30 July 2007

I know you hear me but are you listening?!

When you hear rain fall does it blend together or do you listen to the distinctive pattern of the individual drops on your umbrella?

As the train whooshes down the track, you hear the rumble and hum, but do you actually listen to the noise of the locomotive’s engine?

When you have on the radio do you actually pay attention to the songs? Or is it just disregarded as background music that you hardly miss if you flip off the switch? I truly enjoy music; however, when I am in my own little world I have a way of disassociating myself with the actual lyrics and simply hear the melodious strain of the instruments and do not necessarily listen to the actual song as a whole.

The subtle nuances between hearing and listening can make the difference in many circumstances. Particularly it may assist in understanding others and alleviating disagreements.

I have found that many times people hear you talking but do not actually listen to what it is you are saying. In my experience that leads to arguments, misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

We are all guilty of this be it intentional or unintentional Life has a funny habit of getting in the way and, at times, keeps us from paying closer attention to the actually things happening around us vis a vis listening versus hearing.

I have learned in my life that if I actually take time out to listen my experiences are deeper, richer and more fulfilling. It’s almost going from black and white to the full spectrum of the rainbow… I hear the Bubbie’s laughter as he delights at accomplishments, learning a new task or watching cartoons. But when I listen to it I can breathe it in and join with the revelry. There is so much more available to me if I would only listen.

24 July 2007

It's been a while...

It has been a while since I posted a German word of the day simply for its "educational purposes". Today I thought I would show you something important you need to know if you find yourself driving down the Autobahn.

Today's word is Ausfahrt. What I love about it is that it is pronounced just like you think it should be. What amuses me even more is that it means Exit. How much fun it that?? Ambie and I got the biggest kick out of it and would mutter "ausfahrt" every time we passed an exit ramp. Okay, at least it was amusing to us... Mein Deutscher and the chef were not nearly as entertained as Ambie and I but that is their loss.

Well I have done my duty of teaching you German one word at a time for today.

You're welcome...

22 July 2007

What does it take to make it to 43 years?

Let me start with apologies to my parents for not posting this on their actual anniversary of July 20th. I have been under the weather and blogging was not a priority like trying to feel good enough to go to work.

Well 43 years ago this past Friday, my parents ran off from San Antonio, Texas to Seguin, Texas to elope in front a justice of the peace. They have been married to one another since they were 25 and 20 years of age. I can not imagine being with the man I was with at either 20 nor 25 and sustaining it at the level they have accomplished.

Of course there has been ups and downs. I do not know any married couple who has not had those regardless of how wonderful everything is. People grow and change and not always at the same rate or in the same direction. Marriage, hell, ANY relationship takes work. It takes time, nurturing, patience, understanding, a give and take... Of course most people think a relationship is 50-50; however, there are going to be times when it is 70-30 or even 90-10 and you need to learn to roll with it in order to sustain and grow with it.

My parents have learned that. To say they have mastered it is an understatement. Their relationship has had it's hardships as have everyone else. Growing up, my father was in law enforcement and frequently worked odd shifts or "on call" and such. There were times when friends thought I was from a single parent family due to my father's work requirements. It was not the case; however, it did thrust me into a different relationship with my mother because of our time alone. That is a situation I have worked on remedying as I have grown older. But this is not about me, sorry, I digress...

I have asked questions regarding the longevity of their marriage. Mama has always told me that she knew Daddy would take care of her for the rest of her life. Even before her diagnosis with cancer he has kept that promise. He takes care of so many things for their household (which also includes Nana, Mama's 85 year old mother). Mama enjoys sleeping in and jokes constantly that he "does more before I get up than I do all day". They do have their different household obligations; however, Daddy has had to step up in a few more categories since Mama has been ill.

They take time for one another. Sometimes in small batches. It's hard for them at times since they have Nana and do not want her to feel excluded. I should do more to pick up the slack and give them time apart. I do not do nearly enough in that avenue. Writing this I realize there is so much more I should do to allow them time together, time they have earned, time they deserve just for one another.

At the heart of this, I have learned through observation that which seems to be their biggest secrets to a successful marriage.... Understanding, patience, communication, time together... Sounds easy in theory; however, so many marriages seem to falter. Thankfully theirs is not one of them.

So to my parents, happy belated 43rd anniversary. Thank you for being a role model not only to me but to others by your example of not just what a couple should be, but also what you both give to others as individuals. If God would have asked me to select who I wanted as parents, I could not have done a more amazing job. I am fortunate, blessed beyond measure for having you in my life. I love you both.

18 July 2007

Crazy conversations I have had about my German

The following is a real conversation I had with someone who found out my husband is from Germany... Enjoy the idiocy...

Him: So your husband is from Germany?

Me: Yep, he is from Hamburg.

Him: So does he speak German?

Me: [???] No, he usually speaks French to piss people off.

Him: Oh, I guess I just figured he would speak German.

Me: He does, I was just being a smart ass.

Him: Does he like German food?

Me: Well since he grew up there, he just calls it food, not German food.

Him: He doesn't call it bratwurst or wienerschnitzel?

Me: Yes, he does, but he doesn't consider it "German food" like you and I do... Just like you don't say it's an "American hot dog", you know?

Him: So what do they call a hot dog in Germany?

Me: I don't know the words they use for it, they could just call it a hot dog.

Him: Does he like German chocolate cake?

Me: He tries to stay away from all foods with a nationality label, he thinks it's prejudicial...

Him: I don't understand....

Me: You know, like he won't eat French toast, Swedish meatballs, Swiss chocolates, stuff like that....

Him: Are you serious?

Me: Totally, he just thinks it's wrong...

Him: Wow, that's f'd up!!

Me: I am just kidding 'cause that would be crazy...

Him: So do they have nice cars there? I mean I know they have the Autobahn and all....

Here I must note the person asking this drives a BMW for the love of all that is good...

Me: Where do you think your car is from originally?

Him: Bavaria, why?

Me: Don't you know where Bavaria is located?

Him: Somewhere in Europe...

Me: [...]

Him: Well isn't it?

Me: Yeah, it's somewhere in Europe...

Him: So you never told me, do they have nice cars there? Like my BMW?

Me: Dude, Bavaria is in Germany... Your car is German... Does that answer your question?

Him: I thought you said Bavaria was in Europe, not Germany?

Me: [sighing] Would you please just fix my computer so I can go?

17 July 2007

My kind of work out....

I found a blog today (courtesy of my Auntie D) that is my kind of fitness blog. If you are like me and are "health conscious" (remember, I like beer and I will not run unless something big is chasing me), this is the place for you.

Go take a quick look and let me know what you think....

16 July 2007

Die Eichhörnchenkönigin

Die Eichhörnchenkönigin = Squirrel Queen...

You know who you are.... And it was wonderful to meet you!!!!

15 July 2007


There is something about a Saturday that gets the German and I rarin' to go do a little something. And there is something about a beer and a cheese plate that revs us up and makes for a good time. It is even better if you get to have said beer and cheese with some wonderful people. I was psyched because I finally got to meet Newscoma and the fabulous Squirrel Queen. I also got to meet the Zombie King. Royalty! The German and I had a blast and we are ready for more conversation, beer and cheese. Okay, it's a little early for beer...

And I always enjoy time with Ivy and Hutch. They are wonderful people.

And Ginger and Sista always make any time a good one.

Anywho, these were the better photos of our time at the Saucer.... For more, go visit the Sista. She managed a group shot that I missed by not passing the German the camera.... Sigh...

12 July 2007

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Have you heard about the latest craze? Well, whether you have or have not Dragon Boat Racing is coming to Nashville. I am a little psyched about it to be quite honest. Ambie and the chef participated in their local race this spring. My uncle participates in his local race annually as well. All three have told me how very much they enjoyed it.

My company is planning on sponsoring a boat this year and I might just participate. My German has been trying to convince his company to sponsor one as well. We are going to try and do this together (if one of our companies will allow spouses) versus being on opposing teams. We are both a little too competitive to risk loosing to one another. Bragging rights are HUGE in our house so unless I can guarantee that I have them.... Well, you get the picture.

So boys and girls out there, have any of you participated in Dragon Boat racing? If so, what did you think about your experience? Regardless of whether or not I race, I will definitely make the trip down to Riverfront Park on August 25th to see what all the hoopla is about...

11 July 2007

Bier, Bier, Bier

I am so sorry that I will be unable to attend this. I have been in the past and it ROCKS.

If you have the opportunity to go, I highly recommend it... Oh, and get a room or plan on taking a cab home.

Carry on.

Red Hat Society

Okay, a while back I posted about Doodle Duck. Mein Deutscher and I brought him to Germany with us to photograph him all over the place so we could show the Bubbie. Way before we did that (and before Travelocity ads) I have had a weird obsession with garden gnomes. I do not have any in my yard, but the lore of the travelling gnome has always intrigued me for some unknown reason.

Because of the Doodle Duck post, someone sent me a link that I had read before but completely put out of my memory.

Maybe after reading this you will consider going on an adventure as well.

10 July 2007

The grammar police....

Okay, I know I have bitched about how difficult German is to learn; however, English has it's idiosyncrasies as well. This one really hit home. Not just because of my German, but also because of her.

09 July 2007

You've got the rhythm, I've got the blues

There are days when I suffer almost uncontrollable depression. It does not usuallly pounce on me but instead tiptoes in and then infiltrates my entire being. Today is one of those days that it crept in gradually and latched on tight. There is not just a specific, on the contrary, today many deep, dark thoughts have been swirling around and consuming me. Generally when this occurs I turn to prayer, talk to trusted people in my circle or journal. Today I have chosen the latter.

You may ask what has triggered me today? Well gentle reader the list is long and I am in one of those gut-splling modes today. I am of the mind that if I recite the litany maybe I can crawl out of the hole I find myself in today.

Part one has been a build up. In mid May I had a falling out with someone I mistakenly thought was a good friend. She is very outspoken and has a tendency to be vindictive. I was so hurt by her actions that I have only been able to speak to her once since that time. I told her that I was hurt but she seemed to dismiss that and assumed things were status quo. I have been unable to speak to her since because I am frightened that all the pent up hurt I have will be unleashed and I will say something I will deeply regret. The bigger problem is that our husbands work together so I will have to see her at some point. I have to find someway to resolve this within myself so I can find peace. Maybe then I can deal with what happens the next time I see her face to face.

Part two is my nervous, anxious feeling about having the Bubbie here for two weeks. The Bubbie does not make me nervous; however, having him here when both the German and I have to work does. I am a step mom as I am unable to have children by strict instructions of my doctor. Inherting a child when he is four is difficult when you only gets him in small doses. I have had excellent counsel from Heather and am grateful. I am still wiggy because I have never had to worry about getting someone ready in the morning aside from myself. I know there are thousands upon thousands of people who accomplish this feat each and every day. Why am I freaking out it about it? No clue. I guess it is just a change in my morning routine. And not being a morning person makes it even more challenging to face. I am excited he is coming but overwhelmed by the thought of being a full time mom. I know I am a ninny and that is the smallest of my concerns because I know when I see his face I will melt like butter.

Part three is my car is acting ugly. Yep, it's a 15 year old Honda. Nope, I can not afford a new one right now so I have to make due. I am just getting nervous about the large funds (which I do not have) I will have to pay to keep it going another year or two until I can afford a new one. I know my parents would lend it to me but as a 41 year old woman I do not want to go that route unless I exhaust all other avenues.

Part four is Mama. As I have said before she has IIIB lung cancer and I worry about her all the time. Even though all the tests came back clean I still panic as I can not imagine a world without her in it. I pray each day that it will be a good day for her. But I still worry incessantly. At times it permeates my entire being.

All these thoughts are spiraling through my brain and, unfortunately, taking root. I am hoping tomorrow will be a better day. The good thing about a busy day at work is that I have little or no time to dwell on what ails me. It is when I get in the car to come home that I am possessed with the thoughts that rule my emotions.

Sorry to dump so much out there in bloggyland but I needed an avenue to vent and purge the nasties dancing around my head.

07 July 2007

Conspiracy Theory

He told me it's easy.... Anyone can do it... Even little kids can... He is so wrong, so very, very, wrong. I have tried to believe but it just isn't so. Even the book is taunting me...


05 July 2007

And now for something completely different

I intend to start a food blog at some point in time. I just have not mustered the energy to do so yet. I have it set up (sans any content) and will set up a link later.

With that being said I did not have intentions of posting my food thoughts here in the land of potatoes and kartoffels but the German and I had an extraordinary dining experience on our anniversary and I wanted to share. Also please accept my apologies in advance for the lack of photos. We forgot the real camera and neither cell phone camera did justice.

For our first anniversary we opted to go to Chappy's on Church. We went there once before for a business dinner with some of my New Orleans associates and enjoyed every morsel. To say that mein Deutscher and I are "foodies" is an understatement. We tremendously enjoy cooking together and eating. We are not snobs when it comes to food. We simply enjoy good meals. We understand that sometimes a good meal is a Greek pizza delivered to the front door. But I digress, so let me tell you about our experience...

Chappy's has these enchanting private rooms that seat four people. They are nestled along a wall and have a drapery that can be drawn for privacy. I specifically requested that and had let it be known we were celebrating our first anniversary when I made the reservation. We were greeted warmly and wished a happy anniversary as we were escorted to our seats. We were to be in the "Rex Room" For those that do not know Rex is the king of carnival for Mardi Gras in New Orleans. We were already being recognized as royalty - LOL.

We ordered our wine and listened as John, our incredibly patient and wonderful server, told us of all the specials for the night. We agreed upon the blackened grilled shrimp with crawfish tails. I have to tell you I am half Cajun. I know my Cajun and Creole cuisine. This also means I know my shrimp... Especially having grown up near the Gulf Coast... Whoa Nellie! The shrimp was outstanding! They were freakin' huge! Two-biters is what I was calling them.... They were seasoned perfectly and were not too spicy which would completely overwhelm the more delicate taste of the shrimp. Thankfully there was an even number of them so we did not have to do "rock, paper, scissors" for the odd one.

Oh! I failed to mention that they bring out a loaf of bread with four different butters... plain, strawberry, garlic and gator (yum). I limited myself to just half a slice slathered with gator butter so as not to spoil my appetite for the noshing to come.

Being that our eyes are always bigger than our stomachs, we both opted for a cup of soup as well. The German got the seafood gumbo. It had a rich, dark roux base and was chock-full of shrimp and scallops. It too was not overly spicy. I would have thrown a few shakes of hot sauce in it but the German opted not to go that route. I had the turtle soup with sherry poured on it. I have forgotten how yummy Yertle can be when put in a rich soup... Thanks for coming out of the shell for my benefit.

We both perused the menu; however, two of the six specials of the evening stuck out and that is the route we opted for... I had a pan-seared grouper topped with gently sauteed mushrooms, lump crab meat and more shrimp. Not meager shrimp mind you, these were the size you would see in shrimp cocktail... And I got six of them - not that I was counting or anything.... Mine also came with Mardi Gras veggies (veggies in the colors of purple, green and gold, the official colors of Mardi Gras) and a twice baked kartoffel (hehe, my weak attempt at throwing in a German word today). Mein Deustcher had the blackened blue marlin. Let me tell you something, WOW!! There were two humongous filets on his plate along with Mardi Gras veggies and the rice du jour (which was almost like a jambalaya - bonus!).

After all the other food we had eaten, we powered through our entrees as best we could; however, to no avail. We could not finish them. Blackened blue marlin is still tasty as a late night snack.... Once you get over messing up the foil swan it's wrapped in that is...

Since you now know we took home a foil swan I guess it comes as no surprise that we did not have even a smidgen of room for dessert... I never even got around to looking at that portion of the menu because I was mesmerized by all the tantalizing seafood choices before me.

If you get a chance, I highly recommend you try this place out. If your experience was anything like mine you will not be disappointed.

03 July 2007

Alles gute zum Hochzeilstag

It is hard for me to believe that one year ago today I was standing barefoot on the beach at Honeymoon Island... I was worried because it rained for the first time in 4 days that afternoon. But at 8:00, the sun was just about to set, there was a brilliant rainbow in the sky and there were dolphins putting on our own private show by jumping in and out of the water just behind us... But most importantly of all there was us.

It was almost surreal marrying him in that setting. The waning sunlight sparkled on the water and waves were practically dancing as they softly washed on the shore. We picked a spot with a single palm tree and a weathered picnic table. We sprinkled a few flower petals around on the ground to stand on for good measure although with the natural beauty of the place it was completely unnecessary. There were just five of us, the minister, Ambie, the chef, my German and me.

There was no playing of “Here Comes the Bride” or anything by Wagner. Instead we opted for the lyrical sound of the gently lapping surf and the occasional bird. Standing there about to begin I was the kind of anxious that verges on nervous and was glad for the warm, gentle breeze that would blow to take the edge off of the hot July evening. I had nothing to be scared of because I was about to marry my soul mate, my lover, my best friend. I remember trying to not choke up but doing so none the less as my emotions got the better of me and a few stray tears trickled down my cheeks. Happy tears. It was magical to be holding hands and listening to him say to me "with this ring, I thee wed”.

I remember when we were pronounced husband and wife and the first thing I did was exclaim (and loudly) "Oh my God, we're married". Thankfully I managed to shut myself up so as not to ruin the moment. Instead I concentrated on more important things like kissing my husband for the first time as his bride.

We profusely thanked the minister as he made his was to another little oasis on the beach to marry yet another couple that beautiful summer evening. So it was time for a few photos to capture the moment for not only us but for those whom we love who were not able to join us. Ambie is an excellent photographer and she had us posing up and down the beach and managed to depict what it was we wanted memorialized.

There was real champagne. And beautiful flutes to drink it with... A wedding gift from Ambie and the chef. There were more exclamations of "Oh my God, we are married". I must have said it 10 times. I heard it when I watched the video. We just set the camera down and let it roll and you can hear me pipe in every so often with my little declaration.

Back at Ambie and the chef’s home there was a celebration with their friends and neighbors. There was cake and fireworks. There were phone calls to parents, mine in Tennessee and his in Germany. There were more toasts. And even without the benefit of music, there was dancing. The sound of the water kept the beat. Perfect.

So boys and girls, your German lesson for the day is what I want to say to my German, my husband, my love...

Alles gute zum Hochzeilstag, mein Schatz! Ich liebe dich!

02 July 2007

Two thumbs up and one thumb down...

Let's start with the good news first...

Mama's MRI of the brain came back clean. Hip, hip, hooray! Thank God for answered prayers. Her next series of tests is in September and everything looks good in that category.

Now the (not-so-bad) news... In the 10 minutes it takes me to water the flowers I got seven (count 'em, campers) SEVEN mosquito bites! I swear they see me and one of 'em hollers out "buffet's open for business" and then the swarm begins. Damn near made me put down my beer and swat at the blood thirsty varmints... Mind you, I said damn near, I did not actually put down a Spaten to kill vermin. I have my priorities.

Now here I sit covered in Benadryl creme hoping for a little relief.

Carry on.

01 July 2007

You grascally wabbit

My German and I are home from a wonderful evening of entertainment. We joined Sista, her family, Hutch and his lovely wife at Station Inn. We were there for conversation and to be completely entertained by The Grascals.

It was good to see Sista and Hutch again after having met them at the Saucer on June 14th. The German and I had a great time. We were thrilled with the show. Not only are the The Grascals extremely talented but they put on a helluva show to boot.

Of. The. Good.