Thursday, April 24, 2014

"Putzen" and pancakes

Didn't today just fly by? I feel like I just got up a few hrs ago and now it's time to go to bed again?! I didn't even get half of the things on my to-do list done. In fact, I never even made it to start work until 10pm. What a fail. At least now I know that I can't get any seminar-paper-related work accomplished in one hour. 

In the spirit of the quickly passing hours today, I am writing a quick (short) blog post, with only a couple of pictures.

Tomorrow evening, my brother and his girlfriend are coming to stay for the weekend. To say that I'm excited would be an understatement. The two of them are such great people and I can't wait to spend time with them!!! In addition to their general awesomeness, it is always very special if my family (or a division of my family) is coming to visit. For the past five years, this would always imply someone gettin on a plane, flying across the ocean and into a different time zone, and spending thousands of Dollars. In a few months, we will be back to having that situation and I am just loving it each time we still get to enjoy living in driving-distance. 

To make them feel the special love and excitement, I am cleaning the house. I truly believed that this 1br apartment could be easily cleaned within 2hrs. 
However, upon closer inspection, I noticed that this place was a complete and utter shithole. Excuse my French, but seriously. As if someone had picked it up, shaken it, dumped 18lbs of dog hair in it, and left it sitting upside down.

So cleaning (German: putzen) was on top of the list. 

After four hours of misery: including washing Lucy in our bathtub (because, clearly, she is the only one to blame for the house looking like this and we had to get to the source of things immediately),  lots of dishes, lots of sorting through mail and papers (is anyone else as happy to find documents you had to take care of months ago, but lost them in a big pile of paper and forgot about them?) ... I had the glorious idea to make pancakes. 

They were everything I could have hoped for. I haven't had pancakes in forever and I'm telling you, if you have a rough cleaning day, they will help you. Not with the cleaning. Actually you will make a mess making them and have extra work afterwards. You might even curse them when you have to wipe half-dried drips of batter all over your counter, like me. 
But there is nothing like proper fueling for a round of tub scrubbing! 

While eating I noticed that my syrup expired 2 months ago. I know. This may be a new low, so look away if you can't take it - but I kept eating after thinking about it for 2 seconds (one for each month). The bottle had never been opened before, it tasted fine, I was really, really hungry. It was the only option I had. 

Tomorrow morning, there will be another 3miler through the park. I ran today, too, and either my endurance is slowly building, or the colder weather helped me not to die on the way, but I finished without walking. Yay! 

Oh, and I'm posting from my phone, because "putzen" also makes you lazy (the phone was sitting closer to me than the laptop. By about 3feet.). In case the pictures are weird (in size, the content is probably always is), I'll fix it tomorrow.

Good night everyone! 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

2 Runs and a Birthday

Fortunately, today I managed to sit down to write a blog post before 3am. Trust me, you wouldn't want to ever read what I type past midnight. It makes even less sense than it usually does.
I have big plans to be asleep by 1am tonight. We'll see how that works out...

Anyways, lets talk about the most important thing first: Yesterday was Nick's birthday!!!

I get really excited about other peoples' birthdays. One, because they are getting older, too - not just me (and if that's not a reason to celebrate, I don't know what is). Two, I really love buying birthday gifts and making a birthday cake. The way I grew up, birthdays were always so special. Whoever had a birthday, was woken up with a birthday song (sung by the rest of the family), a big breakfast, followed by lots of cake and dinner. Mama would ask me weeks ahead what I would like for her to make and it would be there. No matter what it was. I just wish for everyone to get to feel the same birthday happiness on their special day.


Since yesterday was a regular work day for us, we postponed cake (Against better judgement. One should never postpone cake.) and presents until after dinner.

There are no pictures of dinner. We were both so incredibly hungry. Trust me, it was a life and death situation that didn't allow for me to pull out my phone.
The meal of choice: Döner and Lamachun. Delicious. Maybe even the best one yet. We'll have to go back to confirm.

What will we do if we don't have this anymore in a few months?! Nick and I discuss this issue quite often.

I know.

I did take a picture of the cake, though.

Now the next question is: What will we do without "Torte" (the type of ceamy, fluffy cake) in a few months?! (I will have to bribe someone to send ingredients...)

The problem about picking a gift when living abroad is that you always have to keep the suitcase in mind. "Will it fit in a suitcase?" "Will it break in a suitcase?" "Is it legal to take in a suitcase?" "How could I transport this in a suitcase?" "Will this be too heavy for a suitcase?"


The great thing about this is: with almost every idea that doesn't pass the "suitcase-test-question", you come up with an idea for future holidays, birthdays, or random surprises.

Aside from celebrating, eating cake, and staying up way too late, I went for a run yesterday and today!! They still sucked. But on the bright side, today's run sucked a little less than the one yesterday. I finished 3 miles without walking. Lots of near-death moments, but no walking.

When I came home, I was not only exhausted but also incredibly sweaty and gross. Really gross. As usual, I got into the elevator (You know, because I just ran. The stairs are just too much) and while I am always by myself in that one-person apparatus - today, of all days, an elderly woman came in and wanted to take it, too... I guess karma really wanted me to take the stairs. Damn you, karma!

Oh, and then this happened:

We took Lucy to the park and as I was already thinking no other dog was going to come play - this guy showed up.


Lucy weighs 65lbs. I know that she isn't the typical Rottweiler or German Shepherd size, but I have never seen her as a "small" dog.

This guy was 160lbs. Unbelievable. I've heard this dog bark before. It made our windows shake.
While he was quite fond of Lucy, she told him very loud and clear she wasn't interested. It was quite the scene. Nick and I were a bit worried, but she set him straight. It was quite the scene.
Good thing, dogs don't know how big/small they are.

Now it's 1.05am - which, according to my plan, leaves -5 minutes to fall asleep.

Good night!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Rum Run.

I went for a rum run this morning. It wasn't pretty.

Last night, Nick and I went to our favorite cocktail place and under the influence of the sun, the more than usual oxygen from being outside, my brain somehow tricked to try something new: "Mango Baby".

Danger in disguise.

I don't remember when I had the last rum cocktail, but it was rough. Not only did the second glass taste much stronger than the first one, I also have to shamefully admit that I only made it through half of it. (In case you missed why this is our favorite place: they have a "order 1, we'll bring you 2 happy hour".) So yea. I'm not certain this was what made it so horrible this morning, but it sure didn't help to have an angry hangover.

The first mile was wonderful. I was so happy to be back out, the weather was gorgeous, and the park was nearly empty. (There were only a few people sitting on benches celebrating the 4/20 part of today.)


After the first mile. It quickly went downhill. First my legs started yelling at me. Then my stomach. All while my head was throbbing. Then my shoulder cramped. Then I felt my head was catching on fire, because I was overheating.


Finally, at mile 2.5, I had to walk. Can you believe that?! What a rude run! I finished the 3 royally miserable miles at the pace of 9:51 and just wanted to die on the doorstep.

I knew it!

On top of it, out of nowhere, my cough is back. It was completely gone and now I sound like I've been smoking 3 packs a day for the past 70 years. Without filter.

I'm really happy I tried it. In retrospect, that it. While I was trotting around the park, it was nothing but plain awfulness.

Not sure what I will do tomorrow. Originally, I wanted to do 3 miles every day for the next 5 days. (HA!)

Just getting up in the morning and having coffee and fresh rolls on the balcony sounds much more fun to me at this point.

This does seem to make a lot of sense right now.

On the bright side, Nick and I had a wonderful Easter. We went to the dog park at 1pm in the morning and while we thought we'd be the only people to go there - that place was packed! (I wonder if they all came because they thought it would be empty?!)

Afterwards, we had a big lunch, napped, watched TV, and went to get ice cream before dinner.

Don't make me get up. Ever.

Working on the perfect combination.
Today: Pistachio-Malaga-Amarena/Cream (for Nick), Yoghurt-Straciatella-Malaga (for me)
Clearly, I won.

You wouldn't believe it, but I actually cooked today! As much as I hate cooking in this kitchen (made for smurfs, no dishwasher), I am always happy when we have a sit down dinner at home.

Schnitzel stripes in mushroom/onion sauce, pasta, peas and carrots - and Easter Chocolate.

Oh and this morning, I woke up to this: 

Someone set up a special easter decoration.
More chocolate than decorative grass and things.
I love it!

This was such a terrific Easter Sunday, but I feel really guilty for not working today. I'm sure tomorrow will be even more productive then, right? Right?!

On a different note, we passed these guys on our walk through one of Berlin's neighborhoods yesterday.

Only in Berlin.

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Because of some crappy days...

Everyone knows the feeling of just having a crappy day. Or two. Or three. At least I am telling myself that. Because work has been incredibly slow and frustrating yet again, I decided to not spend an entire post whining about it (you are welcome) and post a few pictures, links, or things instead that made me happy or helped me procrastinate.

- I truly thank the parents of this little one for putting a costume on their child and posting it on the internet.

This is exactly how I feel after eating all the Easter candy!

- Although nothing beats the cuteness of chunky George, the royal boss.

Oh, you must be those peasants my mom told me about.

- Have you watched Sherlock yet? If you haven't, please stop what you are doing and start watching it NOW. I don't know what I did before I knew this show. Sadly, Nick and I just finished the last episode that's available online. It is just that good!
So, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, please go and film that next season now!

No. Don't make it weird. Just get on the set already!
- Someone posted this on Facebook. I was mesmerized and terrified both times I watched it. This is truly impressive!


- I would not be surprised if each of these children were scarred for life upon the taking of these pictures.

- I don't know what it is, but I need one! So much cuteness!! I swear, I yelled out "AWWW!" for each one of these.

Are you a micro-rabbit-mouse?

- More small things made their rounds on the internet. Why would a small or any other small food be desirable? People are strange.

I'm still curious what it is. Marzipan?

With this being said, I should go and find some wine and chocolate to celebrate the end of this awful week. Next week, I'm sure will be much more productive and awesome! Plus, I have big plans to go running again!

I hope you all have a lovely Saturday!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Apples in the garbage.

It is no secret that sometimes, I have absolutely no control over what I'm doing. I'm not talking about the words that come out of my mouth. No, that's a different story. I mean what my arms, hands, or legs are going. I think at any given point in time, I would be unable to walk a straight line or touch my nose with my finger. Which is going to become very awkward if I ever get pulled over for speeding or forgetting about a stop sign.

This would probably be a better excuse than "general malfunction".

While I usually brush it off as "everyone has moments like this", sometimes I wonder if there is something wrong in the communication between my brain and my body.

A little while ago, I came home from doing the groceries and put everything away, before I started working on my paper. The next day, I wanted to grab one of those apples that I had bought and just couldn't find them. After looking in all reasonable places, I thought about it for a minute and then remembered it very clearly: I had dropped them into the garbage bin. The whole bag. Fresh apples. Into the garbage.

I know.

What bugs me about this the most is that I could clearly remember how I put them in there. This means that during the very moment when it happened, nothing about it seemed strange. (?!)

This is only one example.
There are more.

I've found a pack of ham ceran wrap/ aluminum foil/ ziplock bag drawer - days after my grocery trip.

Just the other day, I wanted to put cheese into the fridge and threw it in the garbage. With confidence.

Generally, I have found so much random food (mostly foods that should have been immediately refrigerated) in drawers, on shelves, or in bags I never took them out of (!?).

I've also driven off while a gallon of ice cream and a pineapple were still sitting on the roof of my car. Or a cup of coffee. Or a pack of milk. If you think watching your ice-cream come flying off your car is the most awkward thing, you are mistaken. It is the getting out of your car and picking up the pieces.
(What I have learned from these situations: No matter how soon you remember, it's already too late - and: People do stare. For a while. And shake their heads.)

Why did you put me in here?! - I don't know. It just seemed right at the time.

Please tell me that you do this as well.

Or don't say anything at all.

Or even better, just lie about it.

Yes, lets do that.

While I'm a little sad to leave our little old kitchen here in Berlin, I'm glad to have a gas stove again. When you have a gas stove, you can at least tell which of the stove tops you turned on. (Trust me, unless you have a fancy glass top that lights up bright red, the electric stove can be tricky. Plus, melted plastic does smell.)

On a completely different note, Easter is coming up and I am beyond excited. Easter candy is one of my favorite things and Nick and I have been working on trying every kind of chocolate or other sugary treat we could find.

Easter in Germany is a rather big holiday. Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday are official holidays. This also means that everything is closed. Many stores don't even open on Saturday, which turns it into a really REALLY long weekend.


That's why I went to the store this afternoon to stock up on food and wine. Sadly, 372890523573207 people had the same idea. I had to wait in line to grab a cart. There was a line to get A CART!?! To then begin shopping?! It was ridiculous. And that was only the first of three stores I had to go to.

While that was no fun at all, I'm really glad we won't starve.

Now lets just hope I put it everything in the right place and it won't all spoil in a random drawer or corner of the kitchen.

I hope you have a good night!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pictures and Passover.

It has been one of those days here, where aside from work and sending out emails, nothing much has happened. 

Except: As of today, half of the dress is now officially mine! Let the alterations begin!

Aside from this, I am still coughing and sneezing and losing my patience about this terrible cold that just won't let go of me. Today it's been two weeks since I last went for a run and at this point, I'm not only anxious to lace up my shoes again, but also terrified. I'm pretty certain I won't even make it past this block, because I lost all of my muscles. However, there is nothing worse than starting off too soon and my sinuses and lungs are definitely asking me to wait another few days. So I will do that. (Damn you, sinuses!)

That's why I am going to share some random pictures from the last week with you.

First things first:

Nick surprised me yesterday morning, by handing me a flash drive that contained all the official pictures from the half marathon! I just couldn't believe it! Especially after I had spent all of our money on a dress. He still goes out and buys all of them for me, because he knows how important this was for me.

This one is my favorite.
(Just so you know, this was only mile 3, hence the happy face.)

This was right around when I thought I should just go home and sleep. Or die.
Someone yelled we should all raise our arms. Guess I was the only one who actually did. Awkward.

... and this was when I knew there was going to be Ice Cream in my very near future.
Just in case you were wondering, the clock in the pictures was taking the time from the start of the first wave. My wave started running about 30 minutes after the official beginning.

It seems to have become a tradition that every Saturday, we first make coffee to go and then take Lucy to the dog park, afterwards, Nick and I walk to get groceries, and to reward ourselves (you know, for so much walking), we go to the best happy hour place that we know.

Oh buy1 get1 free cocktails, you are my favorite!
I have once again proven that heating up can also count as cooking!

Yes, you have to have 2 bottles of ketchup on hand at all times.
Never run out of ketchup. It's the rule.

Gelato is officially back in my life. The place up the road from us finally opened and we had to go immediately to see if their ice cream was still as good. It is. Now I just need to go back to check the other 40 flavors!

Oh how I've missed you!

Nick went through his computer the other day and found pictures that were taken during our stay at Disney World in January 2011. I had completely forgotten about them. Especially this one:

Yeah. No. I have no idea how this happened.

Yesterday, we were invited to our very first Passover celebration. Friends of ours had us over to be part of their ceremony and it was terrific! I have never been at a dinner that involved so many symbolic aspects - or where I learned so much about a different religion.

Now it is time for me to clean up the kitchen from today's dinner.

I envy everyone who has a dishwasher. Or a bigger kitchen. Or more dishes.

Maybe we should just get a cat.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The day I picked my dress.

Today was a long, happy day.

As I told you, when we first got married, Nick and I planned on having a big church wedding in Germany a few years later, you know, the one in less than 6 weeks.

Over the past months and years, I thought, I would then get a chance to wear a big wedding dress. The one I wore 4.5 years ago is really lovely. Its shorter and ivory colored with beads and lace and just overall pretty.

So I started thinking that I should save us the money and wear it for the big day. I made a decision. I wanted to just give up on the big dress to save us the money. When I told Nick, he wasn't pleased. I remember that just three months ago, we were sitting and having cocktails when told me he would just pick a bridal store and buy a gift card. I wanted none of that. I didn't want my big dress anymore.

I feel so pretty when saving us money!

Until 2 weeks ago.

I don't know what happened, but all of the sudden, the thought of never having the feeling of walking down the isle in long wedding dress I had dreamed of for years made me really sad.

I remembered how I was still in my mom's kids choir and we would meet every Friday, in a building right by the very church that Nick and I are getting married in next month. Fridays were, and still are, popular days for weddings and during the summer months, us kids would wait for the bride to come out of the church, just to see her dress. On other days, my mom and I would drive by the church and wait in the car if we knew there was a wedding. It was always the greatest moment to see the bride.

I know!

I also remembered how often I would sneak into my parents' bedroom to secretly wear my mom's wedding dress when she was out. I was about 6 or 7 and obsessed with that dress. My grandmother made it and I can't tell you how happy it still makes me that my mom kept it all those years. In elementary school, we did a fashion show and I was the one who was presenting the "bridal collection". I was 8 years old and wore my mom's veil and her white gloves - it was one of my proudest moments as a kid.

Since then, I had dreamed of having a big, long wedding dress myself and while I truly love my shorter dress from our October wedding in New York, I just couldn't bare the thought of never being able to live that moment any longer. Especially when I will be walking out of that very church, in the town I grew up in, with Nick next to me.

I know I'm being wasteful. I know that it will be the most expensive piece of clothing and that I will only wear it for less than 24hrs. But I just can't help it.


Now, deciding that I want a dress and finding one are two different stories if there are only 6 weeks to go until the big day.

In case you didn't know, wedding dresses can take 6-8 months to be ordered. (I definitely didn't know.) I spent more hours looking at wedding dresses online than I ever thought was possible or healthy. I looked for so long that all of them started to look the same, just one white ball of fabric.

It's our second wedding, so I didn't want it to be too big, too poofy, too long, or too lacey, no big bows, something smaller, but not too small, simple, but not too simple... that's exactly what I told the sales lady at the store. She truly appreciated it.

This seems appropriate! Maybe less flowers though.

Last week, I tried about 20 dresses. I hated every single one (too big, too poofy, too long...). I felt like a snowman in most of them, looked like a ball of mozzarella in others. It wasn't pretty. The poor sales lady kept saying "lets put a flower around it and see what you think then" (I'm dead serious. She tried that one flower on every dress. Almost hilarious.)

"Lets add a flower to see if it works then."

Right before I left, she told me that they had another dress and went to get it. I hated it on the hanger. But since she was so nice and helpful (read: patient), I said I would try it. It was perfect. Absolutely perfect. The only problem: it was about 3 times as much as I wanted to spend.

I had a sleepless weekend and aside from browsing through store catalogues, I also looked at about 362934732852720984 used wedding dresses online. I swear, I know every single entry by now. I know the brands, I know the shapes, I recognize the sellers. The thought was: maybe I can find a really nice used one. Or one that was bought and never worn!?

My friend came with me this morning to look at a dress I thought might be a good fit. It wasn't for me. It wasn't my dress. It was someone else's.


So we went back to the store and I picked one there. That's all I can say, because Nick reads my blog :o)

I absolutely love it and I cannot wait to wear it (and plaster this blog with pictures). At the store, I had to insist sitting and finishing my champagne in the dress. (Yes they gave me booze. Maybe to help decide.)

I am also thinking about putting it on every year at our May-wedding-anniversary. Even if it doesn't fit anymore. I swear. It is THAT pretty. I could also give tea parties and wear it for that occasion. Maybe I will invite everyone who says they are sad they only got to wear their dress once. It could be a thing. Lets all wear our wedding dresses! (Of course, we would be forced to only eat really creamy-cream cakes, you know, no "healthy" fruit, because of possible stains...)

Just let me know. I'll keep a slice for you.

Did anyone say "cake"?