Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve was lovely.
The tree looked great, there was no dog-related accident involving tree, decoration, curtains or dog going up in flames (it's always a risk, even though we never had a problem), everybody was happy about their gifts and as everybody received a book to read, the evening was spent nice and quiet with reading.

I got a calendar with lovely pictures of Hovawarts (our dog is one and my Mum has been giving me that calendar for Christmas for the past three years or so) and a travel guide to the US from my parents, with the travel guide including the extra gift of 50 Euros in travel money.
My older brother got me a ticket for a performance of the German comedian Rüdiger Hoffmann, which is going to be fun.
My little brother gave me Pratchett's "Making Money" which I am going to read today.
My sister is going to come down on the 27th, so there's more to come.

Once the new year starts, I will get to travel planning in earnest, so everybody in the US, do consider whether you want to meet with me while I'm there, which will either be at the end of June to early July or all in July, depending on whether Portus is going to be the last act or the first or somewhere in the middle of my holidays.
I got up at eight or some such ridiculous time this morning, and as I wasn't feeling like breakfast and it was raining too hard to do anything outside of the flat and I had to do it anyway, I cleaned.

Large portions of the more commonly used of my two desks, the one with the computer, are now visible again, for the first time in weeks. The table in my office that I use for jigsaw puzzles now has a tablecloth and an arrangement of salt drilling cores and pieces of salt I got at the salt mine we visited on Thursday, my crystals (solely a Labyrinth reference, I have no inclination to reading the future in them), two glass candleholders with white candles and a glass filled with the light grey stones they have in the hills around here and some snail-shells.
The windowsill of the office is occupied by a large vase filled with wildflowers (I did go jogging for a bit early in the afternoon and picked some flowers on the way back).
The kitchen is clean, as is the bathroom.
All rooms have been vacuumed, one load of laundry is drying on the balcony. (I have to wait for it to be dry completely, otherwise I won't have room for the next load.)

I finished another book that has been put on my return-to-owner stack and will tomorrow start with the next on my to-read stack. Probably that naked elf book I borrowed from [ profile] lucie_p.

I had a surprise call from my Mom, usually we talk on Sundays. But I got a letter in the mail to their address - because my car is still registered up there and it was a ticket.
25 Euros because I didn't keep the required distance to the car in front of me. Oh well.

Tomorrow I need to do some ironing and mending. I haven't used the chair in my living room for probably months because I didn't feel like working my way through the stack of clothes I put on it. I don't have an ironing board and ironing on a regular table just doesn't work as well. I know, I know, women have been doing it for ages. So what, humans also lived in caves for ages, that doesn't mean I have to. The simple solution would of course be to buy an ironing board. I think I'll do that next weekend.

I'll be driving up to my parents on Wednesday night - making sure I keep my distance from other cars this time - and then we'll go to see the Met in Berlin on Thursday, and if we have enough time also the Angkor exhibit. If we don't make that, I'll probably have to go back later, I really would like to see it.

In August, after I come back from Scotland, there will be the family meeting in Kassel and the day after that I'll go to Trier with my parents because there's an exhibit on Emperor Constantine there.

And just last week I saw there is an exhibit about the Huns in Speyer, so that's another thing I would like to see.

No lack of culture in my future, I can see that even without a crystal.

I need to prepare for the release of DH. On my way up to my parents, I should be able to finish PS (thanks to audio books) and while there I can load the other books on my mp3 player and listen while I go shopping or walk the dog. I signed up for the translation again, so maybe I should read the German books while listening to the English ones so I get back into the vocabulary. (That "while" is not meant to indicate simultaneity. Even I am not that good at multitasking.)

Time for bed now. If I wake up on time tomorrow, I'll go to church. And if the weather is better than it was today, I'm going to meet Alexandra at the swimming pool in the afternoon.
The snippet I posted earlier today wasn't the only idea that came to me while jogging.

There is another budding story that would have to go to [ profile] tospareyou, but I am not sure whether or not to post it yet.
Posting would probably help me keep its exisence in mind and therefore make it more likely I continue it. (I still haven't forgotten the two unfinished Lumiones over there.)
But it would be the third unfinished story on there, and that's kind of getting old.

Besides, I am rather confident about finishing this one. I have a distinct idea of where I want to go.
And if I post it now, with the exchange still going strong, besides it being the weekend so most people not being online anyway or not having time to read and comment, I could as well be calling in the desert.

Maybe I'll wait until tomorrow and see how it goes.

Despite my best laid plans, I haven't yet watched Blow Dry. I spent hours this morning digging up information for my Dad. He called me at work on Friday and asked for help with something, and then after telling me he needed the information no later than Sunday so he could prepare it for a meeting on Monday, he had the gall to ask me what I was planning to do this weekend. Family is just great.

However, something I have planned I will definitely do: write a letter to my brother. Supposedly, soldiers like to get real, paper letters. I'll even write it by hand, because I just don't like writing personal letters on the computer. This might easily be the first letter I've ever written to my brother, or any of my siblings.
[ profile] cleverusername2 sent me this link.
All fanfiction writers on my flist should listen to that commentary, it's really interesting.
And right, IMHO.

Also, I'm so looking forward to next weekend. [ profile] wolflady26 invited me to come down ot Venice with her and her husbnd and another friend. I've been reading a Venice guide book and they have some recomended tours around the town in there that sound just great.
Maybe it'll also inspire me for the [ profile] hp_smutfree challenge. I like my assignment, it's a good choice for me, I just haven't had an idea yet. Though I did write a bit last night - some scenes that might be used at some point.

This summer, it looks like Scotland's going to be the place for vacation. I still haven't decided, but Mom gave me a guide to Scotland and all those lovely pictures really tempt me.

Mom and I went shopping on Thursday (I came home Tuesday night to watch the dog on Wednesday) and I spent way too much money. I bought a really lovely blue skirt I probably wouldn't have tried on had I been alone, but Mom said it would be worth trying. And it's great and fits wonderfully. And then she found a t-shirt to go with it, again one I'd never have tried on with the shirt. It's dark purple, kind of an aubergine color, and really nice. The funny thing is, I kinda look taller with the new clothes.

Then we came by a shoe store and I bought a pair of black sandals. I have several pairs of brown ones, but no black sandals, and that was no state to be in.

Lastly, we went to a bookstore so I could buy my Venice guide. And Mom gave me the complete works of Shakespeare! In English, in a lovely (fake) leather binding with gilt edging. Very fancy. Of course, I had to read the beginning of Twelfth Night immediately, I just love that story.

We had lunch at the Chinese restaurant. My Dad and brothers don't like Chinese food, so we only go there when we're alone.

Friday we went to visit my Grandma. She's better, but the way my aunt treats her makes me want to strangle that woman. To think we're related... Well, you can't chose your relatives, you can only chose your friends.

Speaking of friends, you guys really helped me Wednesday night. I had been watching Criminal Intent and there was a rape scene.
Now, I love to watch crime shows, and I don't freak out usually. Not when somebody's brutally murdered on CSI, or they're cutting off body parts or anything. But this was just - I don't know, it totally threw me off. Maybe it was because I talked to the psychologist a few days ago (she hasn't been able to find a shrink she could recommend, as the clinic refuses to give recommendations for ambulant therapy, so it looks like we're basically back to finding somebody in the phone book...) and so the whole thing wasn't as far back in my mind as it usually is. Also, it'll be six years tomorrow, and I've been thinking about it on and off for the past year.
Anyway, I was really shaky when I went to bed, but then I thought of you and what you told me last year, and that really calmed me.
Thanks, guys!


Apr. 16th, 2006 07:26 am
Happy Easter for those who celebrate! Happy long weekend for those who don't.

As I have been home since Thursda afternoon and most of my family is, too, I can't promise that there won't be murder by Monday. So to keep my mind a nicer turn, here's something I got from [ profile] sapphiretragedy. It will be a nice contrast to my sister constantly telling me my taste in clothing, music and everything else sucks and the whole idea of a guy wanting to go out with me is ridiculous or just due to the fact that I am the only female on the base.
My brother-in-law felt it necessary to point out to me that I shouldn't be angry at him laughing about my taste in music and books as he hasn't told me yet that I am fat like my older brother does.
Well, how come I am not thankful for that?
Anyway, give me some positive vibes, please!

Why am I on your friends list? Tell me how you found me and why you chose to read my LJ.

And put this in your LJ, too. Please.

I shouldn't be so self-centered, though. There are people on my flist who have real problems. You know who you are, guys, I'll keep you and the ones you love in my prayers. I am sure everything will turn out well. *hugs*
I had a wonderful weekend down at [ profile] wolflady26's.
On Saturday, she and I went shopping in Regensburg and she forced me to spend way too much money. (Sandra, I'm wearing the necklace with the pink stones right now and it's gorgeous)
We went to this beautiful town I had never heard of before which had a really nice castle ruin. And even though she had trouble walking because of an injured ankle, Sandra walked all the way up the tower and back down with us. (Maybe she thought if she let me walk up alone with her husband, one of us would come down the short way on the outside of the tower, not by the stairs... ;-D )
And they gave me a ton of CDs for my birthday, so as soon as I have my laptop I can watch Gilmore Girls and Ranma and then the next time I come down to visit and bring some CDs they'll copy some movies for me. Yay!

Also, they helped me broaden my horizon. They made me watch Army of Darkness which even a whimp like me could watch, even though I would probably not watch it again. And we watched several episodes of The 70s show and Corpse Bride, which was a really cool movie and made me curious about Nightmare before Christmas.
Sandra and I worked on our respective cross stitch projects and I managed to finish most of mine. Still got a bit to do, but the end is near.

And there is more: I read some more of the Sandman books while there and took a stack with me. Unfortunately, Sandra won't give me the last one until I've read the one she doesn't own, so I need to figure out where to get them from or I'll never figure out how the story ends. And then I am kind of worried to read volume 9 because maybe there will be a cliffhanger and then it might take ages until I finally find out how it ends. *sigh* Life is tough.

All in all, I had a great time. And we may be going on a long weekend trip to Venice at some point this spring, which would be marvellous.

At work today, I got stuck with the really boring stuff.
I had had some trouble chosing pictures for the year 2004 of the school history. There had been a huge event here, the 2nd European Infantry Seminar, and the only pictures I had easy access to were in a PowerPoint presentation. But the woman who does the layout said she could get them out and use them, not a problem. Well, of course it was a problem. So now I am sorting through 12 CDs of more or less unsorted pictures. (On each CD, they are sorted first by date and then by name of the photographer, for whatever reason. And several of them are either too dark or too light or completely black or not useable for some other reason - very annoying.)
I have found some of the ones I need, but still do have quite a way to go.
And to add to this, I had an email from my predecessor telling me which pictures to use for another article - without sending me the pictures. It turned out he had sent them to my boss, for whatever reason. And then I got a second email from him with some change he needs to be incorporated. Of course, the change is not in any year that is still being prepared for layout. It's in 1956. So then I get to talk to the layouter about what's feasible and then call my predecessor to figure out what to do, as the change he wanted is not doable in the way he wanted, it would screw up the layout for basically all 50 years.
Added to that is the fact that he happened to find some pictures he wanted to be included. In a spot where he's sure it won't affect the layout. No, of course not. How about we delete a few paragraphs in the way beginning and don't worry about that some pictures will not be on the same page as the related articles anymore.
The good thing about it is that it gives me something else than cataloguing to do in my extra hours, and I have used so much of those I need to blatanly work longer so that my boss will not get angry about me taking another long weekend on the 7th.

Mom needs me for taking care of the dog that weekend. She actually would have like me to be there both this coming Friday and the 7th, but I told her that for some reason, people happen to like to have me do the work they pay me for.
You would think we have a werewolf at home, not a friendly if a bit overactive puppy. It seems I am the only person on the planet who can take care of her when Mom's not home. And apparently, it is quite impossible for my Dad to stay home, so instead I have to take a day off from work, drive 360 kilometres after a full day of work on Thursday night and it might be I have to sleep on the couch in case the dog still needs to go out at night.
Don't get me wrong, I love the dog, but I do happen to have a life myself.

But there are good news, too. I have decided to become a better flist reader. Lately, there have been too many days when I just skimmed the pages and didn't bother to click on cuts, but that's over now - or so I hope. It might not leave me much time for commenting but at least I will know what's going on in you guys' lives.
So I know that there are new haircuts and new hair colors, new jobs and new friends and it seems many of you have a great time. Very good, continue!

Oh my, what an interesting entry. D2, welcome to my flist and I told you it wouldn't be much to read. Don't say I didn't warn you.


Jan. 29th, 2006 11:23 am
I skimmed the flist. If I didn't comment on an entry you think I should have commented on, nudge me.

Sorry about not being a very good reader at the moment, but it seems that right now I am always tired, no matte how much I sleep, and the more I sleep the more tired I'll be.

The staff sergeant allowed me to leave at noon on Thursday (captain is sick so couldn't say anything to that). I have the extra hours to use up for that, but it still is their decision to let me go or not, so that was cool.
Means I got home at a decent time and with not too many stupid gits on the road.

Friday Mom and I went to the funeral of our friend. It sucks that you see people only at funerals, really. I mean my godfather was there whom I last met at my confirmation, and that's what, ten years ago? And my godfather's father, the husband of the deceased friend, whom I ran into when I was shopping a few weeks back when he told me his wife was in a coma and they didn't know how things would go.
We used to live in the same house and I'd spend time at their place, and then when everybody moved out of that house, the contact totally broke off.
Life sucks.

And the service was in a effing cold church. And there was no coffin, just an urn, and personally I do not want to be burned because it sucks being carried out by a single funeral guy on something that looks a lot like a tea tray, and put into a hole in the ground that looks more like the start of an outhouse than a grave. It's just not what I want my relatives and friends to have as the last memory of me.

Saturday started with Mom and me driving to the dog training ground to the puppy play hour. Was okay, but again disgustingly cold.
After lunch, we two went to last minute choir rehersal at 3:30. Of course, the majority of the singers didn't show up until like four. Just great.
The concert started at 5, in yet another cold church. How I loove it that I know the songs better after two rehearsals than the other singers after ten at least. And how none of the so-called sopranos manages to sing a decent g.
After the concert we rushed home, changed into a few more layers of clothing and went back to the dog training ground. Set up everything for the nightly training. It's something they do every year on the last weekend of January. In the dark, dogs are very unsure and during the training, they are faced with - for them - weird things to see how they react, find out if they are aggressive or total whimnps (or both) or if they trust their owners enough to folow them to whatever scary thing there is.
So we started out with the dog being checked out like they are for shows and tests - measured, check teeth, that sort of thing. Then my Mom would hold the dog while the owner would hide behind a wall about twenty metres away, then call the dog. Some dogs apparently have much difficulties finding their owners if they don't see them. Then walk between two lines of candles. One dog blew out a candle, some were quite unsure about what this was. The go through a curtain we had put up, and towards a vacuum cleaner. That was really interesting. Most dogs were really afraid of the sound. Not so much of the "ghost" - a sheet in a tree, lit by a lamp. Then we had me - the drunk / disabled / generally weirdo. I was hiding in a bush with a weird, witchy hat and an umbrella, and would come out limping like Dracula'S servant. Then I would have to adapt to the reactions of the dog. If the dog was really scared, I'd walk normal, get rid of the umbrella (most dogs seem to be afraid of umbrellas), take of the hat, talk to them, call them and give them a treat.
After me, there was a tunnel, a wall to climb over for the older dogs and a plank to walk on for the puppies, then they had to get a toy out of a box of plastic bottles and the last was three different sorts of dog treats and the owner had to guess which one the dog would go to first.
Mom and I had planned that out since a week ago. Originally, another person was supposed to help, but she had told Mom on Tuesday she wouldn't be there, so we had to rearrange everything.

My job was it also to straighten things up after each dog, make sure the candles are still burning, switch on the vacuum cleaner again if necessary, that sort of thing.

Plus it's a lot of fun to be faces with fifteen different dogs from small mix to pure-breed Great Dane. Also, if I call a dog, talking in a soothing way, and the owner tells me he doesn't think she'll bite "once she finds out you're not wearing the training arm*" - that's really great. Also, if dogs are scared, they might attack even if they usually are the friendliest creatures on earth. So it's fun, yeah.

And it meant standing around in the cold from six until nine or so, then sit in an unheated office to figure out who has the best results. It also meant nothing to eat between lunch and nine.

When we came home, I was frozen. I took a boiling hot bath to just be able to feel my toes again.

Originally, my Mom had a meeting today, but she called in sick so at least today I can have some sort of weekend. Saturday in between everything, I had to do five loads of laundry to get my own and my brother's clothes washed and at least half-way dry - it sucks that so much can't go in the dryer, it doesn't really dry up on the attic in this sort of weather. It just freezes, it seems.

I am still totally tired. I had a strange dream that might be a fairy tale if I could just remember enough of it to write it down.
The door to my room doesn't close right. That sucks but I don't feel like asking my dad to do something about it because he anoys me just by existing, I couldn't stand communicating with him right now.

I'm done with 1994 in the school history thing. I'm getting there. I will get this done.

And here are some quizzes I got from ... people.

I am a red Slytherin )

* the training arm is like a sleeve thing made out of a mesh fabric. It's heavily padded and for those training disciplines that involve training the dog to attack an intrudor, the helper will wear it while walking up menacingly to the dog, hitting his equally padded leather pants with a whip. The dog then has to jump at him, bite into the arm and hold on even if the helper lifts him off the ground. Means that some dogs will jump and bite at everyone with a cast...
See picture here: a helper in full gear with arm over his left arm. Pictures of that sort of training in action here.
It's three o'clock, I've been up for about two hours or so, and I've got a headache already.
My Mom's gone to Berlin to go shopping with my sister. My Dad took down the christmas tree, my brother woke up about an hour ago and just finished breakfast, at some point I am apparently supposed to prepare lunch (this just means I shall put the pizza in the oven, so not all that bad, actually), the dog has been going crazy and annoying the heck out of me.

I don't see any point of coming home for the weekend except for the opportunity to wash my clothes and have guilt-free internet access.

It is just wrong if you watch a Die Ärzte concert on MTV and they suddenly start so sing Juli. WRONG.

My language skills deteriorate. I swear too much and use words like "totally" and "really" and "way" entirely too often.

And I'd really like to get a few minutes of peace and quiet in this fucking place without my father telling my that it's antisocial behaviour if I want to be left alone sometimes.

Who is love? )
Warning: the following post is written disregarding any and all rules of political correctness. For politically correct holiday wishes I would like to refer you to [ profile] rev_tobias' journal.

Anyway: I wish everyone a very merry Christmas. I hope you have / had a wonderful time and enjoyed yourself. Also, I hope you got lots of nice presents.

And Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I got the clarinet! It's just great, all new and shiny and wonderful and I so need to practice because I seem to have forgotten just about all I ever knew.

Now we're going to visit my aunt and her family and it's time to remember the rules:
DO eat the cookies with chocolate
DO NOT eat the cookies with seeds (sesame, pumpkin, undefined black stuff)
DO NOT eat anything that looks as if has been around since last Christmas
DO NOT say anything that shows you work for TEH EBIL MONSTER, otherwise known as the German army.
DO NOT say anything sarcastic
DO admire the stupid, aimless brats

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Oh, I got all of the Chronicles of Narnia, meaning I now have two copies of The magician's nephew. Anybody interested? ([ profile] wolflady26, [ profile] linnapaw?)

And Sandra, what day would you like me to come down to your place?

Eep, gotta run!
Last night, before I played Famous Namedropping* with my brother for like two hours, we were talking about religion and atheism.
I had once told him about the Flying Spaghetti Monster. He told me about Intelligent Falling and the Invisible Pink Unicorn. And I am thinking that if we teach religion in school, instead of only allowing people to go to the classes that teach about their own religion or teach ethics to the kids who aren't religious (my borther, who was raised protestant, tried to get into Catholic religion class so he could know more about a belief he didn't grow up with, but was denied due to the fact he was protestant), we shoul be taught about all the many different beliefs, and even those who are only created to make fun of fanatic followers of any religion.
I saw there is going to be a gospel of the flying spaghetti monster next year. Teheee! How long will it take until somebody starts taking it seriously?

* Famous Namedropping: It started with us talking about how people who belief they have lived before never lived normal, uneventful lives. If they were not nobles or extraordinarily rich, they had tragic lives. Or all of the above.
Anyway, we then started digging for historic people we had been in former lives (me starting with my firm belief of having been Cleopatra's lion). At some point, he said he had been Notorious BIG and Tupac. At the same time, which I think is quite impressive. I was, among others, Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus and the brothers Grimm. He beat me on Tallyrand, but I was Fouché, which isn't too bad. He had the advantage of knowing pretty much every single ruler of Egypt, Greece, Persia, Rome and whatever other empires were around before the beginning of our time. It got really difficult when he demanded more information on the names, like who they were and when they lived, because I suck with dates. But I do think it is rather weird to be doing this from midnight to like two in the morning.
We had guests this afternoon. A couple my father considers friends, even though the relation would be called business contact by anybody else, at best. But that's about as close as my Dad gets to having friends.
Anyway, it was quite an experience.
He, with a haircolor that neither fit his skin color nor look anywhere near natural. She, with a typical hairstyle, the one any village hairdresser learns best and then tries to sell to every female customer, and in a costume in bright orange that looked in style and fabric as if it had been a parachute in a former life. Not quite perfect for her rather well-fed figure. Also, she was wearing golden sandals and had pink nail polish on her toe nails. Not that I can't tolerate nail polish, but why not chose a color that fits your outfit.
So much for first impressions. But it got only worse once they started talking. He wasn't too bad, but she kept on uttering these dogmatic statements about just about everything. Like a female version of my father. But unlike him, she had this touch of humor, even if it was the kind of humor that never can keep the boundaries of good behavior. Telling dirty jokes at the coffee table with three adults you've never seen before, and the jokes are on them, is nothing I'd ever do. But while we're talking about the three adults they had never seen before (my brothers and me), there we run into a whole new problem. (Related to the fact that, unlike English, German has two versions of "you". The formal "Sie" and the informal "Du". While "Du" is acceptable when talking to kids and to friends, everywhere else it's "Sie") Now, these people and my parents use "Du" and their first names when talking to each other. With us, they were unsure what to do. We are adults, but we also are the kids of friends, putting us in the "Du" section. I hate it when people use "Du" with me. I wouldn't mind that much with English speaking people, it seems more natural, especially with Americans. (Maybe because they don't grow up with that distiction.) But from the average German, I expect to be treated like an adult. And that includes not calling me by my first name just because.
But it was good to have my brothers there. Sometimes, we just looked at each other and knew exactly what the others were thinking. We are terrible at that. If we consider guests to be incredibly stupid, especially my younger brother and me, we start making little mean remarks about them, sometimes just exagerating what they said. It was interesting to see my father fall into the same style of talking as out guests did. When they were discussing the relation between prize and service in different German towns ("In Berlin, you really get something for your money. But Munich is terrible." "Oh yes, and Stuttgart is just like it, if not worse." - No kidding, this is pretty close to the actual conversation.), I just had to sit next to mom and whisper in her ear "Now, I didn't like the shops in Nice at all. And Monte Carlo was just a rip-off!" in that same tone. It was too ridiculous to hear these guys talk like that, as if they were some nobility talking about their last trip to St. Moritz while watching the races at Ascot.
I just needed that kind of bitching, I couldn't help it.
I know, it's terribly impolite. I try to stop me, usually, at least until the guests have left. (Unless it's family; they'll come back anyway, no matter what you say. Believe me, I've tried.)
I suppose the main problem is that I don't like doing this, inviting people over just because they might be useful someday. It is a type of relation I don't want. I know that it is important to have contacts, but if I don't get along with the people, they can be as important as they want, I still won't spend more time with them than necessary. It costs too much nerves and self respect to ever pay off.
Maybe my views will change once I realize that this is a luxury I can't afford. But I'd rather work on a low paid job than somewhere I got to because my Daddy knows somebody who plays golf with... who plays cards with... It just isn't my style. I don't mind using my own contacts as much. The people I worked with in my internship told me about the job I might be getting. But they did so because they know me and they know what I can do. And when they said that I was fit for the open position, they didn't do that just because they liked me, but because they knew I really am.
But if I use these semi-private contacts, these people don't know what I can or cannot do. Gosh, they don't even know what I am! Like the interview thing I'm going to have tomorrow, a contact my father asked one of his "friends" (business contacts) to make. That guy has no idea what he could probably want with a librarian, and I don't know, either. Driving me crazy that I still have to do it, but my father wants to feel like he's helping me get a job, and I didn't want him to think that I reject him and his help. I would do that, reject his help, if it wouldn't hurt him. But he would be hurt and never talk about it but just sit there sulking for weeks and think about how ungrateful his children are. I'm not, I just don't need that kind of help. I had good results, and I have my one contacts to use. It's not that I don't appreciate what he's doing, it's just that I don' need it and don't want it. The idea might be nice, but it gives me the impression that he thinks I can't do it on my own.
Gosh, what a turn from bitching about our guests to that discussion I'm having with myself. But that's the way I think, and what you are reading is, as the title of my journal promises, whatever comes into my mind.


Jul. 30th, 2004 10:16 pm
I'm going crazy. I've been through so many emotions today, changing so quickly, that I just have to be crazy by now.
I started out to take my Australian friend and her mother on a tour around my hometown. I learned some things myself on the way, so that was really nice. We had a lot of fun, we took pictures, we joked around. I was happy.
Then we came home, and I started to feel that I didn't have eough sleep last night. See, my friend stayed in my room and we hadn't seen each other for some months. Need I say more? I met her mom for the first time, though, and that was an interesting experience. E., my friend, has been living in Germany for 2 years now, but her mom just came for a ten day visit right from Western Australia. So that was my first contact with Australians, and with Australian English. IT wasn't as bad as I had feared from things I had heard. I had no problem understanding S. We also got along really well, which was good.
Anyway, when we went out for lunch I was really tired, hardly could keep my eyes open. But in the afternoon we had planned on doing some more sightseeing more "in the country". We did, I managed to stay awake, and after a while I wasn't even tired anymore. There were so many things going on, and we talked about all kinds of stuff, it was so interesting. Then E. discovered this summer sleighing track. It's actually more of a rollercoaster type of thing, but you can control your speed and it goes right through the woods. So we went up there. I like rollercoasters. I'm not afraid of heights. But I just didn't like the construction of this thing. I went pretty slow, and didn't enjoy the trip much. (Also because I'm in kind of a bad shape right now, I keep having this pain in my chest that's driving me crazy because I don't know whether it's anything serious or not.) I've decided to ride it again and go a little faster. We'll see.
We just got home in time to pack their stuff and get going, because they had to get their train. Halfway into town, my brother-in-law called me, because he had found somebody's glasses in the bathroom. It were E.'s, so we went back to get them. My folks were worried that we might miss the train, but it worked out alright. So I had to say goodbye to them, which was kind of sad. They only had a day to stay with us, and that just isn't enough.
So I went back home. My fanily had left to visit some friends, and me and my younger brother were alone. Then suddenly the power failed, and I had several tenants complain to me abou that. What am I supposed to do, just magically get a generator out of the air and set it up?
That made me angry and upset, because I also felt stupid for not knowing what to do. It might have been a problem with our circuits. It turned out it wasn't, luckily. And the power did come back eventually.
When my folks came back a minute ago, my sister came in here looking at what I'm doing. I hate that!! You're just not reading somebody else's emails or writings if they don't ask you to. It's none of her business what I'm doing at the computer. I told her, which made her angry at me. She'll sulk all evening, but who cares, really. She's grown-up enought to know these things.
I'm going to take the young couple to Berlin tomorrow. Will be fun. I hate driving in places I don't know my way around. They both don't drive, and getting directions from pedestrians is terrible. But I'll get to see the Chagall exhibit, so that's nice.
My car needs an inspection, though. I'm overdue with that, but didn't have time this week. There are some strange noises coming from the passenger's side that might be indicating a problem with the brakes. Doesn't that sound great? At the last inspection, they told me I'd need to get about 800 Euros worth of work done to the car, which I didn't have. And my father (it's his car, actually) said it wasn't worth it, because who knows how long we're going to keep that thing anyway. So I suppose I'll have to get some part of this work done this time, if I want to drive remotely safely. But I'm not going to find out this week anymore. I just hope I don't break down on the highway. Yes, one of the famed German Autobahn where you're allowed to go as fast as you want to. I'll have to apply my secret trick to get rid of strange noises: turn up the volume on the radio.
Let's hope I'm still alive on Saturday evening...
A German magazine had an interesting article on happiness and what makes people happy. (I checked, but it isn't online. For those with access to German magazines, it's in the Focus of this week.)
Too much choice is as bad as too little. And money and goods don't make happy. Religions and philosophy have told that over and over, but apparently it has been scientifically proven by now.
They had the example of one man who, at a rather young age, had reached the American dream. He had a lot of money, a huge house with all the right furniture and everything, and he just broke down. The doctors couldn't really find out what was wrong, but he decided that the problem was simply this: being busy making money and buying things, he had lost himself on the way. So he sold his house and most of the things he owned and moved to Portland, Maine. The article said something about how remote and quit that place is. Apparently, whoever wrote that has never been further north than Portland, never been to Bangor, much less Presque Isle. But I guess compared with New York or Los Angeles, Portland is remote and quit. There were other examples, too. Professors who decided to work only eight days a months as freelance advisors. (from what I hear from my sister at the university in Berlin, profesors don't work much more than eight days a month anyway, but well...)
There was a test were you could find out what type of person you are. My mom scored really low, meaning she doesn't care about things at all. Which is true, really. She is the kind of person who thinks money is nice to have, but if you don't have much of it, then you'll just live without and buy less. My father, on the other hand, defines himself and everybody around him with one single category: money. As my Mom had more influence on my upbringing, I scored in the lower middle. Nothing special. But it is good to know that I won't break down if I can't buy my clothes from Armani (do they make women's clothes? If not, just put in any other fancy designer) or drive a Mercedes. I would like to do these things. (Not the Mercedes, I'd love to have a Maybach), but I can live without them. I do take quite some time to decide, and I can spend several minutes chosing toothpaste. But if I have very little money, I will be able to chose the cheapest without getting a nervous breakdown.
Incidently, there is only about 5 Euros on my bank account. Fortunately, the month is almost over.

Another interesting thing onTV today was a show on MTV. Usually, I'm not too happy with the fact that a station that calls itself Music television has so little music in the program,but this show was interestin if a little voyeuristic (is that a word that exists in English?).
It was about a few people joining a summer camp for fat people. America surely holds the record of fat people, but Germany is following close and gaining ground. I just read about this clinic for kids where they come to lose weight. If a 14 year old weighs more than a small horse, than it's not only the kids fault. Where are the parents? Aren't they supposed to keep an eye on their kids and look what they eat? And if they don't do that, don't they realize something's wrong when a skirt for their daughter looks more like the tent for a small circus? The problem is that right now, the kid might be "only" fat, but in a few years, they will have both psychological and health problems. The youngest person with the type 2 diabetes, the type ususally elderly people get, is 9. If he's lucky,losing weight and exercising will help. But he'll be ill for the rest of his life. And if it isn't diabetes, these kids have rheuma, breathing problems, aching joints and bones - and all because nobody cared enough to take care of their eating and exercising habits. What the parents do to their children should be treated as a crime. If you let a child starve, that's considered worthy of a severe penalty. But if you ruin the child's health and entire future, that should be OK? That just doesn't seem right.
MAybe in a few years, these kids will start sueing their parents. But most likely, they'll just sue McDonalds and Burger King and the guys who produce candy bars. Hey, they just produce and sell the stuff. They don't force you to eat it!
So now my sister is officially married, even in the eyes of the church and God.
That means I now have a new brother. Can't be any worse than the existing two.
The service was really nice. I didn't mess up playing my little song, which was great. The pastor did a fantastic job, even though he pronounced my brother-in-law's name wrong. Well, can't be right all the time.
And the weather stayed good all afternoon and night, so we could go out in the garden and didn't have to sit in the room all day. We sang a lot of songs, my uncle having brought his guitar and several songbooks. I think the couple's friends were quite surprised at that and were unsure about it, and they didn't sing with us. We kind of skipped the part of the evening when there's dancing and drinking and went right to drinking and singing. But I had some interesting conversations in between with my great-uncle and with our American friends, and also with the friends of my sister and her husband. Still, I did go to bed around 1:30 in the morning, far earlier than most others. My Mom ended up having only 3 hours of sleep, as she had to get up at nine today to say goodbye to the first guests leaving.
We ate the rests of the food for breakfast this morning and had some cake this afternoon, but I think there's still more. We'll eat off that stuff for the rest of the week.
All in all, I think it was a success. Bride and groom had to plant a tree, which was a really funny sight. My brother-in-law hasn't had a lot to do with garden work before, and my sister wearing a long, ligh-colored dress couldn't really do that much. Her high heels were sinking into the ground anyway, making it hard to move around. But that was a problem she shared with all other females, except for the one who wore these flip-flops.
The only thing that was bad was that my aunt and uncle, who didn't want to come at all, then had decided only to show up for the service, then decided to come home for a glass of champagne, ended up staying for coffee and cake. Not that I mind having them around... OK, I do mind having them around, but that's not the point. You just don't show up if you said you wouldn't and therefore have not been planned for. Plus, they sat right next to me and treated me like some kind of domestic servant. "Get us this, give us more that..." The tried the same thing with one of my sister's friends, who just said "Sorry, but I'm a guest myself." Unfortunately, I couldn't say that. Then they were upset about not sitting closer to the head of the table, but even below me. My uncle is very sensitive about hierarchy, and he thinks himself to be the most important person in the world. He told the history of the family and the house to the young folks who stayed with us for the first time, and made it sound as if everything good was his personal accomplishment. He also stopped talking as soon as he realised I was standing right behind him. Which was fine, the guys had been hearing enough rubbish at that point anyway. They came back to my sister later asking about these things and my sister had to get all the stories right again.
And they gave a present that looks a lot like a bowl for dog food. We haven't quite figured out whether it should be used in the kitchen or to put fruits or cookies in.
Well then, I'm going to go back to the guests that are still here.
That actually is the line from some gospel our little choir sings form time to time. But as I am really happy right now, it sticks in my mind, together with David Bowie's When the wind blows (but I don't know why that).
Anyway, I'm happy because our American friends came yesterday and we went to Leipzig today for a while, doing some sightseeing and the museum on GDR history.
Tomorrow is my sister's wedding, and we will have the whole family here, at least the adults. We decided not to invite the children as well, because we wanted to keep the event on a reasonable level. So there are going to be something like 35 people. And my sister apparently placed me close to our American friends and other people who speak English, which most likely are friends of the bride and groom. That means I will sit quite far away of those family members I don't like to meet.
We already have one of my aunts and uncles here. They decided to come the day before and leave right after the wedding ceremony, as it is hard for them to stay away from home for long. My uncle has Parkinson's disease, and even though he can still remember things and think up jokes like he used to do, he can't speak very well and his hands are trembling. It is a pity, he's a great person, with a wonderful sense of humor and a good way of treating people. It is really hard on me, as I don't see them very often, to see how the disease changes him.
Another of my favorite aunts died last year when I was in America and couldn't even be there for the funeral. She had cancer, as did both of my grandfathers. One of my grandmothers had Alzheimer's disease. If these things are genetic, I'm not going to live to be 40.
Jee, I'm getting myself down here.
So back to something positive.
We had choir rehearsal this evening, and it went much better than the last time. It seems as if we are finally able to sing the songs we want to sing tomorrow. I'm going to play a piece of music on the clarinet, and while I should practice that again tomorrow morning, it should work out, too.
The schedule is all set. Today, we didn't have the forecasted thunderstorm until late in the afternoon, so we hope for similarly good weather tomorrow. That way, we don't have to spend all the time in one room.
The food and the flowers have been ordered, almost everybody invited will come, it looks as if it's going to be a success. Which would be great. My sister is already getting quite nervous. She's the kind of person who will get so anxious that she does something wrong, and then she'll say that she knew all along that something wouldn't work out. So the better preparation is, the bigger our chances for calm evening. She can be very upset if she thinks something doesn't go right. And she deserves a great wedding, too. I don't say that very often and I wouldn't say it to her face, but she really is a great person in her way, and I'm happy to have her as my sister.
And also, she provides the perfect opportunity for me to get a new dress, new jacket, new shoes and new belt, and to meet so many nice people. Which makes me love her even more. *gg*
So I'm going to be quite busy tomorrow, but I know I'll stealaway from the croud from time to time to check my emails or to listen to some musci, just to enjoy a little solitude. And I'm looking forward to that, too. You can only enjoy being alone if you aren't from time to time.


Jul. 18th, 2004 11:47 am
Whoever said that it is a good idea to live in a big house never had to clean it.
We live in a farmhouse that's something like 100 years old. For German measures, that's not that impressive. But it is pretty good.
My grandmother and my father were born in this house. My great-grandfather built it. This is my home, it really is, even though we moved in only 14 years ago.
But when I go and clean 3 bathrooms and a huge living room, two offices, a smaller living room and the library and something like 44 steps and four landings and a bannister that is beautifully wrought but a hell to clean and have to do all that within a week because we are going to have to find room for something like 20 people here who come for my sister's wedding and my mom doesn't have the time to do it all by herself, I wish I could live in a little apartment with only three rooms or so.
I guess I'd hate that, though. I'm not used to live in rooms where the ceilings lower than three meters. I will have a hard time to adjust when I move out.
But today is Sunday. I have decided to do only things I want to do today. I'm going to do some cross stitch and maybe check out the sewing machine I got to celebrate my exam. I'm going to practice that contact juggling, yesterday it seemed as if I finally was getting anywhere with it. I need to sew on some buttons and repair some clothes. I need to check on my dress for the wedding and I need to find out how many bobby pins and flowers my sister wants/needs to put in her hair, because I agreed to buy them.
With that much to do, I better get going...
My parents came back yesterday from a bike tour with some friends.
The went to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, for those of you who happen to know the German provinces. For those who don't: in that area there is absolutely nothing worth seeing. Plus, one of the friends usually starts looking out for a rest after about 30 minutes. Rest means trying to find some obscure village pub that serves wine. The towns - if you can call them by that name - they visited usually consisted of about 5 huts and a mansion. Most of these mansions were inbad shape. Some had been the hunting mansions of GDR politicians, so decorated in a style these guys liked. Think nazi architecture with the GDR coat of arms instead of swastikas, then you pretty much get the picture. Nothing remotely resembling any kind of culture in the area, not even intesting churches to look at, no museums, exhibitions or anything. The highlight of the weekend was watching eagles in their nest (with a camera tat is installed up there, of course).
My mom had a hard time to stay calm all these four days, to be polite and say all the things you're supposed to say.
Sometimes I wish we weren't forced to behave that way when interacting with other people. Of course, there is always the possibility of not interacting at all, but that is no option for my mom. Simply because she is married to my father and he wnts o go on these tours with his friends, and he wants her to come with him and he wants her to like it. Makes me regard the prospect of marrying very sceptically. At least if you are single you can chose whether you want to meet other people or not. The problem is that you might not have friends you are as close to as your partner. And the person you married or live with might actually be there in the middle of the night, when you feel lonely and sad and you can't really go and call up a friend.
Looks like you can't have all the good things at the same time.
I don't think I did anything useful today.
I read a few books. I went to town to return some books and CDs to several libraries. I... no, that was it.
Not only didn't I do anything useful, I might even say I didn't do anything at all.
Well, my Mom and I went to return the cordless phone we had bought for my Grandma. She always falls over the cord of her phone, so we thought that would be a great idea. Unfortunately, my Grandma lives at my uncle's place and he doesn't want a digital phone in his house. He's afraid boiling his brain or something. So we had to get a different phone. It is still cordless, so there must be some kind of radiation. I mean, the handset has to get in contact with the station somehow. But apparently, the radiation from this (more expensice) telephone is less dangerous than the one from the phone we had picked.
Please, my Grandma is 77. Her brain is not going to take much damage, no matter what she does. And my cousins do have cell phones, isn't that dangerous, too?
Plus, most likely everybody else in the neighborhood has something that radiates in their houses, so you can't avoid it anyway.
See what I go through with my family? They all act up like that, only in different ways. There was this ad on TV years ago, for a bank. Two guys meeting after years, and taking out these pictures, bragging, My car, my house, my boat... That's one of my uncles, right there.
And the one my Grandma lives with always knows everything about whatever topic you talk about. Come to think of it, my Dad's similar. And they are not even related.
So we got the new phone and I'll take it to my Grandma's and plug it in and tell her how to use it and stuff. That will take forever. I love my Grandma right to pieces, but she is darned stupid whenever something electronic is involved. Well, part of her upbringing. Her father did all that stuff for her, and then she got married and her husband took over, doing everything for her. Really everything. Sounds great and romantic and things, but when he died she had never been to a bank in her life, she had not been shopping for years, she didn't drive a car very often and only in the country, with nobody else around. She was helpless. When I realized that, I promised to myself never to let that happen to me, no matter how intriguing the idea might sound.
I need to find out whether I qualified for final examination. Yeah, the one I've been preparing for. When I last asked, only one of the two professors had read my final paper and given a mark. And I wasn't even told that mark, so I still don't know whether it was crap and I need to start again. In that case, I need to pay fee for another semester. But I won't need to worry about finding a job anytime soon.
Now, isn't that a positive view? Looks like I got out of my depression.


Jul. 4th, 2004 11:45 am
I love my family. But on weekends like this, I get the feeling I'd love them more if I would see less of them.
On Saturday, we celebrated my grandma's birhtday. My aunts and uncles and most of my cousins from my father's side were there. People I don't have much in common with, apart from a similarity in DNA.
At first I feared the weather would be bad. If it had rained, we had spent the time sitting in this restaurant all day, talking. Fortunately, sun did come out and we went for a walk. Now, if you have two choices to go for a walk: through a little, beautiful wood or through some housing development were people have build houses as large as they could afford, almost reaching their neighbor's porches, houses that have no architectural merit whatsoever, what would you chose?
Of course, my family chose the housing area. I guess I should have known. So all of the roads we walked on were paved. Really nothing nice to walk on for longer distances. Most of us were rather happy to get back and be able to sit down.
Then there was my aunt and uncle and their children, basically spending the time telling everybody who didn't get away fast enough about how great they are, how important, how fantastic...
My other aunt tried to find an excuse for her oldest daughter not being there. The excuse is that she's pregnant with her third child from her second partner, that the farm she decided to live on doesn't have running water, at least not in her camper, that despite of having many talents and all choices, she still doesn't have a clue what she's going to do with her live, and that my grandma is getting a little tired of being asked questions about that from her sister-in-law (whose own daughter is currently unemployed and - after her divorce - living together with a man her dear mother doesn't want to meet.)
Isn't family a great thing? The problem is, they don't just go out there and admit they can't stand each other. They spend all this time telling each other how they love to be part of this wonderful family, and aren't your children cute, and what a beautiful house/car/whatever you have here. And as soon as you turn your back, there bitching about you.
Worse than teenagers, really.
And after I finally got home yesterday, or actually early this morning, we had family here today for my future brother-in-law's babtizm. Now I'm sick and tired of them. I wish I could just stay in my room for the rest of the week, getting my share of peaceful solitude, enjoying a company I really like - my own, and forget that there is such a thing as family.
But they are not going to let me. Is that what you have family for? Aren't they supposed to be there when you need them?
But I would never ask my aunts or uncles for help if I'm in a desperate situation. The only thing they have to offer is telling you they knew all along.
I mean, this is the family, who, on hearing that I would become a librarian, came up with things like:
Weren't you pretty good in school, why don't you try for something real?
Is that something you can actually study?
What do you need to study for to put books on the shelves?

And, my all time favorite: Are you going to be professor for dusting then?
Doesn't that tell you everything about these bunch?



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