm a licensed coffeeholic - my blood donor card says "french roast" under blood type.  So what the heck am I doing drinking instant coffee? 
    Weird thing the second: I am experiencing strange, irregular, but very strong urges to EXERCISE.  This is also not normal.  I do not like exercise.  I do not like to sweat.  Exercise is for people who don't drink coffee, knit, bead or blog.  And yet I have an inexplicable urge to go hike up a mountain or go cross-country biking or something equally sweaty and pain-inducing.  Bizarre.
    Weird thing the third: I found myself worrying yesterday about the fact that there are probably vast colonies of dust-bunnies under my couch and behind the doors and other furniture.  Now, I have nothing against cleaning.  It's a fairly normal, healthful activity, when undertaken in moderation and with a properly relaxed approach.  But for me to even spend a single minute worrying about it?  Never happened before ( at least not when my mom isn't coming in the next week).  What the Sam Hill is going on here?
    All I can think is that there is some evil new virus lurking here, slowly growing into my body and brain, replacing all the "normal Stephanie" cells with "freaky-uncaffeinated-sweating-housecleaning-Stephanie" cells.  I'm scared.  What do I do?  How do I defeat this horrible beast?  If I don't take action soon, my house will be sparkling clean, I'll have ripped abs and half a dozen coffee companies will go out of business.  I can't live with that on my conscience, now can I?  Hmmm...perhaps the first step is deliberate and copious consumption of caffeine.  Yeah, that's it.  I'll just hop on my bike and ride the 150 kilometers to the nearest Starbucks and...NOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooo!!!  ARRRRggghhhh!!  It's growing!  Someone help me! 

UFO's and other abnormal activity

    I have known for a long time that I'm not a very good finisher.  I have lots of ideas and energy and enthusiasm in the beginning of a project, but that tends to leave fairly quickly.  I apparently am easily bored (in other words, I have the attention span and commitment level of a flea for projects lasting longer than 15 minutes).   But I have recently been whacked upside the head with the realization that I am not just a "not very good" finisher, I am almost a complete NON-finisher.  Exhibit  A: 
this lovely pile of thread is supposeBlooms_and_ufos_012_2d to be a poncho, which I wanted to wear to Italy.  You will note that we have been back from Italy for two weeks now, and the poncho is not yet finished.

Exhibit B:
Blooms_and_ufos_013 this is part of a sock which I began knitting - wait for it, now - last August.  Yes.  Really.  I messed up the heel, ripped it back in a fit of pique and have never touched it since.   We will not mention the (several) other unfinished socks languishing in various corners of the house.  I cannot see them, therefore they do not exist. 

And finally, Exhibit C, which really kills me, because this one almost never happens (honest!): a necklace that got this far and no farther.  ThisBlooms_and_ufos_016 is weird, because it's truly rare for me to start a piece a jewelry and not finish it in one session.  My only excuse for this one is that I want to make it all white and silver, and I don't have enough white beads to really do it the way I want.  Sigh. 

Even though I already knew this - sort of - I'm still depressed by the undeniable evidence that I don't carry through on so many of my projects.  Is this a serious character flaw?  Or just further proof that I need to stick to smaller undertakings?  Or maybe it's just that I really enjoy the process and don't care so much about the product, at least when it comes to knitting.  At any rate, I am challenging myself to finish all three of these projects before starting anything else, which is extremely painful and most uncharacteristic for me.  We'll see how I do.  No promises, because I know myself too well, but I do think this is something I need to address. 

    On the bright side, I am pretty good at sticking with relationships, which I firmly believe are more important than ponchos any day.  My hubby just came home from 8 days in Spain last night (business trip) and I'm SO happy to have him home!!  I really hate it when he's gone, especially for this long.  A couple days is just annoying, but this was depressing.  After 20 years together we still hate being separated.  Part of it, of course, is just that we're goofy in love with each other.  But part of it is the fact that I never know what's going to come next with this man of mine.  He is constantly surprising me and making me laugh.  For example, he brought us each a wee souvenir from Spain.  The kids all got items related to the history/culture of Barcelona.  Me?  I got this.
It's a plate.  A little, square plate, in red and yellow and orange, with "Barcelona" and some little sketches of - um - things?, all over it.  I have no idea what it's meant to be used for.  It's cute, but - a plate?  Jon's explanation was "But I thought it would go with your kitchen, honey!"  I laughed myself silly.  See what I mean?  Always surprising.  How can you not love a man like that?

Grouchy day

    Last week the kids were off school, and Jon had some vacation days to use up, so we went to Italy.  Gorgeous weather, lovely relaxing time, none of us wanted to come back....but we did.  We were good and came back to Germany to take up the burden of our usual routines, and what did it get us?  Rain.  Lots of rain. Freaking unbelievable TONS OF RAIN.  I am so sick of rain I could scream, but if I did I'd probably drown myself in the torrents of water pouring endlessly from the sky.  I swear to you I'm growing gills and webbed fingers.  This is ridiculous.
    To add insult to injury, Jon just left today for a week on the coast of Spain.  Yes, it's for work, but come on...his hotel looks out over the Mediterranean, and he's going to be there over a weekend.  I am pretty darn sure that the view will mitigate some of the stress of work.  If it doesn't it's because he isn't looking.  And here I am, with three kids and a migraine, stuck in the - wait, let me say it again - RAIN!!! 
    Do I sound bitter?  Golly, I can't imagine why I would.  I mean, jeez, who wouldn't love living under a continuous shower, in a country where you barely speak the language, 4,000 miles from friends and family, and there's not even a Starbuck's in town to ease the pain?  Doesn't that sound attractive?  NOT!  I am just plain GROUCHY today, and I don't care who knows it (obviously, since I'm posting this where anyone could see it).  I could work on my knitting, but it's entered the black hole stage where you knit and knit and knit and it never changes, so that's not much fun.  I could bead, but my head hurts too much to focus on those little tiny things.  I could clean, but - HA - get real!  So I'm sitting here grouching at the computer, and even that isn't much fun.  Really, what I'd like right now is to go to sleep and wake up in two and a half years, in my own cozy little house in the USA.  What do you think my odds are?  Yep, same here.  Guess I'll try coffee and chocolate and see where that gets me.  (grumble grumble growl...)