Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy Birthday, Blog!

You're five today! We've come a long way, baby.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Is my kid weird?

On Saturday while we were out for a walk, W., who is four, kept pulling up his AC/DC t-shirt and flashing his belly. Sometimes he would say "Oh, there's a baby in there!" and sometimes he would just show his lovely, slightly rounded, pleasantly smooth, lily-white belly. Who wouldn't want to see a fine belly like that? But then, then he topped himself, doing something I will never forget. While walking past the Mondpalast, a hostel with a bar that has tables outside on the sidewalk as well, he saw a round table surrounded by several chic, made-up young ladies. What did he do? Oh yeah, he flashed that belly. But not only that. He stopped very close to them and their waiter who happened to be by the table at that moment, too, and started snorting like a little bull getting ready to charge. Then he took a couple of steps and repeated the process. All parties involved cracked up.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A little rant, because I love where I live

I am so sick of people wrinkling their noses about Dresden-Neustadt, where I live, and telling me how awful the Neustadt is. It's loud, it's smelly, there are punks and dog shit everywhere. Yeah, yeah, tell me something I didn't know. Despite all that, I will let you know how I really feel. To exploit my good old American love of the superlative: it's the greatest place in the world.

It is loud here if you are on one of the main streets, sure there's traffic, and often there are people out, talking or grilling or getting together in their garden or living room or in the park. Or right now, they are screaming because of whatever is happening with the soccer game on TV. So if you like your peace and quiet, either go home and leave my neighborhood alone or find a quiet place here, of which there are TONS. But I won't tell you where because you don't care anyway.

It can be smelly, especially in the summer from the grilling (which is a matter of taste if you like that or not) the dog pee and poo all around (which annoys me too) and maybe because of some smelly people. But come on, where don't you have those three elements? Jesus, where I come from we have super smelly Amish people, especially on Fridays in the summer, because they only bathe on Saturdays. I'll tell you what, they smell worse than the punks or the squatters here who don't bathe at all.

And on to the punks. Sure, there are punks around. But if you are polite to them and don't treat them like a total jerk, they will leave you alone too. They used to ask me for change before I had any kids, and I always said that I didn't have any. I did this in a nice way, looked them in the eye, and smiled. Do you know what? They always wished me a nice day. Honestly, not sarcastically. Once I was noticeably pregnant with W., and still lived between two of major punk begging areas, they stopped asking me for money. Since I have had kids and am on the go with my kids most of the time now, they always leave me alone, clear the way if I'm pushing a stroller and are genuinely respectful. Sure, I don't like their dogs, since they are ratty and unpredictable, but have never been bothered or threatened by their dogs, either. It's probably more my own dislike of dogs that gets me riled up in that respect. Honestly, I find the punks to be nicer than a lot of the other people out there on the streets. Small town dork that I am, I find it super cool to live somewhere where there are punks on the street. And a rather affluent American former colleague of mine put it this way, "I like living somewhere where my son can see that there are lots of different people around, and that the punks are not dangerous or scary".

And there's the dog shit, and honestly, nobody likes that. But there are more and more responsible dog owners who take a baggie with them and remove their poo. But there are still lots of jerks who don't.

Then there are all the good things about this neighborhood: the beautiful architecture, the interesting and friendly people, all the kids (I've heard we have the highest birth rate in Dresden, if not in Germany, but can't back that up with any numbers), the openness, the proximity to everything you need or could possibly desire as well as the possibility to get out of the city pretty quickly if you want. I'm sick of hearing how "antisocial" it is around here. I know of lots of other places in Dresden where you can go and see a much worse crowd hanging around the supermarkets, and I'm not talking about Prohlis or Gorbitz. Anyway, I guess what it really comes down to is that I really like this place where I live, I like going out the door and just about every time seeing someone I know, not having to drive to go shopping or to get anywhere at all, it's a neat and dynamic place with so many playgrounds, petting zoos, and kid-friendly cafes that we really can never complain of boredom or running out of things to do. It's a place that breeds and attracts people who are square pegs who don't fit into round holes, and that's just fine here. So enough of my long-windedness. I hate to carry on debates about such matters of personal taste, and even though I may be too polite to say it to your face, the next time you insult my neighborhood, do want to know what I am thinking while you barrage me with insults about my choice of a place to live? Stick it where the sun don't shine, baby.

Delicious tofu bread dip/spread

In my quest to not be such a lardass, I am trying to eat more delicious healthy foods. At the market by my house every Thursday and Saturday there is a tofu lady who makes and sells all kinds of delicious tofu products--from blocks of tofu, smoked and unsmoked, laced with delicious things like herbs, hazelnuts and chili to scrumptious tofu creams and patties. OK, so the patties are probably not that healthy, as they seem to be deep fried (but they sure do taste good, crammed full of onions and chili!), but I bet the creams are super nutritious and not too likely to continue me down my path of becoming massively fat. Then, I had a stroke of genius and thought, "Hey, those can't be so hard to make!" So I set off on my voyage into the world of creating fun food using tofu this weekend.

Yesterday I rushed off to the organic supermarket before it closed to pick up some silken tofu, since I couldn't find it at the new little organic shop around the corner. Then this morning I took 200 grams of silken tofu, whipped it up with my mixer stick (I guess the proper English name for this handy tool is "immersion blender", but I prefer mixer stick), and then started throwing in tasty chunks of stuff. I thinly sliced one green onion and blended that with my mixer stick, too, then threw in 3 more sliced green onions, as well as a few finely chopped queen olives stuffed with garlic. I added about two teaspoons of granulated vegetable broth to this as seasoning. At first glance, I was very disappointed with the runny consistency, and it didn't taste all that good either. So I put some plastic wrap over the bowl and shoved it in the fridge and hoped for the best. Just now, about six or seven hours later, it has thickened to a nice, dippable consistency and tastes great as a dip with my sunflower and sesame seed bread! Hooray! Now I can make this stuff myself! I don't have to wait until the tofu lady comes back on Thursday! But I do need the patience to wait until my dip is edible...

Monday, June 21, 2010


These were just a few of my favorite sights from the Bunte Republik Neustadt street festival this weekend. I only went out to the flea market and the kids' parts of the festival on Saturday morning. Some of the things on offer at the flea market were great, but Talstraße was not what it used to be with all of the great play equipment. It was not so exciting for us, because there some clowns putting on a show. While I am sure they did a great job, W. was scared of them so a departure was necessary. He has seen those clowns before, and they did some slapstick fighting which really upset him. Oh well. I don't like clowns either. When I was a child a Christian clown came up to me at the county fair and told me I was going to go to hell. I think I was nine back then, and since then there are two things I really can't stand. Guess what they are.

The weekend

This weekend we visited my parents'-in-law for their yearly summerfest. While the kids were off for a walk in the woods, I took the time to explore the functions of my slick new camera! I am not disappointed. Enjoy!


It's been a heck of a week or so of concerts for me...Last week I saw my old friends from Dude Dude Chick playing at Orange on Kamenzer Str. Even though my friend and I were super tired and almost didn't go to the show after sitting around my house forever on that evening because of the heat and it was Friday, we finally ventured out and didn't regret it. The guys put on a very good, fun show, and we felt like we were 25 again.

Then this past Thursday I attended the Neustadt Guitarreros show at the Scheune. This was the kickoff to the yearly BRN festival here in the Neustadt, more on that later. Back to the band--I've heard of these guys before, the singer is even the brother of a friend and a very good cook of delicious Asian food. Anyway, they pretty much knocked my socks right off. They played cover songs, with Benny singing and 6 guitars! 6! Plus a bass and drums. The sound was HUGE. I'd heard all the songs before, but never like that!

And tonight, well, tonight was the topper. We saw AC/DC in the Ostragehege in Dresden on the stage they had been putting up all week. That was one heck of a giant spectacle. They pulled all the stops, there was a giant flaming train on stage, a giant inflatable Rosie, canons going off, assorted other pyrotechnics and even Hell's Bell, lowered from overhead so the singer could swing on it. To put it mildly, I was impressed with their energy. After being a bit annoyed with the two opening bands who we didn't find so great, AC/DC came on stage and made everything right again. For me, the singer's voice left a little to be desired, but the guitarist was crazy! That guy has so much energy, even with his age he still did all the old tricks and was running around playing like a madman. They don't look so young anymore, but they still can put on one heck of a show. The guitarist stripped down to his AC/DC knickers, and during one song one of the women in the audience even flashed her breasts while she was up on the monitors. The band requested "more titties", but didn't seem to get them. I even got more for my money when a fight nearly broke out by me and a giant security guy came to break the guys up. All the drama and entertainment of a good rock concert was complete!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Holy Birthday Madness!

Oh boy oh boy oh boy, there are so many birthdays this time of year that I have neglected several so far this month! Like my dad, my niece, a kid we know...

This is Cream and Knuddelhase's mom, Flo!

Above are Cream and Knuddel busy turning one today!

There's one birthday that I wasn't able to forget, since I didn't even know about it. Well, I knew somewhere in my head that the guys would turn one soon, but didn't know exactly when until my friendly bunny caretaker and bunny provider told me on Friday that the bunny birthday party would be today! So there's a lot to celebrate around here! 4 years of W, one year of bunnies (not quite the whole year with us, but close) and...almost one year back in Germany!?! What? Where did the time go? In two weeks is exactly the time one year ago when we packed up whatever belongings we wanted to keep in and on the car, drove across a good portion of North America with a three-year-old, a pregnant woman and a German driver to put the car on a boat and us on a plane in New York. How did we do it? There are a lot of things that I am looking back on that I have done and ask myself, how did I manage that?

Holy cow, and my mom's birthday! It's today, at least it's already today here...not quite there yet. And how did I manage to remember that one?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Zoo

With our annual tickets to the Dresden Zoo, we can go there as often as we like and see the animals. Among my favorites are these lovely red birds.

Then there's the stork. When we see him, I am usually required to sing

Auf unsrer Wiese gehet was
Watet durch die Sümpfe
Es hat ein weißes Jäcklein an
Trägt auch rote Strümpfe
Fängt die Frösche schnap wap wap
Klappert lustig klappertiklapp
Wer kann das erraten?

It's a children's song about something standing on my meadow that has a white jacket and red tights on. He catches frogs and says schnap wap wap and makes other funny noises, too. Who knows what it is? A stork!

Here's a guy that really says schnap wap wap and klappertiklapp every darn time I see him. He doesn't seem to have all the cups in the cupboard, as the Germans would say, or I tend to think that he has a screw loose.

The Kattas are among my personal favorites as well, they spring around and are just precious with their long, fluffy tails. One day in the winter one was by the glass, and Wilhelm cuddled him through the glass! That was also quite precious.

Then there's this little guy, the baby orangutan! He is just adorable. The orangutans are super interesting, and I feel kind of bad for them in their tiny cubicles. Hopefully they will have a better place to live when the new monkey habitat is finished. Unfortunately I couldn't get a better picture of him because other friendly zoo visitors kept pushing in front of me to take their own photos with their little cell phone cameras. Oh well. Another day.