I keep thinking of great, funny things to post. Then, life happens and I haven’t posted that great post before something else interesting happens, and then I get a bit muddled trying to keep track of my ideas. Then, I just forget about it and move on. I think a great blog post is becoming my white whale.
Anyway, so here is a not so great blog post about a bunch of stuff that could have potentially made interesting posts all on their own if I could ever make the space in my life to blog properly.
1) I made a bit of a leap recently regarding my cultural orientation here in Germany. Being a foreigner gives one the feeling of constantly being slightly confused.
My new revelation came while I was starting to compose a post about how the Germans were all trying to shop while I was shopping last week. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I hate shopping, generally. I do it because that is part of my job as a grown up, but I generally try to do it with good company (Hi, Sarah) and at times when many other people do not like to shop.
Last week, there were people all over my shopping! I couldn’t get my parking spaces and there were lines everywhere. I thought, really, is it ALREADY Christmas shopping season here? Then, my friend Micha pointed out that last week was the fall school break!
So, what I learned was a new thing about how Germans spend their time during the fall break. I already knew that spring break was mostly for the last ski runs, summer break is to go to Spain or Italy (mostly, as far as I can tell). Now, I’ve learned that fall break is for shopping! I was wondering why the stores were going nuts with the Christmas stuff, but apparently, that is when people get started on the Christmas plan. I mean, what else are you going to do stuck with your kids at home for a week? Well, honestly, I can think of about a thousand things I would rather do than drag them to a crowded shopping center, but that is just me, apparently.
2) I have awesome friends! My friend Jentry, who is super enthusiastic and awesome, was thoughtful enough to send out a message like last April seeing if anyone was interested in a spa weekend. After trying to coordinate ten women, the soonest date we could do it was in November!
She booked the rooms, and last weekend, me and nine of my closest friends headed to a spa for a fancy slumber party (OK, technically, I never met one of them before, but she fit right in)! It was just over night, but it was a blast. It was a spa in the Czech Republic, which is less than 2 hours from us. We were the youngest (and loudest) guests several years and a few decibels. Seriously, you could hear us cackling from anywhere in the place. It was awesome.
Plus, there was drinking and giggling without ANY children for over 24 hours! Sarah was my roommate, and it was a great match because we both prioritized sleeping in over breakfast. Oh, sleepy mornings. How I miss you.
There was almost no picture taking on my part because that would have required work and focus. Both of which were forbidden on this trip in my mind.
We all gathered in the spa’s library just before leaving, and I found my friend monet enjoying the interesting selection:
Is this the kind of thing they have in all Czech spas?
3) Hacking more furniture
Since we have just over a week before our big trip (!!!), I suddenly had an urge to procrastinate from preparing. So, what do we need more than anything? Why a standing desk, of course!
After checking out what IKEA and amazon had to offer in this area and being shocked by the 600 Euro sticker price, I decided that I could hack up something for about 25 Euros. Plus, the ones I saw that electronically raised and lowered looked like great finger pinchers, and we are trying to avoid chopping of our kids fingers, generally. They all also looked like they were a bit unstable for having a three year old climb up them, which is bound to happen.
So, I built a couple of stilts for the desk today. I still need to clean up the space around it, but that can wait until we get back.
I am standing at it as I post this, and I LOVE it! I am kind of surprised at how awesome it feels. Admittedly, part of my motivation behind it is that I simply cannot sit at a computer when both kids are here. It is like they have a sensor that goes off if I try to sit down. They are in my lap before I can blink or pulling me out of the seat. If I am standing, they seem to suddenly be able to entertain themselves for longer periods of time.
Yoga Thought of the Day: What is Important
It’s coming upon 14 years since I started practicing Yoga. This is the only thing I have stuck with this long so far, and I cannot imagine my life moving forward without it. I can list a lot of details of the positive benefits I have from returning to my Yoga practice regularly, but they are all kind of side effects of what I think is the bigger result of this kind of inner work.
Yoga has given me a way to ask myself, everyday, “What is important?” The profound impact of this question is becoming more apparent with time. Thinking about this everyday can have a detrimental effect on the unimportant things, but it also having a powerful effect on the important things.
Although Yoga helps one ask the question, it doesn’t provide the answer. All of the answers are already there just waiting to be seen, if you ask me.
As for my personal journey, I am finding that as I grow, my life is generally moving in a direction that supports what is important to me. What is important changes with time and experience, but I am developing a deeper respect for the choices I make and faith in the direction that these choices are taking me. As a result, I feel much more comfortable in my own skin no matter where I am.
When was the last time you asked yourself, “What is important? How are my actions today supporting this? How are they working against what is important to me?”
I have been having a problem with my computer for months now. The fan in my Sony laptop has been so loud it has been driving me crazy! I had taken it to a repair guy in town a few months ago, and he basically said he wouldn’t replace the fan for me. I thought it was strange of a repair guy to refuse to repair a computer, but tonight, I learned why. It just wasn’t worth his time. Wise man. I, however, am not a wise man.
After finding a couple of nice pictorial descriptions of taking apart a Sony Vaio, I got the courage to do it myself. The part arrived this afternoon, and I spent about three hours tonight doing what felt like open heart surgery. Luckily, one of the Star Trek movies was on TV tonight, so I had something stupid to distract me when I needed a break.
So, what I learned was that in order to get into the fan, you have to remove EVERYTHING from the laptop. It is on the back side of the motherboard! If the back panel of the stupid laptop were removable, you could simply pop it out, but NO, not with a Sony. So, I had to dig down to the fan from the top. I had to remove the hard drive, the optical drive, and the LCD on my way down, and I have to say that I didn’t quite get that last bit back straight. I may have to adjust it again, but I am tired now. Aside from that, I seemed to have put all of the pieces back together properly. It was fun. It’s kind of like putting together a big puzzle, and since I don’t own a crappy old car that I can experiment on, this was a nice project. You can imagine how happy I was when the laptop turned on after I put it back together.
The sound of silence obtained by the endeavor is priceless! A silent computer once again!
My assistant Matthias took a few photos to document:
Sometimes I hear things that really stick in my brain. A few days ago, I heard an interview with a man who lost his 23 year old daughter in the Oklahoma City bombing 15 years ago. Before that, he was always against the death penalty. After a year of recovering from his daughter’s murder, he once again came to find that he did not support the death penalty even for the murderer of his daughter. In his words, Timothy McVey’s death ‘would not contribute to his healing process.’
That was interesting, but what really made me take pause was what he said about Mr. McVey’s father. The man being interviewed had met McVey’s father, and he believed that the tragedy of the bombing was even harder for McVey’s father than it was for him. He said that he speaks publicly about his daughter and losing her, and in doing so, he keeps a part of her alive. He had compassion for the suffering of McVey’s father who also lost a child but was not able to publicly share the positive memories and stories of his son.
I had never really thought about the sadness of McVey’s parents until that interview. It is amazing to see the depth of compassion that some people develop through the processes of recovering from profound pain.
Just a random thought about a very painful day for many 15 years ago.
Does anyone know about connecting with locals in Regensburg who know a bit about Cocoa programming? Looking for resources and tips on learning the language.
I went to a play ground with my friend Blanca today and her daughter Sarah who is a bit older than Clair. Blanca was one of the the three non-Germans in my birthing class. Interestingly, all three of us gave birth to breech babies; none of the Germans did. I don’t know what was up with that.
Anyway, as she and I were chatting and keeping one eye on the toddlers, Clair started climbing up the ladder to the slide. Since when can Clair climb a ladder? Blanca was impressed, but I tried to assure her that Clair doesn’t know how to climb a ladder (as she is climbing the ladder). Having a toddler is like that. You think you know who they are, and the next second, they are correcting you. She is growing faster than I can keep up. A nice looking slide, apparently, is enough to send her up a ladder without fear.
As I was walking in town today, I kept thinking that there is something I wanted to ask people on the blog again, but I can’t, for the life of me, remember what it was.
I came up with a backup question though. Does anyone have any experience on helping to soften scar tissue? The big scar on my scalp is doing a heck of a job of impeding the growth of new hairs. So much so that when I do standing forward folds in my Yoga practice, that blood flow to my head makes the irritated skin itch like crazy. I need to soften things up to let the hair break through (perhaps a bit TMI). Strangely, the new hair that make it through the scar tend to be wavy. Since when is my hair wavy??
Anyway, Happy Passover, or whatever it is that people say for Passover. I had a bit of Santa Christina wine in celebration tonight, and I spoke with Leah, who has become part of my fondest memory of the holiday. I had that wine on my first celebration of Passover in Rome (on Easter day) in 1999 hosted by my roommate Leah, and I always think of it when I drink that wine. It was a memorable night. We didn’t have Matzah balls so we hid some Kosher bread sticks that we got at the local grocer. There was a lot of wine drinking involved, and I am pretty certain it was the first time I ever said
a prayer anything in Hebrew. We ended the evening with my two slightly drunk roommates cutting of my very long hair (upon my request). I’m sure the Easter celebration happening at the Vatican withing a half mile of our apartment that day was also awesome that day, but alas, we were too hung over to get up and walk there in the morning to join the throngs of pilgrims. Oh to be twentythree and living in Rome again!
Hi out there. I know that in my mind, I think only friend/family read this blog, but every once in a while I meet someone who I don’t know very well, and they say, “Hey, I read your blog.” It is still strange that our lives sound interesting enough for strangers to read. Once in a while, a complete stranger comments on the blog too, so there must be more than 10 people reading this.
Anyway, I am looking for some information, and I’d figure I’d tap the pool of potential strangers who read this to see what kind of wisdom is out there. I have been helping a nice man named Remo who published the book in the image there (feel free to click to buy). His German Yoga book is quite popular at the moment, and he is looking to bring it to the US market.
He contacted me more for my English and Yoga knowledge (for translation help) than for my knowledge of publishing, but I have been hitting up every potential publishing/Yoga contact I know about breaking into the US market. Long story short, I am over my head and can’t really help him. Does anyone out there know anything that would be helpful about finding a literary agent or publisher looking to take on an English version of the book?
In case you were wondering, a little video here and an interview with the author of “The Story of Stuff” on Stephen Colbert inspired the name change on the blog.
One of the things about living overseas is that some of the American ‘Holidays’ kind of slip by without realizing it. So, really, is it Superbowl Sunday? If it is, who is playing? Does anyone know if you can watch it online anywhere (for the commercials, of course)?