Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Nice legs?!?

Today it happened again...I was riding my bike and some construction worker whistled at me. I looked around to see if maybe some attractive young blonde in a tank top and pants was riding around flashing her muffin tops, but no, I was the only person for miles around. Maybe there was some interesting news on the radio in his truck? No, I didn't hear any radio playing. So he must've meant me, because I saw him look out his window at me...maybe he's legally blind. Come on, what's there to whistle at about me? I'm wearing my fat pants today, the ones I bought this weekend because all of my other pants are either worn out or don't fit me any more after having a kid, breaking my knee cap and being sick for a week and lying on the sofa and eating ice cream the whole time. Perhaps he had his beer goggles on?

This happened to me about a month ago, too. I was riding to one of my classes in Striesen, and I'm sure you know by the end of that ride I was huffing and puffing and sweating in the shape that I'm in. Well, some construction worker was standing by his truck and yelled "Nice legs!!" I had a skirt on, but a long one that covered my knees even on the bike. Maybe he was joking? I looked back, and as he was staring I just laughed as loudly as I could. It must've been a joke. And good lord, both of these times I had on my very sexy and attractive bike helmet too. What is wrong with the world?

Either way, after putting on my fat pants and sweating my a** off on the way to work, it does feel kind of nice to be objectified a little...

Friday, April 18, 2008

This is Colonel Sanders. I'm pretty sure he didn't come to Dresden and give somebody a crash course in frying chicken.

Friday's lesson

Since today too is a day off for my students due to my illness, I thought I would keep up with what I started on Wednesday, that is an online lesson so you can learn something even in my absence. This is hopefully the last one of these, as I will be returning to work on Monday, as long as I don't get sick again on the weekend.
Today's lesson is:


A while ago, maybe a couple weeks ago, while strolling along Königsbrücker Strasse I noticed that a new place would be opening up. The windows were all covered, and one could only read the sign "Coming soon: DFC" I thought, "Oh great, Dresden fan club or Dynamo fan club or some such idiocy. A bar for football rowdies just around the corner from my house. Fantastic." Well, it turns out my suspicions were unfounded. This place is something completely different: Dresden Fried Chicken. And this leads me to the core of today's lesson. Upon hearing the words "Dresden Fried Chicken", I immediately asked myself "WTF??" I believe I even said it aloud, out of earshot of my child of course. The words to this abbreviation are "What the f*+/k?" You see this abbreviation often in rather lower class English "literature", websites and email. But I mean really, you have to admit, you'd have asked yourself the same. Come on, we're not in the South here, we're in Dresden, about the most white bread place I've ever been to. So who knows how to make fried chicken here? I'm pretty sure it's not Colonel Sanders. I know they have a long tradition of broiled chicken here, stemming from DDR days. You can even still see the broiler vendors at the street markets, selling hot broilers to the hardcore Dresdner even on icy cold days. And don't ask me what got East Germany hooked on broilers, so hooked as to even use the English word for them (and this is a phenomenon that really only is in the East). But that's off the point. There's a big difference between broiler chickens and fried chicken. I'm a vegetarian and even I know that. So what's up with this place? I think I'll have to go into the field and do a photo expose. Who wants to bet me that what they're actually selling is broilers under false pretenses? Any takers?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thursday's lesson

Since I had so much fun writing yesterday's lesson, I thought I'd do one for my Thursday students who are missing out on my presence today. Today's lesson is

Feed a cold, starve a flu.

This is a common saying you hear (or at least that I heard) in the United States when cold and flu season rolled around. I realize that it is actually the end of cold and flu season right now, but a lot of people are sick again, if not with a cold or a flu, then with German weather disease, due to the constant changing of temperature, precipitation and sunniness.

This saying is, in fact, a myth. I often heard that one should really do the opposite, that is, starve a cold and feed a flu. That too is a myth. In reality, what one should do in either case is to eat enough to satisfy your appetite, and drink even more. But not alcohol! That dries you out. You need to be drinking water and tea, especially.

Unfortunately, I only just found out that this saying is a myth a little too late. I have been really feeding my cold with the hope of recovering faster in relation to how much I eat. I tried to improve my chances of recovering faster with calorie rich foods, such as chocolate, ice cream, popcorn, grilled cheese sandwiches, creamy soups, gummy bears... So maybe when I reappear to the outside world, you will find that I have recovered and gained a nice set of muffin tops, too. (See below)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Today's Lesson

Sadly, since I lost my voice due to this nasty cold I've come down with this week, I had to cancel all of my classes today and tomorrow. But that will not stop us from learning! Though I can't tell you any funny stories this week, I can write you something from which you can learn. So, this week we have an online lesson, honoring my new favorite English term:

Muffin Tops

In its original, literal meaning, this term refers to, logically, the delicious, crispy tops of muffins. See below. They are better than the bottoms of muffins because
they are crispy but not dry, and not so moist and possibly unbaked like the rest of the muffin, usually covered with the muffin paper.

In these pictures, you can see that muffin tops come in different shapes and sizes, some flat, others round, but all delicious. There are some places where you can buy just muffin tops with no actual muffin. I do not believe in this. They might it well call it what it really is, a cookie.

Now, we continue on to the figurative meaning of muffin tops. This is a relatively new slang term, originating in about 2003. Muffin tops refers to that fat that sometimes peeks out of one's clothing when wearing tight, low-cut jeans and a shirt that does not offer enough coverage. This term emerged at about the same time as the fashion trend for extremely low-cut jeans and pants. Older terms for this same anatomical phenomenon include "spare tire" and "love handles".

As with literal muffin tops, you can see that these come in various shapes, sizes and colors. This fashion problem can happen to men as well as women. The figurative muffin tops are usually not crispy, unless sunburned, and are certainly never delicious.

I really, really want this t-shirt. Oops, does that tell you something about my voting preference? I hope I'm not breaking the law by writing this.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mom: What's your favorite band?

Willy: AC/DC!

Mom: What's your favorite song?

Willy: Big Balls!

This is an actual conversation which we had this evening at the dinner table. For the uninitiated, Willy is only 22 months old...

Monday, April 07, 2008


These are not only a few of my favorite things, but also Wilhelm's. In keeping with his taste at the age of 2 weeks (see Rock'n'roll baby, June 2006), he is a great connoisseur of music, demanding "muckes" or, starting today, "music", whenever we enter the kitchen or living room, our prime music rooms. Of course, I ask what he'd like to hear, maybe the Beatles? "Beatles, ja" he says. How about Belle and Sebastian? "Still blue" he says, reciting the lyrics of The Blues are Still Blue, one of his Belle and Sebastian favorites. (I am not exaggerating, he really recites that song.) Then I suggest Sufjan: "SUF-jan!" he says. "Ja! SUF-jan!" So I guess that's what we'll play. Then the whole thing continues. We don't just listen to the music, Wilhelm then goes to the speakers and greets the music, saying "Ooooh! Muckes!" then comes to me, hugs my leg, and pleads "Dance!" Well, what can I do? I pick him up and we dance. Then he looks deep into my eyes and says "Sing!" This could go on for a good hour or more. And I can't really complain, the kid has good taste.
In search of the illusive fashion herb

We went to Polenztal in the Sächsische Schweiz yesterday, braving rain and cold in search of the very fashionable Bärlauch, aka wild garlic. This time of year you can get rolls with wild garlic, cheese with wild garlic, every foodstuff you can possibly imagine, all with wild garlic!! This has only been going on for the last couple years, as far as I can remember. Supposedly, it tastes like a mild garlic (which it does) but doesn't stink like garlic (which I contest, as do some of my students). You can see it above, that lovely long leaf in the middle. At least that looks like it. You see, wild garlic has a wicked little Doppelgänger, the pretty and highly poisonous lily of the valley. Last year at the same time we had to throw away a whole bag of leaves that looked like wild garlic because I also picked a whole bunch of lily of the valley leaves. Oops. So what we did this year, which is probably pretty forbidden, was dig up a couple of the little guys and plant them on the balcony to see what they turn into - lilies or Lauch? We already had some wild garlic, but with our lovely German weather this spring, it started growing and then got frozen.
What we did get yesterday and eat was a whole bag full of watercress. My in-house chef turned it into a delicious salad with endives and some homemade dressing. It tasted good, but if I die suddenly, you'll know he didn't clean it well enough and I got a fox tapeworm. My life is so adventurous!

I stayed out of the herb collecting this time around, what with my massive failure last year, and hung out, looked after the kid, and took pictures of the scenery, asking myself the whole time: "Why did we bother going to Gomera for Christmas when we can see all this cool moss and rainy forest scenery right here practically in our back yard, with way easier trails?"

Everything was so green!

And so fantastically mossy!

Then we got stalked by some ducks. I think they had rabies.

We were even lucky enough to see this precious little doc hopper.
By the time doc hopper hopped along, I was getting hungry and moody, because I hadn't expected the herb collecting to be so successful and thus take so long. But all the waiting and picture taking (...without my regular camera, because I thought it was broken. It turns out I just forgot how to use all of the settings. The frog pictures could have been so much better...) paid off! We went to the Czech Republic, to Decin, a super beautiful city on the Elbe River with big supermarkets that are open on Sunday and are full of delicious exotic sweets we don't know in Germany and can't pronounce in Czech!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Last Weekend's Adventure

Stop! Only beavers are allowed down this trail! But I guess I'm allowed, since I am from Beaverton...

Last weekend we attempted to visit the beavers in the Dübener Heide. I say attempted because they are very elusive little guys, only emerging from their dams in twilight. We thought maybe we heard some after waiting around for nearly an hour in what we thought to be the twilight, but we sure didn't see any beavers. The only beaver we saw was on this sign. Though we did see some funny beaver traces, as you can see below. Or maybe these were also made by the park rangers to give the illusion of there actually being some beavers around.

Hey! It didn't fall down! I bet the beavers were confused when this fencepost didn't fall over.

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed in the Dübener Heide, because it was very flat with not-so-exciting scenery. I think it's worth the trip if you actually get to see some beavers, but otherwise I'm not so sure... My husband said the best part of the Dübener Heide is Wittenberg, where we stayed on Saturday night. I was really impressed with Wittenberg, this is a very beautiful small city where you get American-style portions of food at prices which seem cheap compared to Dresden. And the food is really good. And even our three star hotel was very nice, clean with a very friendly staff and a good breakfast. We were wary of three star hotels following our three star experience in Berlin, which was not so good. It wouldn't have surprised me to find some body outlines on the floor of the hotel where we stayed in Berlin, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, on to Wittenberg. This is where the reformer Martin Luther lived and nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Schlosskirche. Unfortunately, the
Schlosskirche to which he nailed his theses burned down, but you can see a door embossed with the theses at the same location. You can also climb the tower of the church for just 2 Euro to get a great view of the city.

Schlosskirche tower

The roof of the Schlosskirche.

Wittenberg is full of Martin Luther stuff, since he is the city's biggest claim to fame. You can see his house, the church where he preached, his pulpit and all that kind of stuff. The city's other, newer claim to fame is the high school which was redesigned by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, that crazy Austrian architect. This colorful assymetrical school is a refreshing change of scenery after looking at lots of historical buildings and churches and cozy courtyards. This school was originally a pre-fab building put up in the GDR times, and there were lots of other schools around that looked exactly the same. The students had the idea to ask Hundertwasser to redesign their school in the 90s, and he did it free of charge. Below are some pictures.

Finally, to top it all off, we visited Gräfenhainichen, where there is a "City of Iron": Ferropolis. This is a display of old coal mining machines, also from GDR times, and boy are they big.

If you look closely, you can see some people in the pictures, so you can get an idea how big these things are. You could go on the second one and have a look around, and I felt like I was going to puke. I'm a little afraid of heights, and it was windy up there. Unfortunately, this place could have given some more information for people like me who don't know so much about coal mining. It's neat to see the machines, but I'd like to know more about the whole situation and what the mines looked like and all that sort of jazz. Oh well, it was the end of the day and we were tired anyway.