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Gettin' All-Primal in the Applachians

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  • #61
    Bess -

    I was thinking the movie shoot was some kind of big-budget Hollywood thing until I remembered that Europe also has its fine movie industries. I wouldn't mind one bit being an extra in The Avengers, for example! They could cover me in fake blood or alien snot or whatever they liked as long as I could participate! But generators running all day - blargh! We have a big generator here at the house, along with a huge propane cow, that can power this house for 2 weeks in case of a power outage (happens all the time here), but it is a noisy Ding, so the movie shoot happening under your window probably isn't as sexy as I was daydreaming. I remember hearing about Tatort, but I chose not to pay for television while I was there, and didn't see much except Die Sendung mit der Maus (my cousins were very young at that time...), commercials, and a little bit of news. Fourth and I like catching Kikaninchen on YouTube.

    So - if you aren't from Koeln, and you "think" Fasching is a southern Germany term... you are either from northern Germany or the "new" Bundeslaender in the east. (Unless you are from die Schweiz oder Oesterreich oder Liechtenstein, but somehow I doubt that.)

    I really don't know what I would do with the Germanistik degree, except have a blast getting it. I figure something will take shape as I go along and study. I would do a lot of the studying myself, but when it comes to Goethe and Schiller and the philosophers and such, I think I want some help... and it would be the perfect excuse to get over there for some in-country research, you know!

    What did your daughter study? One of my cousins went to Universitaet Marburg and got her degree in Art History and Ancient Languages (Sanskrit). She is a huuuuge Indien fan and has her own yoga studio now. She also dabbles in Ayurveda, Kalarippayattu, and Indian cuisine. But it isn't paneer paratha I want from her... it is huge amounts of MATJES!!!!!!

    And don't worry about the Germany talk - this is my journal, and I am hugely enjoying this. You should go and read some of those 28,794-page journals on here - they are at least ASDF by half, and everybody has a good time, usually.

    I would hope Koeln does Karneval better than Mainz - I made fun of the Narren and assorted other folks every year... it really was a lot like Having Fun Is Serious Business That Must Be Planned and Executed Flawlessly, Or Else! (ie PLANNED Spontaneity). In my opinion, local beer gardens are much more fun, especially on Oompah Night - really. I have such nice memories of the Apfelwein pubs in Sachsenhausen. And Kirmes at my Oma's village. Little, local stuff, you know. OH! And the Kloster Kreuzberg!! One of my best friends came for a visit and she, my uncle, and a friend drank themselves to the bottom of sechs Mass Bier, whereupon we bought all 6 gray clay Kruege - and she uses them to this day.

    So, Bess, enough of tripping down memory lane for today - time to get some shuteye. Thanks for the continued conversation!
    I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC


    • #62
      Hi crabbcakes,

      sorry the movie thing turned out less glamorous than you thought ... And sorry to disappoint you on my home region too. I am from Duisburg in the Ruhrgebiet, just 60 kms north of here. I guess in American terms that would count under "moving from one neighborhood to another".

      Wow to your cousin's degree in Sanskrit! Yes, you can study all sorts of exotic stuff here; the problem is getting a job based on them. At least she found a "niche" with her yoga studio. My ex-husband did islamic studies and Indonesian philology and was never able to get a steady job until recently. With my degree in Spanish, French and English at least I can always do some teaching and translating. So, with this in mind, my daughter went for something practical, speech therapy. She hasn't got her degree yet, due to strange study regulations in the Netherlands, she has already finished her bachelor thesis, but still has to do an internship next year before officially getting her bachelor's degree.

      I agree that studying after the children grow up sounds like fun. Myself, I am not so much into classical literature like Schiller and Goethe, although there is no escape from them at school. In my own studies, I was always on the quest for the "fringe" topics like African literature in English or French, South African literature in English or modern South American literature instead of Cervantes.

      Well, the Karneval in Cologne ... I think it's split in two. There is the stiff and formal part like the Mainzer Karneval, but there is also the spontaneous Karneval in the streets which I like more. I also like to disguise myself for Karneval - I've been an alien, a Volcanian (complete with pointy "Spock" ears), a vampire, an elf etc. And I'll tell you one more very German story: Many decades ago people had no money to buy fancy disguises, so at Karneval, they just went out in their pyjamas. I have even done that too. (Mind you: my parents had just given me a very elegant silk pyjama for my birthday, so this was in no way a sloppy attire.)

      Re: your remark about the journals: What does "ASDF" mean?

      I really like this sort of conversation via internet. This would not have been possible decades ago. I am, as they say, as old as dirt, and I've been a huge science fiction fan since my childhood. And for years I have been enjoying to see how things that were science fiction in my youth (like cell phones, microwaves, personal computers) came to be reality. This exchange reminds me of my teens when we were encouraged to get pen pals from all over the world. The school even distributed addresses. So I had one pen pal in Colorado, one in Finland, one in Hong Kong and one in Israel. But the air mail often took weeks!

      So much for today. Here, it's ten in the morning; I have been up for two hours and already had - to give a primal twist to my meanderings - a nice breakfeast of black tea with coconut milk, homemade chicken bone broth with an egg yolk stirred in and a small chunk of raw milk cheese. Off to grab a shower now and get some translating done!

      Have a nice day, looking forward to reading again from you!

      P.S.: Look, I grew an avatar! I like to take photos of flowers; this was last week in my brother's garden.
      Last edited by Bess58; 08-18-2012, 07:07 AM.


      • #63
        Hello Journal -

        this is a subdued Saturday evening. We have had a rollercoaster past three days. Thursday one of my "boys", ie one of my cats (they are all male) ended up in some kind of respiratory distress - so we took him to the vet immediately. The vet kept him for a few hours, took some blood and did her thing, and didn't really have an answer but gave him a steroid as the symptoms we described evidently pointed to an asthma attack. We brought him home and proceeded to have him remain strange-behaviored (not violent, just absolutely not himself) and suffer a few more "attacks" during the night. So, Friday morning we brought him back to the vet at opening.

        The vet kept him for observation and this time caught a few of the attacks herself, so she did the Sherlock Holmes thing as she now had more to go on than just our description of something we ourselves had seen for the first time the day before. Here is where the timeline gets a little busy.

        Last night we had a long-planned dinner here at home with an Amish family we befriended. As Cat's (not his real name) asthma diagnosis was not horrible, we kept on trucking and cooking, thinking that even though he was back at the vet, all he probably needed was a different med. Two hours before our guest's arrival, we got a call from the vet...

        After x-ray, her professional diagnosis is either widespread cancer, or advanced fungal pneumonia, and both are a death sentence. I don't know how the girls got through the evening. All I can say is that perhaps the combination of having had three of our boys already die, some maturity from the daughters, a lot of spirituality from me, and some holy glow from visitors who radiate deep belief combined to make the evening pass well. That, and Cat was back home, since the vet could do no more except suggest that we think about whether we want to take Cat to Akron to a specialist animal hospital for more advanced imagery to confirm her diagnosis.

        Well, Cat is refusing food and not moving (he is capable and able, just not inclined) from his hideaway between the toilet and the wall in my master bath (we use the master suite as cat convalescence clinic whenever there is need - keep the door open between bedroom and bath and close the bedroom-hallway door so the other healthy cats in house cannot bother a sick one). And this Cat is the feline version of a food vacuum - he will suck anything in. And he is getting very vocal. Normally you see him but don't hear him until he gets hungry.

        Early this morning we all jumped out of bed and hit the ground runninng - today was Third's annual horse riding competition at her handicapped riding facility. This a huge, huge deal. The 100-plus special-needs kids signed up for the show train for it for a few months, the facility gets professional judging personnel, there are free t-shirts for the riders and volunteers and farm staff donated by the Ronald McDonald House Charities, and an awards ceremony immediately afterwards. Bouncy houses, puppies, crafts tent, and food vendor to boot. A few mothers and I had planned a breakfast potluck as our four rider kids had 9:00-ish a.m. start times (and we live an hour away). So when I wanted to camp out in the bathroom next to my boy, I had to go and spend all day at the horse show, which I normally really enjoy. We managed not to talk about Cat all day - Third is so psyched about "horse show day" we couldn't possibly distract her that way when she needs all her faculties to get through the courses - three of them.

        Which, by the way, she did wonderfully. For the first time ever, the leader-person (a volunteer who always walks alongside the horse-and-rider with a lead clipped on, even while the kids ride and perform the courses) unclipped the lead and let Third just simply do her own thing. I almost cried. She was so frickin' careful and did nearly everything, including not getting lost in the courses (which are memorized, not marked). There were a few flubs - her long-time mount (a pony) wouldn't trot to save their joint asses, and she didn't get a ring onto the post during one of the activities, but hey... she knows more about horse riding than any of her family members, so I'm not going to be petty. And she just glowed during every damned minute.

        This year she was rewarded with a 2nd place, 3rd place, and 4th place in her particular group/courses combos. Which is a huge step up - normally Third is what I joke as a "Last Place Specialist", even in a group of special-needs kids. But Third just doesn't care about place rankings - all she says, for each ribbon and every year, is "I won!". You know that phrase about "from the mouths of babes"? Well, sometimes it comes from the mouths of those who aren't usually credited with many brains...

        So that brings me to now. Fourth is upstairs doing the death watch right now (Cat is sleeping at the moment). We will skip church tomorrow to watch 20 hours of tv in the master bedroom, with all the family attending, just so we can grab any last hours with Cat before Mr. Crabbcakes and I probably make the decision to put him to sleep. Which makes me tear up as I write this. I can't see Cat suffer any longer than this, and if you saw him now and knew him from before, you would see the godawful steep decline that the last 48 hours has wrought. And, yes, we trust our vet - which is why I even have my boys in there. I am absolutely not afraid to bail on bad doctors, or even good ones I cannot seem to build a good rapport with.

        I do have some Primal successes... because I didn't think clearly, I didn't get any Primal food ready for this morning's quick exit. So I just IF'd it. I would have been starving and sucking in the vendor fries and hot dogs and soda at this point last year, but this year I was just cool and collected as I burned some fat waiting for a Primal meal at home - some 10 hours later. And no energy crashes. (We packed in the remaining desserts from the Amish dinner for morning coffee and cake for the others who eat such stuff for breakfast. Second had her gluten-free/dairy-free desserts and chamomile tea. Third got hamburger with extra veggie and no bun at the vendor. Hubby succumbed to a big bucket of fries, but nothing else, so hey - I'll take that victory - normally he is well-nigh uncontrollable when he gets hungry, so the Primal is working for him too. )

        And thus ends probably my longest journal entry to date. The YAYOG hasn't yet materialized. At this moment I couldn't give a rat's ass. But I did do slow movement all day at the horse farm whilst IFing, so there.

        And now I have to go. Fourth just called downstairs to say Cat is awake and vocalizing loudly....
        I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC


        • #64
          Hi Bess!

          Speech therapy is very, very cool. It was a goddess of that variety that took Third from a completely nonverbal 7 year old to beginning speech before she retired and her partner took Third on as a patient and is continuing the journey with success. But if your daughter is studying in Holland, then will she be doing therapy in German or Dutch?? I mean, the Dutch are cousins in the Germanic family, but there is no way I am getting some of those Dutch sounds to come out of my mouth!

          ASDF means that the train of thought has been pretty much irretrievably lost and folks are now just shooting the breeze.

          The Sanskrit cousin really wanted to break into the German art museum scene, but those jobs seem to be taken for life, kind of like the U.S. Supreme Court Justices, so I understand.

          Re Duisberg - nah, no disappointment. But yeah, you moved two neighborhoods over.

          The flower avatar is pretty. Second and I are growing black hollyhocks in the front garden - they are cooooool. We also have black petunias in the hanging planter and last year we had black violas as well. Second loves the color black.

          You can't possibly be as old as the hills - your daughter is 23 and even if you had her at 40, that wouldn't be old in my book!

          Pajama Day happens here mostly in conjunction with school kids where the school will announce a PJ day and even the teachers will show up in jammies for the day. But as you should be familiar with Halloween, that is the big pj opportunity for adults.

          The last African lit I read was from Doris Lessing, but I read that before I was ready to understand it, and I hated the stories and the author. At some point I may have to revisit this author to see if the older me is better able to process it. But between the classics and the moderns, I will have enough reading for two lifetimes. Now THERE is a nice thought!

          Yup - the Internet sure beats the old days of tissue-thin "airmail" paper and envelopes, and the long wait times. But perhaps learning to wait was an unintended virtue that developed from that reality. I see how many kids get sofort pissed because the computer doesn't work, like, IMMEDIATELY!

          For a blast from the past, I watched a Heino clip on YouTube... blau, blau, blau blueht der Enzian... Hope you didn't hate Heino back then, because that tune tends to get stuck in the head in a feedback loop.
          I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC


          • #65
            I'm so sorry about Cat, Crabbcakes! My cats and I will hold a silent candlelight vigil tonight in honor of your little man, assuming I can get them to shut up for 5 minutes.

            And congratulations to Third! She definitely sounds like a winner to me.

            _-J o u r n a l_--------- ---- ---- --- --- -- -- -


            • #66
              Hi crabbcakes,

              emotional rollercoaster indeed! I'm so sorry about your cat, and I hope he has found peace by now one way or the other ... I mean, maybe there is a way to ease his pains, so he can live out his life peacefully. But then I don't know a lot about pets.

              And on the other hand there are your great successes of the last days! As a mother, the story of your "Third" moves me deeply. How beautiful when all the work and perserverance, the anxiety and love that you put in pay off in such a great way!

              And the other big success is how you dealt with your eating / not eating. Isn't it wonderful that once we get off the blood sugar ups and downs, we can just go and "IF it" when there is nothing good and nourishing for us to eat? I have been known to sit at coffee tables sagging under cakes and just quietly eat some nuts that I brought or simply drinking my cup of black coffee. (Once the family got used to it - but that is their problem and not mine. My sister in law one day confessed to me that she felt bad as a host because she had nothing that I could eat. When that was out of the way things got better.) So on this day you cared well for your daughter, for the rest of the family, for your cat - and for yourself. Victory indeed!

              No, I am not AS old. I had my daughter at nearly 31, so now you can do the math. By the way, you are absolutely right about the speech therapy. Her university is an international one and offers courses in German, English and Dutch. And she studies speech therapy in German; forgot to mention that.

              Black hollyhocks sound beautiful - although I had to look up the flowers first in a dictionary.

              RE: South African literature. Maybe look into Nadine Gordimer. Doris Lessing is a bit to esoteric for my tastes.

              Heino? Yikes! No, honestly, that is not my kind of music. In fact, I grew up listening to Heino, because my father was a fan, but I hate that sort of "Volksmusik". You know the word for "feedback loop" in German? It's an "Ohrwurm" (ear worm). And no, I didn't get any.

              Yesterday evening I went out to the historical center of Cologne. Very nice with the old houses, small alleys, churches and a beautiful view of the Rhine - and lots of pubs and "Biergärten". Full of tourists too, but locals go there also. I met with my two best friends, a married couple and parents of some of my daughter's friends. So there was cool beer (the local "Kölsch"-Bier), snacks and a lot of chatting about our families. Music came from party ships passing by, and shortly before midnight there were - unannounced and unaccounted for - fireworks on the opposite bank of the Rhine. A nice evening, only much too hot. We have a heat wave here, today we are supposed to get 36 degrees (97 degress fahrenheit - looked up a converter on the internet).

              Sending you good thoughts for your family and your poor cat!


              • #67
                Originally posted by Gravyboat View Post
                I'm so sorry about Cat, Crabbcakes! My cats and I will hold a silent candlelight vigil tonight in honor of your little man, assuming I can get them to shut up for 5 minutes.

                And congratulations to Third! She definitely sounds like a winner to me.
                Thanks, Gravyboat!! I know you understand the cat thing. We started with 7 boys from New Jersey, added 1 more just after our arrival in OH. Then two years ago lost 3 to old age in the space of six months - that was our first experience of losing family pets, and it just sucked. Then 1 cat walked onto our property and into all of our hearts. Just because I am feeling all emotional, here is the full list, from oldest to youngest:

                Tabasco - died two years ago
                Rudi (Evinrude) - seriously geriatric, but still alive and well (for an old man) at almost-19!!
                Jasper - died two years ago
                Angus - died two years ago
                Oliver - current sick cat
                Merlin - good
                Tolly (Bartholomew) - good
                George - good
                Henry - good (the walked-in cat)

                Holy Moly - if I told you the times I have been humbled by Third, in any way whichever, I would lose count. Maybe sometime I will wander into a Catholic church and have somebody mistake me for a holy person, I probably will be that "polished" by life by the time my four girls are grown and independent.

                DJ Hubby now plays... Wolf Creek Pass / C.W. McCall... Galaxy / Monty Python, Eric Idle...
                Last edited by Crabbcakes; 08-19-2012, 06:56 AM.
                I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC


                • #68
                  Originally posted by Crabbcakes View Post
                  Galaxy / Monty Python, Eric Idle...
                  Ooh, I like that song.

                  _-J o u r n a l_--------- ---- ---- --- --- -- -- -


                  • #69
                    Hallo Bess!

                    My mom used to play Ernst Mosch as vacuuming music while I was growing up. She seriously likes her oompah music and waltzes (and the Radetzky March), and honestly, it grew on me too, especially after I started playing a brass instrument (French horn). She used to have the serious hots for Heino, so that is how I got to know him a bit - she was trying to impart some of her German culture/experience to my brother and I while we were half a world away (culturally and otherwise) growing up for a while in Texas. I actually do like Volksmusic, but like everything else, there is good, better, best, and just awful. My Oma plays Volksmusic a lot.

                    36 Grad ist viel zu heiss!! Germany NEVER gets that hot! That is something we do well here in the States! Wow! Ich wuerde mich auch im Biergarten verstecken!

                    I'm glad you mentioned the Sonntags-Kuchen thing. I haven't decided really what I am going to do with that when I get over there in November. I don't want to go sugar-burner again, but then again, I still feel that there is a lot riding on my culturally-acceptable behavior. You see, my mom is the only one who married a foreigner, and he turned out to be ardently disliked by everyone over there. When I left home at 18 to move to Germany, all my mom said to me was "Don't do anything to embarass your Oma" because I was going to live with her in the teeniest of villages, and I don't need to tell you anything about old-fashioned village life. My mom didn't need another American disappointment on her track record (and by extension, Oma's) as my dad was a flop, my (American) brother chose to never learn the language, and all the other husbands of Mom's sisters were losers of various stripes as well. (Now that I think of it, not Uwe. He is solid, even if he is stingy with money.) I seem to have made a good impression, so maybe that gives me more personal leeway to be my own person this time around.

                    I'm hoping nobody makes a cake, but I don't think my luck will extend that far... my Oma's "Schmandekuchen" is well known, and it used to be a personal favorite, and they all know it (that, and my sweet tooth)...

                    I do have a confession to make about my German - I still make mistakes a lot. I learned as I went, and some stuff just didn't stick. I did go to language schools (Inlingua und Berlitz) but I was working tons of hours on two different shifts, and the regular school attendance didn't happen that often because sometimes I just had to work, you know? And I was working for an American company, so the everyday between-coworkers language there was a Norddeutsche-Sueddeutsche-Frankfurterish/US English/British English (England, Scotland, Ireland...) mash-up, Hochdeutsch on the phone to clients (which I didn't need to do as my responsibilities were elsewhere), and the Englishes when dealing with the support personnel in either New York City/Dallas or London (which was my responsibility). THEN my Oma speaks a lot of her local Platt... so I just did my best. I can easily understand nearly everything spoken or read - it is just those damned endings on adjectives/adverbs and the like that I cannot accurately choose when I speak or write. I used to have bad dreams about meine/meiner/meinem/meinen/meines.... that, and not understanding Oma when she said stuff like "es rennt" instead of "es regnet".

                    It is one of the bugaboos I intend to conquer by doing Germanistik at a school. My pronunciation is very good, so no problems there. There is one two-word set I just cannot seem get my Mund to conquer though... Kirche und Kirsche. That is the family running joke between my cousins and I. When it makes me mad, I just ask them to say "SQUIRREL" and that gets them every time... it keeps them humble when teaching an American good German pronunciation.

                    My cousins used to love learning the various ways Americans shorten everything, for ex. when a refrigerator becomes a fridge, and a microwave oven is a "nuke", and "what do you" is pronounced as "whatcha", and "how are you" as "howya" sometimes. And then there are the various American slangs...

                    So, Bess, I'm going to eat some of the beef-pork sausage burgers Second is whipping up in the kitchen. She just gave me a taste, and they are gooooood. Bis dann!
                    Last edited by Crabbcakes; 08-19-2012, 02:42 PM.
                    I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC


                    • #70
                      Hi, crabbcakes!

                      Believe it or not, yesterday it even got hotter than predicted, here we only just failed the 40 degrees mark. Even hotter than in Greece, where they only have 30 degrees. So, yesterday I didn't leave the house at all. But I had a friend over whose apartment burnt down last week and tried to cheer her up a bit. Of course she is glad that neither she nor her roommate got hurt, but she lost nearly everything she had (which wasn't much to begin with), and her computer melted to a lump of plastic. They have insurance, but usually there is a big hassle until they pay, and it will take some time until the house is repaired.

                      I have no idea what I would do about the "Sonntagskuchen"-problem if I were you. In my case it was easier as I am the "odd one out" in the family anyway. But Omas und Tanten in a small village, this is tough ... Maybe you can try to get away with a tiny piece of cake and keep primal the rest of the day - if you think you call pull that off without falling off the proverbial wagon. You could mention "doctor's orders to go easy on flour and sugar". Especially older people still look up to autorities a lot.

                      Your German must be very good. I haven't noticed any mistakes so far when you wrote something in German. Dialects or regional differences are always a problem, I think that's the same in the English language. You see, I watch American movies a lot and have no problem understanding them, but each time I go to England, I don't understand a word of what those Brits say. (Apologies to any British people reading this thread.) Cologne has a very distinct dialect too. Where your Oma says "es rennt", the Kölsche would say "et rääänt" (I think).

                      It is very hot again today. I think I will prolong my shopping at Aldi's (you have Aldi's too in the US, don't you?) as it is the only building in the neighbourhood with air condition.

                      I'll write more as soon as it cools down again (weather forecast says by tuesday or wednesday).

                      Have a nice time!



                      • #71
                        Hi Crabbcakes,
                        just been reading your Journal and sorry to hear about your poor cat. I have really enjoyed reading through you whole journal.
                        Your life sounds full on and you write in a lovely style. I was delighted to read about Third winning awards at the horse show day.
                        Thinking of you, hope all goes as well as it can.


                        • #72
                          Originally posted by Bess58 View Post
                          You see, I watch American movies a lot and have no problem understanding them, but each time I go to England, I don't understand a word of what those Brits say.
                          I barely do either, honestly, and I'm a native english speaker. When I watch British movies, I need the captions on. Once I went to Barbados (also an english-speaking country, but HEAVILY accented -- it's a very distinct dialect) and I couldn't understand 90% of what anyone said. It was really embarrassing.

                          _-J o u r n a l_--------- ---- ---- --- --- -- -- -


                          • #73
                            Hi Bess!

                            I wish I could cool down your part of the country for you - 40 Grad is just nuts. Are there lots of news reports about elderly folks collapsing in that heat? This is serious stuff in a country with almost no AC and not much experience with that kind of heat. Have you ever noticed that Germans keep comparing the Eurpoean weather to Greece?? I mean, I have never heard anybody say "This is hotter than Spain!" - is ist immer Griechenland (not important - just interesting). Re heading for air-conditioned stores - we do the same thing over here in heat waves, except everybody heads for an indoor mall if they have one nearby to head to, or goes out and buys a room air-conditioner. If you haven't noticed, they are the gray metal boxes hanging out of lots of people's windows (probably to be seen in movies for you). And yup - Aldi is here too. That is where I get some marzipan and chocolate Marienkaefer every Easter.

                            " it is the only building in the neighbourhood with air condition."
                            I do have a correction for you today - the above phrase should read "air conditioning" with the -ing ending, not "air condition". If you want to be very American about it, just call it AC, using capital letters. The "AC" term derives from the abbreviation "HVAC", which means "Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning", which is a huge field of industry.

                            Geez, I am sorry for your friend who lost her stuff in the fire. That happens with alarming frequency where I am, just with farm houses. Most of the houses in this country are built with wood framing, and especially here in this Ecke the houses are also decently old and have electrical wiring that hasn't been updated. All it takes is one spark or short and you literally have just enough time to run out the nearest door before the thing goes up in a ball of flame. Add to that the rural nature of my county - there are no fire hydrants anywhere, nor water pipelines (unless you are in the only real town, but most folks here aren't) because we live too far apart, so if your house catches fire you can pretty much count on it burning to the ground. We do have volunteer fire departments all over, and if you have a swimming pool or farm pond they can pump the water out of that, but the firefighters must first get to the firehouse to hop into their gear and start the trucks and then get to YOU...

                            Every year there are a few houses around here that burn. My neighbor over the hill had his burn down about 4 years ago. He is a middle-aged, divorced farmer, and had his grown kids with him for a Christmas visit when the house caught fire. He used to be the assistant fire chief for this township, but he wasn't home at the time the fire started, so he couldn't help. He really doesn't care about material things, so the only stuff he really missed were the handmade quilts that his grandmother had made - those obviously cannot be replaced. His dog, Reuben, even got out safely (which I am glad for - Reuben is such a great mutt). We all donated piles of clothing and housewares, the insurance company built him a new house the exact size of the old one on the exact same plot, and he is today wieder happy tending to his beef cattle.

                            I used to live in a Wohnheim in Frankfurt, and one day one of the ground floor apartments caught fire and sent smoke billowing through every floor of our 12-story building. I admit - I was scared shitless.... I lived up on the 8th floor! A neighbor came pounding on my door, hysterically screaming "Feuer!!". She and I stayed together in my place, squeezed wet towels under the doors to stop the smoke, and called the fire department. We couldn't decide whether to make a run for it down the stairs or not, but decided not to due to the smoke. I think every resident of that building called the fire department because they were kind of like "yeah, yeah, we already know, the trucks should be there any second". But they were there a few seconds later and took care of things quickly. When I did venture downstairs to gawk, the firefighters were using what looked like huge snowshovels to toss this woman's belongings out the smashed window and onto the ground below, where others hosed down the burning bits. My uncle swung by to make sure I didn't need a room to crash in (I didn't) and that was that.

                            I also almost caused a fire in our house in New Jersey. I woke in the middle of the night to the sound of our fire detectors blaring. I stood straight up out of bed, and right into a layer of caustic smoke. I bent over at the waist, and I went to literally haul my kids (I only had three then - First, Second, and Third was only 8 weeks old) straight up out of their beds, no wake up, just grabbing a fistful of pajama material and yanking upwards... I stuffed all of them into our van and... went back to get the cats. I know that was a dumb move, but I will still risk my health to save them, especially Rudi... Long story short, I had left a stock pot on the lit stove all night, thinking it would work just like a crock pot. Ummmm - no. The water simmered away and the veggies (it was a large pot) had already charcoaled and were smoking better than a bbq. When the firefighters got there, about 90 seconds after we had called (because the firehouse was just up on the hill), they brought the whole squad. The fire chief was there, the big hose truck, an ambulance, and a police cruiser. The noises were deafening, so the entire neighborhood woke up, too. We had JUST moved into that house before I gave birth to Third, so the neighbors all came by to ask if the Familie Crabbcakes wanted to sleep at their places - they were so sweet - we barely knew them yet! When it was discovered that the cause of the smoke was my stupidity, the firefighters settled to using industrial fans to systematically open and close windows/doors and blow the smoke out of the house. While they were doing that, I got entertained by one of the firemen who used to live in the neighborhood and grew up visiting his friend in the house I was then living in, and told me stories galore. But Jersey folks are chatty like that - even the men.

                            I now keep an emergency ladder under one of my girls' bunk beds in case we get trapped upstairs, and we have small fire extinguishers under the main sink on every floor of this house (basement, ground floor, upstairs). And about 12 smoke detectors... (this is a decently-sized house - ungefaehr 336 quadratmeter, counting the finished rooms in the basement) While I am thinking of it - do you have a balcony?? That makes apartments really nice!

                            So, Bess, I think I will end my tales of Rauch und Feuer. I wish you some cooler weather sooner than tomorrow or the next day! I'm off to take Third to her Monday therapies in the big city and do a little shopping while I am there. Again, thanks for the Gespraech!
                            I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC


                            • #74
                              Originally posted by annedawso View Post
                              Hi Crabbcakes,
                              just been reading your Journal and sorry to hear about your poor cat. I have really enjoyed reading through you whole journal.
                              Your life sounds full on and you write in a lovely style. I was delighted to read about Third winning awards at the horse show day.
                              Thinking of you, hope all goes as well as it can.
                              Hello annedawso!! It is nice to meet you!! And thank you re Third and the horse show awards! Third's sisters are as jealous as can be because they really want to ride as well, but can't... the farm restricts riders to the handicapped set. I would find another stable for them to ride at, but this stuff is EXPENSIVE! The only reason Third rides is because the farm has a large set of corporations and rich private persons who/that donate enough money annually that the cost can be subsidized from about USD80 to USD25 per rider per one-hour lesson (riders get one hour every week). We do our bit everywhere we can to help, but donating money in 50,000-dollar chunks is just not going to happen yet. If I ever win the lottery or come up with some crazy invention, that farm will be one of the first places I give to, but in the meantime they will have to do with my nickels and dimes.

                              Swing by sometime again and let me know something interesting about Liverpool! The only experience I have of England is one layover at Heathrow, sometimes leafing through our gossip mags that often concentrate on the royal family, and my favorite Regency-romance author (who is Aussie, but used to live and work in England long-term), which doesn't really count as it is total fiction, but she did her research and I can often find the actual places she mentions on maps - exactly where she writes. That, and how I hear how the English have a fine passion for gardening. My long-time favorite rose is the "Graham Thomas", which is one of David Austen's roses (that color!!!!).

                              Hope to hear from you soon!
                              I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC


                              • #75
                                Originally posted by Gravyboat View Post
                                I barely do either, honestly, and I'm a native english speaker. When I watch British movies, I need the captions on. Once I went to Barbados (also an english-speaking country, but HEAVILY accented -- it's a very distinct dialect) and I couldn't understand 90% of what anyone said. It was really embarrassing.
                                Whoooo boy - that job I had in Frankfurt?? Well, I sat next to a Scottish woman from Glasgow, had to work with an Englishman of Chinese descent who spoke Cockney, and two Irish ladies. There was the other woman from Holland, a fresh young thing straight out of Bangkok, a very sweet and elegant French woman named Chantal, and another Frenchie of a more earthier sort named Christine. And a nice lady from Turku in Finland... the men were mostly German, with two Americans (one from deepest Texas and the other Cali) and an Englishman for spice.

                                It took me 14 full days to figure out the Scot was speaking English - after that, she became clear as a bell to me. Hubby STILL can't understand her reliably - she is one of the folks I will be staying with when I see the Vaterland in November. I got to meet some of her friends from Glasgow and her mum before the mum died and they were understandable as well... but her brother... oh. my. goodness. - I never thought I would meet a citizen of Great Britain I couldn't understand - but there he stood. The dude literally didn't move his lips!! I tried to understand Scottish movies at her house, but skip that!

                                I did manage to cut through a Jersey friend's Jamaican, though. We went to church together, and I was at her wedding. My kids were held by her a lot, and that is where they (as pasty-faced, blue-eyed, blond wonders) became color-blind. She was just the best mommy - had FIVE sons!

                                As far as the US goes, the only problem I have is with deepest Louisiana African-American talk. At least, the only persons I have run into where I really had obvious problems were that demographic - I haven't gone there to check the area out to confirm anything.

                                Hope you are doing well today, Gravy!!!

                                P.S. I LOVE foreign flicks! First and I watched one on Netflix last night - "Shall We Dance?" which is Japanese. Very sweet movie about ballroom dancing (I have dreams of taking dance again...). Next year First will undergo her first lessons in ballroom social dancing (waltz, cha cha), followed shortly thereafter by Second. When I finally take them overseas, I really want them to have this skill.
                                I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC