Amazing German do-it-yourself...

I'm lmao at these nutty inventions... unfortunately they're not translated, but I think the pics mostly give the gist, though the German makes it funnier.

Funky German inventions

I'm lmao at these captions, which unfortunately, are not translated on the page... do-it-yourself

Tidyness and Stuff

I've been thinking tonight about how accustomed I've been, my entire life, to having too much stuff. Things I don't actively use, that I never take out and look at, or use again, that are cluttering up our living space. Clothes, books, mementos, things I "meant to" do something with and never did. Ugh. This move is really making me reflect on that as I contemplate what I care about bringing with us or putting into storage. And I see us teaching Anja the same thing... maybe this move can help us get out of the "stuff" rut... I don't know. A girl can hope, right?

Are there Germans who are packrats, who have this much disorganized stuff?? /sigh

Doing what Detroit says is impossible

DailyKos Commentary here, Original story here

"This is more than a mere American Chopper--style makeover. Goodwin's experiments point to a radically cleaner and cheaper future for the American car. The numbers are simple: With a $5,000 bolt-on kit he co-engineered--the poor man's version of a Goodwin conversion--he can immediately transform any diesel vehicle to burn 50% less fuel and produce 80% fewer emissions. On a full-size gas-guzzler, he figures the kit earns its money back in about a year--or, on a regular car, two--while hitting an emissions target from the outset that's more stringent than any regulation we're likely to see in our lifetime. "Johnathan's in a league of his own," says Martin Tobias, CEO of Imperium Renewables, the nation's largest producer of biodiesel. "Nobody out there is doing experiments like he is.""

Interesting read... ticks me off that a guy with an 8th-grade education can do this, and yet we can't get industry to buy into it??

If this doesn't make you go squeee!

Like an 11-year-old... well, then... Phooey on you!

Squeeee! Cuteness!


Sorry for the craptacular layout issues...

I'm doing "HTML by Guess and Check" method, and have just discovered that things I thought were frames are actually .gifs that I will have to make new ones of to change their widths. Urgh.

Pics, part 3 of 3...

So here's part 19-31 of a bajillion :) Some of these are getting closer to the kind of pics I want to be taking, but have yet to learn the proper mechanics of. One of these days I'll read the manual...

We went out to a live show at the local subversive coffee house... makes me think of the kind of thing that would have gone on in 20s Europe... Anja played with puppets...

Anja's shoes she chose for our walk there. I'm trying to walk more in prep for Germany, and because it's better for us, and the world.

Peek aboo, I see you!

For my friend Jess L. ... what I read while we waited for the music to start

Anja playing at playing chess. This is getting closer to the kinds of pics I want to be good at taking.


Playing with a little boy who was there...

One of the reasons I wanted a good camera. I still need a polarizing lens, though.

I love the color of some trees around here in the fall

Nights at our house... John explains something to me that he's reading online

Wish this'd come out better... Anja showing me how much she loves Faith, the cat, and how cute they are together

Last but not least... I see you in there...

Pics, part 2 of 3...

Part 10-18 of a bajillion :)

Our friend John B. got ahold of my camera...

Our friend Shanna (B.!) plays at being bridezilla before their wedding. Plays, because she was a total saint of a bride.

Me and Anja, all ready for the wedding. It was a perfectly beautiful, blue-skied, sunny day!

The meticulous flower girl, one petal at a time :)

Me and Anja during the wedding ceremony

Anja smelling her flowers. John caught this one - I love it.

I see you!

John took a gorgeous pic of the moon over the barns...

My little peasant girl... we spent a while talking to and about these cows...

Pics, part 1 of 3...

So, I got a camera for graduation. (Thanks, Dad!) This means that I'm taking lots more (albeit not-yet-fantastic) pictures, and getting closer to capturing what I see...

So here's part 1-9 of a bajillion :)

Making famous (ha!) cookies, which I'm now selling on etsy :)

Macro mode rocks - this is a party decoration hanging in our kitchen. Yes, still. :P

Driving around

John shows off his tattoo w/our friend Sue at a dinner party we went to in New York

John w/our friend Thom on the Staten Island ferry

The Statue of Liberty

Really beautiful flowers on Ellis Island

The intake room at Ellis Island, where immigrants used to all be processed

Anja curled up as a cat in our bed...

I'm about to become a person with poor grammar.

This really bothers me. Speaking English, my spelling and grammar are generally very good, and mistakes I make are usually made for being silly or joking around. I'm pretty good about changing the tone of my writing based on my audience, and know the right amount of 'polite' for any given situation, leaning towards a bit too formal versus too casual.

In Germany, I really only know two-ish ways to speak German. They're not nuanced, the grammar is not always correct (or maybe even often), and I can't read the tone of other people's speech very well yet, either. Humor goes right out the window for a while, especially my own ability to produce humor. I know this will get better with time.

But Anja's definitely going to come home with tones and words that I wouldn't approve of in English, but won't know better in German. And I won't be able to help her with language-learning, explaining the nuances of words (we do that a lot here). Nor will I be able to correct her spelling or grammar or help her with those things as she starts school. Wow. School just becomes all about Anja smarts and not at all about mom-and-dad smarts. Hrm. That's going to be... interesting. I almost start to see why people keep their kids in English-speaking or bilingual schools when they go overseas. That's not to say that I'd ever do Anja's work *for* her, I loathe that, but to have the amount of help I can give become so sorely limited... that's going to be really hard for me.

Home is where you hang your...

Reusable bags?

At home we hang our reusable bags on the wall in our front entryway. Here, I know what that says about us. I wonder in Germany if that's totally gauche, when everyone grows up with the concept and the re-using and doesn't need to hang them on the front entryway to remember to bring them.

Likewise with where/how it's appropriate to place your 6 garbage-and-recycling receptacles. I'd like to snoop in some German houses for a few days and see what's "normal"!

On the list of things to keep track of


Because posting it here is easier than keeping it in my brain :)


I love unconventional music on traditional instruments...

I love Apocalyptica, and today discovered this.... Wow. Guy does amazing things with a fiddle!

And on a random side note, as my brain is wont to do, here's a link to an interesting discussion of the difference between a violin and a fiddle.

Omgz, I want this apartment.

Since perusing German apartments, there've been two that I've really loved. The first is long-gone and I didn't save any pics. This is the second (and yeah, I know, this post will be out-dated as soon as this apartment is snapped up)...

Link to super-pretty apartment.

It doesn't have quite as many super-giant windows as is typical in Germany, but it's got much more of an open floor plan, which I like. If you click on "Alle 10 Builder ansehen" on the right, you can see all the pics. It's a 5 minute walk from the U-Bahn, 5 minutes from the park, it's got a garden, pets are allowed... it's just expensive. But, so it is. I emailed to see if there were any apartments in that building that'd be open in September. :) Worth a shot, right?

I know we'll find the right place, but for now, it's really fun to peruse all the pics and get a good feel for what's out there!


In a word -


Money sucks. Or rather, lack of money sucks. However, I've sold three books on Amazon for a grand total of about $14. Whee. Time to get a crapload of stuff together to take to Auction King (eBay warehouse place) nearby. And to put more books on Amazon. And... to keep cutting the things we don't *need*. The woman at the cable company got pretty damn incredulous when I told her that I wanted to cancel cable, yes, even the basic cable, yes, even though it was only $6/month. Because OMGZ, HOW CAN YOU LIVE WITHOUT TV?!@?#$!1!


Anybody out there have any brilliant and legit money-making schemes, besides picking up a p/t job?


Nevermind cleanliness

There's a whole word that means conventional, conservative, and conformist - it's called being spiessig ...

Germans and their cleanliness...

Link to awesome video here...

I've been doing a ton of cultural reading over the last week. So much to absorb, so many things that make me think back to last time I was there and realize that some things really were just cultural, and not aimed at me as a terrible person, or anything. I'm hoping this means I'll have a bit thicker skin and take less offense at things, this go-round.

If you're interested in what I've been reading:
German Culture page
The first link takes you to a lot of really interesting articles.


Helping Anja cope...

Looking good resources or thoughts on hoping kids cope, both ahead of time and at the time of the move? Anja had a nightmare last night about her friend Louise going away and never seeing her again, and told me that it's about moving to Germany and how much she will miss her and "never see her again." I explained that that's not true, they'll get to visit when we come back to the states to visit, and they have a long time yet this school year to hang out, and this summer. But I know it still really hurts for her... how do I help her cope with that?

Impossible things to teach a four-year-old....

Verbatim from trying to explain this to Anja tonight...

"Auf Deutsch" means 'in German,' in German. "Auf English means 'in English,' in German.

Ow, my brain. We tried for about 5 minutes and didn't get anywhere, because she wanted me to explain what "auf Deutsch" meant... Omgz.


Things on my mind tonight...

It's the nitty-gritty details that are on my mind. Finding an apartment, selling our house, our cars, finding Anja's school, I'm convinced that we can handle those things. It's this stuff that gets me:
1.) How to travel with three cats? One each, with Anja taking Faith (the smallest) in a soft carrier? Sedate cats for length of travel?

2.) How to ensure that apartment is livable the first night? Eat out, buy some food, don't really want to have to buy an air mattress or sleeping bags upon arrival... hit IKEA for mattresses the first day? Oy.

3.) Selling/storing/giving away all the Crap that we own. This will be a great exercise in letting go, paring down, figuring out what's important. However, it's also a bit overwhelming. Gotta stop at the ebay store tomorrow and ask about their policies, figure out about selling stuff. Take pics of things and post them on ebay/Craig's list. Freecycle as a last option.

4.) The opposite of arriving - departure, how to ensure that we have a place to sleep, ride to airport with all appropriate stuff, etc., etc.

5.) Finding a moving company and deciding what gets shipped. Feeling like Anja's stuff is important, some books, some clothes, computers, a little of my pottery, a few house-decorations that I'm attached to. Instruments?

Just so, so many details. This only touches the very surface of where my brain has been lately... whee! Pillows? They don't weight much, ship 'em? Probably not worth any money, hate to throw things away. I guess that's part of it for me, I hate to see things wasted, so if I can't sell it for money or give it to someone who will make use of it, I feel *stuck*. This is going to be an interesting year for me, in terms of that.

Also, I'm sad that we will likely lose the opportunity to own a piano, as it would have come with my mom's house. :( One more thing to accept in trade for this opportunity... My dad was asking today about if they brought the price down, what about the piano, no chance of finding another house like this at this price, etc. And I know those things, and I know what I want to do, but it's still hard, to hold on to that determination. I'm gonna miss people like crazy, I know that... hanging out with friends tonight really confirmed that. Just being able to drop by and hang out. So many challenges... remind me again, why? Ah, yes. Because we want to.

Oh man...

Need to make sure that low blood sugar is not a frequent occurrence on this adventure, as it causes fear, doubt, anxiety, second-guessing... ok, it doesn't cause them, but it exaggerates them like you would not believe. 20 minutes ago I was convinced that there was NO POSSIBLE WAY this was going to work, and was ready and willing to leap at someone giving me a good reason for an out. Now, eh, yeah, overwhelming and huge, sure, but still worth doing. :)


On an unrelated to Germany note...

Hey, maybe I'm just gonna collect some cool stuff here, too :)

First, if you haven't seen or read XKCD yet, you very much should.

Second, just came across this comic today and am up to number 56... lol. I don't enjoy the picking on natural medicine much, given my positive experiences with it, but I'm enjoying the atheist perspective... Enjoy!


Today is a scared day.

Scared we're making the wrong decision. Scared of the finances. Scared of the amount of work to sell/store/move all our Crap. Scared of being unhappy. Meh. Scared of so much that is unknown. Scared of giving up what's comfortable. Wishing someone else could do the organizing parts for me. Oy.

Spent part of this weekend in NYC

We went to a dinner party, visiting friends, last night. That part was fun. Neither of us had been to Staten Island, and although it was a long trip to get there (drive to New Haven, train to NYC, subway down to the ferry, ferry to Staten Island), it was fun, and the weather was Fantastic. We went to Ellis Island today via ferry, on an invite from the friend we were visiting with. John's Leatherman pocket knife/tool was confiscated, after they put us through airport-style screening. Bastion of liberty and freedom, my ass. That kind of stuff makes me so frustrated and angry, to have my stuff pawed through with so little regard, and to have stupid rules enforced for no discernible reason. I mean, ok, ban knives >4" and ban guns for safety reasons, I can see that, but pocket knives? Screwdrivers? What, are we planning to disassemble the statue of liberty with them? /sigh Makes me all the more ready to get out of here.


The Auer Dult

I cannot wait to go to this, and to take Anja to it. Hopefully on separate days :)

The Auer Dult


Wait, I'm going to start a blog? Really?

Yeah, really. I know like 5 whole people will read it, and that's ok. At least I'll have a place to blather on about all the crap that will ensue with moving to Munich, without subjecting anyone to it anywhere else :) And at the moment, that's all I'm looking for.