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  1. #71
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    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.

  2. #72
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    Quote 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.

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  3. #73
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    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.

    "...as 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!

  4. #74
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    Quote 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!

  5. #75
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    Quote 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.

  6. #76
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    Quote 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.
    As a Brit I can safely say that the language can change pretty dramatically in as little as a few miles. I to struggle to understand some people from my own county.

    Richard
    It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out....Its the grain of sand in your shoe.

  7. #77
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    Wow crabbcakes,

    your journal sort of exploded since I was here last this morning! You must be the fastest typist in the word, because I suppose with your busy life you cannot spend hours on the computer typing those long posts. So much the better, I get many interesting things to read about life in the US.

    Thanks for your good wishes re the weather. Only 30 degrees today, but sweltering and not a breeze. No balcony here unfortunately. I think I unconsciously compared the weather to Greece because my friend who I spent yesterday afternoon with is Greek, and we must have mentioned it. But yesterday I also felt reminded of the Costa del Sol in Spain where we once spent our vacation. One really understands why the Spaniards value their "siesta" so much ... And speaking of Spain, my saving grace these days is a little Spanish fan (not a ceiling fan but the small, foldable thing that you think of when you imagine flamenco dancers). It is even the real thing; I bought it many years ago at a flea market in Madrid, the famous "Rastro".

    So it is air conditioning? Thanks, I think I succumbed to a typically German mistake here, although I know English and all. It is what many people call "Denglish", a tendency to give all and everything English names (or what people think is English). And AC is "Air Condition" in Germany. You certainly know that a cell phone (mobile phone for the Brits) is a "Handy" in German and everybody thinks that's an English word (well it is, but it doesn't mean "cell phone"). There are many examples, but one I will never forget. There was a fashion trend one summer, a sort of rucksack with only one strap that was worn over the shoulder. Some unfortunate designer named them "Bodybags", and you know what that means ... Oh, wait, I know a better one. When there are soccer championships or things like this, you know how they put up big screens in public places for people to watch the matches? Well, that sort of event is called a "public viewing" in modern "Denglish".

    I found your "tales of Rauch und Feuer" interesting. Something like the second story happened to me too, but there were no firefighters necessary. I had also left something on the stovetop which burned, but hadn't noticed because I was in another room and busy on the computer. Then a neighbour hammered on my door and shouted that black smoke was coming out of my kitchen window. Fortunately it was enough to take the pot off the stovetop and open the windows wide ... Now when I leave the house I always check and double-check if I left the stove on. While talking to my friend yesterday I decided to make a sort of emergency pack to grab in case of a fire - some clothes, extra shoes, photocopies of documents and bank cards, some cash and the like.

    Speaking of my friends, it was unbelievable how fast the fire spread. They live like two hunderd yards from a fire station, and the firefighters arrived in a matter of minutes. But by this time the window panes were already breaking from the high heat. They believe that the toaster in the kitchen was the culprit. (Which shows once more that bread eating can endanger your life.)

    Thanks to all you native speakers for your input about difficulties understanding speakers from other countries. And I thought it was just me because English is not my mother tongue. I exaggerated a bit, because I mostly understand people in Britain when asking for directions or shopping. But last year we made a sort of touristy excursion to London and took a tour on the Thames on one of those little boats. The captain came out on the deck to explain the view, and I literally didn't get a word. This really threw me into a sort of existential crisis. I was like, I earn my living as a translator, mostly for English, and I cannot understand this guy ...

    Crabbcakes, how is your poor cat? Is he feeling better?

    Looking forward to reading from you soon!
    Last edited by Bess58; 08-20-2012 at 10:24 AM.

  8. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richardmac View Post
    As a Brit I can safely say that the language can change pretty dramatically in as little as a few miles. I to struggle to understand some people from my own county.

    Richard
    Since you're from Scotland and we're talking about unintelligible dialects, I'll share with you one of my favorite songs. Enjoy!

    Nae mince in Moray - YouTube

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

  9. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richardmac View Post
    As a Brit I can safely say that the language can change pretty dramatically in as little as a few miles. I to struggle to understand some people from my own county.

    Richard
    Richard - if you are back here, would you tell me how it is with the Scottish and how you all prefer to label yourselves? I mean, you just called yourself a Brit, which I understand, but I kind of thought most of the people north of the border would prefer to be called Scottish, as I think you have a parlaiment now and all...?

    (For a "dumb American" story - I started off my working relationship with my now-good friend from Glasgow by calling her "Scotch" all the time... guess how long it took her to correct me!)
    Last edited by Crabbcakes; 08-20-2012 at 07:40 PM.

  10. #80
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    Howdy Bess!

    LOL!! Your Denglish Geschichten sind einfach toll! I am still giggling... body bags! You should have heard Mr. Crabbcakes on his last visit to Germany to visit me (still dating, we were) - he was trying to impress my favorite aunt and uncle, but was decently drunk as it was New Year's Eve in the Dorf - anyway, he wanted to say "Ich bin betrunken", but what came out was "Ich habe ertrunken"...

    I have a Scottish one for you - my Glaswegian friend one day asked me to (and I quote...) "Knock me up in the morning." I actually choked on my own spit. Noticing my distress, she (in all seriousness) asked me if that were not possible... which made me choke all the harder! I finally was able to tell her what Americans understand under "knocking (someone) up", and that she surely didn't want ME to attempt that! (Do you know what it means, Bess?? And what my friend meant? Perhaps a puzzle for you...)

    Speaking of language crises - at one point in my life in Germany I thought I had the language pretty much in grip - until I went to a Bavarian village for a vacation (Donau-Wald). I can't tell you how humbling that was. And then I decided to do one better and stay with friends at Lake Thun in die Schweiz. My ego came back as flat as a pancake. The only reason it wasn't as flat as a French crepe is that I could still READ everything. (But the Alps are heaven on Earth!) So I was by then totally prepared when I went to Sylt and heard Friesisch.

    No, Cat isn't doing well. He is still not eating, and now he will not clean himself either, so Second and Fourth took the animal-shampoo foam dispenser and wipes and cleaned him up while I was at therapy today. He now drools slowly as he hangs out between the toilet and the wall. Second and Fourth informed me that he purred all through the ministrations, so I know they were absolutely gentle - as I knew they would be. He isn't vocal right now, which leads me to hope that any pain isn't intense at this point. Tomorrow morning I will call the vet and have a conference with her. Thanks for asking - right now it is kind of surreal that he is that sick.

    Just to top off this post, I have a local country-ism for you (country-ism is my made-up term, but Americans make stuff up all the time and get away with it) - have you ever heard someone in those American movies say "Keep 'er 'tween the ditches!" ? It is a common phrase around here. I'll explain that one next post.

    Until then!

    Translation: "Ich bin betrunken." is "I'm drunk!"---"Ich habe ertrunken." means "I have drowned."
    Last edited by Crabbcakes; 08-21-2012 at 05:14 PM. Reason: added translations

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