Very sorry to have been missing in action for a little while there (though it was an excellent way to find out just who actually reads this thing). I have a new client ... and while so far (knock on wood) everything is going swimmingly, it has kept me far, far away from my computer. Anyway, here I am with a few days off and a little more sleep under my belt, so I thought I'd say hi (if anyone is still out there) and make a few random observations and updates.
1. 2. A few weeks back, before the chaos really set in, mein Mann and I along with BR and ihr Mann und Wunderkind made a spontaneous trip to Browdowin, a self-proclaimed Ökodorf or organic village (a source of much of Berlin's organic milk and such). While very cute there was not all that much Öko in evidence, but nonetheless it was a very refreshing change of scenes and we did snag (not personally) some fresh eggs from the hens living behind our rental apartment, which made for an excellent breakfast. There were also lots of neglected apple trees and while there (and around the restored ruins of the nearby Chorin monastery, we picked a serious lot of apples (considering that we had to carry them home sans vehicle). In one of my rare Martha Stewart moments, I turned the bulk of them into apple butter, which will make it's big debut next May at the Hochzeit. (This is supposed to be added incentive for US-based guests to make the trek (those of us planning destination weddings (sort-of) during the worst economic crisis since the Depression have to do all we can do...).
2. In the midst of the height of my chaos, Diana stopped by to sleep on our cold floor (some day we'll have a guest room or at least a human-length sofa), run the marathon really fast, run errands with me (these days I go to more grocery stores every day than some people visit in an entire month), eat Kaffee und Kuchen at the Literaturhaus cafe, and save mein Mann from an endless succession of Abendbrot.
3. It's not that I have spent more time in the kitchen than anyone, but I have put in a few hours in my day so I don't know how this has escaped me. In any case, I've just noticed that my apron when worn backwards (untied) is almost a cape (for some reason, I started swinging it behind me when refastening my belt after using the facilities). This is perhaps silly and random information, but I have found it very cheering to meet my superhero self (in the mirror) every so often during a long, stressful day (like I say, the job is *so far* very positive, but not without it's share of stress and sleepless nights). There's to be no photographic evidence of my current employment, so you will just have to imagine me making superhero poses in the bathroom mirror.
4. In other, more mundane news, I have successfully (I think) battled the German insurance system and won (knock on wood) so that I am now an official member of the public system (as opposed to the stupid and equally confusing private system). I know the US is falling apart at the seams, but note to Hopefully-Soon-President Obama: any system so complicated that the industry itself can't understand or keep up with the changes (I kid you not) is not the one we need to be copying. I've also paid my taxes twice now (does it not seem excessive that they make small business owners pay taxes every single month here?!) and officially registered (because I had to) that I am a heathen and have no official religion (and if I did, why would I want to tell the German government about it? German history doesn't define my personal/current experience here, but this is asking a little much for someone with my ancestry, no?). The religion people also wanted to know the address from the house where we lived when I was born. Germans actually keep this sort of information (and store it in funny Euro 2-hole binders) and can bring it forth when called upon. I'm sure I could find out if I tried, but seriously, I only lived there for 6 months ... not quite long enough to start keeping records. And what can this possibly have to do with my religion or lack thereof?
Anyway, it is back to the trenches for me, but I will try to visit with you again soon!