This year, for Mother’s Day, we all came to Haren for a family dinner. Including my dad. Fellow kids of divorced/separated/it’s complicated parents will understand how odd it was to Skype with my dad on Sunday morning and have them both talk back to me–not only talk back to me, but make jokes at my expense, together.
Before dinner, we took some photos in the yard, to commemorate this rare occasion of us all being in the same house at the same time. Dad served the very important role of Family Photographer here.
A., E., and I
and add one mother to the mix
All that’s missing here is the family cat. Oh no, wait, here she is.
Although she seems a little less happy than all of us about this picture taking. I wonder why.
Sorry for the long radio silence over here…it’s all the fellowship’s fault. I got the email on Tuesday, floated through Wednesday and Thursday, then got slapped in the face by reality, otherwise known as the long list of things I want to have done dissertation-wise before I leave for Utah on August 21. All this is to say that I’ve been in overdrive mode for the last two weeks.
Luckily, I have friends to distract me from my work (and, more importantly, the inside of my own head). Such as R. We have made a habit of meeting for study dates at Starbucks, where we share our expat experiences and she explains German grammar to me in such a manner that I actually understand it (unlike my actual teacher, unfortunately), before we use the wonderful power of peer pressure to actually get stuff done. Anyway, a couple weeks ago, we went to see the 12 Cellists from the Berliner Philharmoniker perform at the Konzerthaus here.
the Konzerthaus, picture by R.
They played works by Schumann, Purcell, and Simons. (The latter is a fairly young composer, and his work was fairly modern, and not quite my taste. But the audience was appreciative so I think I’m the Philistine here.) It was a lovely concert, although I was kind of baffled by the two encores and the overkill that is four (!!) curtain calls, all including standing ovations.
What also made the night great was that the Konzerthaus here offers students and under-27s a great deal: pick any seat for a reduced price. Our seats originally cost fifty euros, but we paid 12,50 a piece for them. Good music at an even better price? Awesome.
Oh, and the Konzerthaus offers pretzels at intermission (the big, soft kind). I am definitely getting one of those on my next visit.
Tuesday night, I was waiting for a friend to come on Skype and was a little bored, so I checked my email for the thousandth time that day. And saw an email from the University of Utah’s Tanner Center, offering me a Mormon Studies fellowship for 2013-2014.
I fell out of my chair. I thought I had a chance at that fellowship, but didn’t actually think I’d get it. You should have seen me, I was so excited I jumped up and down and screamed, which are two very unlikely actions for me!
The award letter said,
You will have a private office at the Tanner Humanities Center as well as university library privileges. Please note that this fellowship does not offer health benefits.
With a private office, and university library privileges, who cares about the health benefits?! I’m glad they have their priorities straight.
I start there September 1, and I can’t wait.
I forgot to tell you about the Crisis of the Week here at Casa Chaos. Last Sunday, I went for a run, and decided to reward myself afterwards with a long, hot bath. I took my Kindle with me, and because I am an idiot, I dropped it.
I immediately fished it out and ran to my computer to Google what to do next. (It’s a good thing I had left the shades down as I was in too much of a hurry to even grab my bathrobe. Apparently, my books are more important than modesty. It’s probably also a good thing that I don’t have roommates anymore.) Google told me to put it in a rice bath, which I did…but to no avail. It still displays text, but won’t move from page to page anymore.
I think the suprise is not so much that I dropped it, but that I’ve had it for two years now and this only just happened. To be on the safe side, though, I’ve sticking to paper books in the bath until they come out with a waterproof Kindle or I develop some common sense, which ever comes first.
So, do you know that Big Bang Theory episode in which Leonard and Priya hook up and Leonard has to smuggle Priya past Sheldon into his room, and Sheldon is playing a text based adventure game?
No? You haven’t seen the episodes so often you can retell every plot? Must be me then.
Anyway, ever since Sheldon played that game, I’ve wanted to try one. I’ve been playing The Mansion off and on for a few days, in which you’re locked into a house and have to solve a murder by picking up clues. Basically, you do this by typing in commands (go east, pick up _, examine _, use _), which suits me just fine because I do not have nerves of steel and always manage to get rattled by speed and reaction based adventure games. This is more my pace.
Except I keep getting lost. I can manage the ground floor of the house just fine, because I found a map (and made a screenshot so I won’t have to pull it up every two seconds), but once I get to the second floor–and the essential clues contained there–I’m flying blind. Usually, I end up triggering the security shutters in a particular room, getting locked in, and quitting in frustration.
So this is all to say that I think these kind of games should feature a setting for the directionally challenged like me. I’ve gotten used to writing painstaking directions to any new place (go left after the big white house, turn right when you reach the church, if you see the bus stop you’ve gone too far) and getting lost anyway. But it seems unfortunate that it extends to online life as well..
If you read workout/weight loss blogs for any amount of time, you’ll come across the idea that cardio isn’t the entire answer and you should incorporate some kind of strength training and/or bodyweight exercises into your routine. Well, I now understand why.
This morning, I wanted to go running but could feel the slightest twinge of shin splints–again–so I decided to do a Pinterest-pinned morning workout. (I reject most of the workouts on Pinterest because I’m on the fifth floor and while my downstairs neighbor is hard of hearing, I doubt he’s deaf enough to not mind me jumping around.) It’s a simple workout: seven exercises, do the whole thing three times.
I died. It took more willpower than I knew I had to finish that last (modified!!) 45 second plank, and the wall sit was pure torture, and I started to hate crunches more than I ever have before. Also, I don’t have the upper-body strength for push ups. I am, however, a fan of tricep dips, squats, and lunges (which probably means I’m not doing them right). But seeing how my arms were still trembling after I got out of the shower, I guess it was a success.
Also? The push ups got me all close and personal with my floor, and I realized I really, really need to vacuum today. Who knows, doing these kinds of workouts regularly might even make me a better housekeeper.
I love this doormat. If only Modcloth didn’t have such outrageous international shipping costs!
I’m obviously not using this site. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I’ve been doing the online dating thing for a couple months now, with very limited success. Last week, I finally got matched with a guy I thought might have potential, only to hear nothing back. Oh well. At least it can never get as bad as my first online dating experience.
I’d met a guy on a Christian dating site (this was in my Still Very Traditionally Christian Phase) and we’d decided to meet up in Amsterdam to go to a museum together. We had emailed and texted and he seemed nice, so why not?
My train got into the station earlier than his did, so I remember seeing him coming off that train and immediately realizing he wasn’t my type. But I figured we could still have a nice time, so we walked to the museum and went through the exhibits in a normal enough manner. Right before we left, I went to the restroom, mentally rehearsing the “I think it’s clear we don’t really click. How about calling it a day?” conversation that would follow. But when I got back to the lobby, he was gone. I waited for close to fifteen minutes, scanning the crowds, before I gave up and left. Fifteen minutes later, I got a text, saying he thought it wasn’t going to work out and he had left.
So there I was, in Amsterdam, ditched by my date I hadn’t been into anyway. I called my sister, to commiserate but also and mostly because I needed directions to the nearest coffee place (he had the map) and then on to the bookstore I wanted to visit before I went home. A. was furious on my behalf while I was mostly flabbergasted. Sure, it saved me any awkwardness, but to this day I don’t understand the reasoning that led this guy (who, at 26, should have known better) to think it’s perfectly acceptable to run off while your date is in the restroom. But my pride wasn’t hurt and with A.’s help, I made it to the Bagels and Beans and then to the American Book Center, where I spent an enjoyable hour or two just browsing books by myself.
Oh, and a week later? The guy emailed and asked what I had thought of him. I doubt he liked my response.
On Easter Monday (an extra day off here), my mom, E. and I drove to Düsseldorf to the Aquazoo there. It’s not a new museum/aquarium/zoo by any means but it was still great. My sister E. has a masters in biology and will start a PhD program this summer, so she had the knowledge to ignore the signs and teach us all about evolutionary processes. She also dragged me into the room with all the live insects and made me look at them from up close. While I will concede the beauty of certain insect species (anything but spiders and cockroaches, basically), I’m still not a fan of creepy crawlies.
Of course, because we never outgrow our stuffed animals, this also happened.
Just catching a ride with my big brother.
Excuse the blurriness, please, I think I hadn’t quite gotten over the insect room yet.
On Friday, I went to the Good Friday service at the Reinoldikirche, mostly because they have their own Bach choir. I figured good music would make up for the parts of the sermon I couldn’t understand, and it did. Then, after lunch (and a dismayed look outside at the snow that was beginning to fall), I did some chores before heading over to the planetarium in Bochum. They do a Musik Matinee once a month, in which they feature music and a spectacular star show. For Good Friday, they were doing (parts of) the Matthäus Passion. And while it couldn’t beat an actual live performance, it was still pretty great to listen to the music, lie back in my chair, and watch the stars move above my head.
At least, until someone across the aisle fell asleep and starting snoring. And then, when woken up, starting talking to his friend, just loud enough to disturb those sitting around him. Luckily they decided about halfway through that it wasn’t really their thing and left.
I know, so random, but I giggle when I see it anyway.
In other news, my mom and sister are coming to Dortmund for Easter weekend. And as if that wasn’t good enough, my mom has loaded up the car with everything we might need this weekend and then some, meaning I do not have to think about groceries at all.
Which is probably a good idea because my apartment is no where near the standards I like my mom to think I adhere to and I think I need to spend most of the time till they get here cleaning. Although I doubt I’m fooling her. I remember when I was little, my mom has this rule that we had to keep our rooms clean enough to walk from the bed to the door. So I literally made a path for her–and on more than one occasion, I may have cleared little islands of carpet so you could jump from one to the other and technically make it to the bed. In many ways, I haven’t changed…although I like to pretend I’m an actual functioning adult these days. Fake it till you make it, or something.