Archive for the ‘Real Life’ Category

April was Autism Awareness Month

Monday, April 29th, 2013


Now that the month is closing out I thought I would mention what was special about April: It is Autism Awareness month. For those that don’t know, here is a brief description of autism, taken from Wikipedia:

Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. The diagnostic criteria require that symptoms become apparent before a child is three years old. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize; how this occurs is not well understood. (more…)

The High Cost of Being A Girl

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

vanity tableRecently I went to my favorite makeup counter to pick up some lipstick. I left empty handed. By the time I was done hearing about the possible “free” gifts and pricing out the products I was interested in I didn’t know what to do. Should I go with just the lipstick? Or by spending just thirty dollars more should I maximize my purchase by getting $100.00 of free product I hadn’t been interested in ten minutes ago? The only other product I was truly interested in was $80.00. Now what? Spend $100.00 to get $100.00? I brought my tired brain home so I could do the math in peace. No decision has been reached. (more…)

Are You a Bag Lady?

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

shopping bag

Once upon a time I used to request “paper” at the grocery store. But my mother convinced me that storing paper bags attracted spiders and one too many handle breakages on the way home convinced me that paper didn’t work for me. I switched to plastic and stored and recycled the bags.

Recently though, I got tired of using up valuable space to store a recyclable item that I could replace with already existing items. I had been given numerous cloth shopping bags over the years that I used to cart books, lunches, and whatnot about. I yanked several from their closet and took them to the store with me. Instant joy! Not only did I not come home with numerous irritating shopping bags, my cloth bags held more and ripped less. And I got a small credit at the store!


The Noobs have Pwned our insults!

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

thCAJEMANLOver dinner the other day my husband and I were telling our teenage son about old insult sayings, to see if he could figure out what they meant. We were saddened to learn that phrases we’ve known since childhood were no longer common knowledge. Are they dying out completely? Some of the more colorful ones we asked about were:

  • She couldn’t hem a pig in a ditch – meaning she’s bowlegged. (more…)

Caring Less is Still Caring

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

English is a living language, meaning that it’s always changing, always evolving. Unless you want to live in constant pedantic frustration, you have to be willing to accept new words or phrases that didn’t exist at all in the near past or, a bit harder, words or phrases that originally meant one thing but have now come to mean something else because of common misuse or a general misunderstanding. (more…)

Welcome, spring!

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

002 (2)Since this has been the darkest winter in Central Europe for many, many years, I can’t wait till spring starts. It’s not the low temperatures or the regular sleet that bother me, it’s the lack of light. So you can imagine my delight when I discovered the first harbingers of spring next to my terrace today! Aren’t they pretty?

- Rike Horstmann

Interesting Skin Care Regimen

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

moisturizerI had an interesting run-in while grocery shopping the other day. I was walking by one of those sample give-away booth setups and saw that the featured product was Jergen’s lotion. My hands were dry, so I stopped and was hijacked into a long uncomfortable conversation with the woman running the thing. I don’t know if she was manic or bipolar or just very, very lonely, but I couldn’t break away without being rude. Thankfully, I stayed to listen because she gave me some great skin care advice. (more…)

Touching Moments

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

YouTube Preview Image

A friend sent me this link (scroll to bottom of screen) of a video which contains the song played above. I fell in love with the music. I must have watched the video half a dozen times. The song expresses so completely the love you can feel for someone – a baby, a special needs child, a patient with Alzheimers – who might not always be able to show love back. The love is always there, though, and I thought the song and pictures captured that fact beautifully.

What moment touched your heart this week?

- Maggie AAR

New Year’s resolutions

Friday, January 4th, 2013

In Germany, many people delight in making New Year’s resolutions and (at least) try to stick to them. Stopping to smoke, losing weight, or spending less are favorites. Do you do the same in your country? What are typical resolutions there?

I mostly tend to scoff at “big” New Year’s resolutions, but I like small ones. Here are mine for 2013:

  • Read more.
  • Spend just a little less time online (related to the one above).
  • Try out some new recipes for bread and winter vegetables (not at the same time – these just happen to be the fields I am interested in right now in the kitchen).
  • Deal with the huge heap of mending that has been assembling over the last months (possibly years).

What are your resolutions?

- Rike Horstmann

More Cookies – Dark Chocolate and Dried Cranberry

Monday, December 17th, 2012

I hope you have been enjoying some of our holiday traditions and memories. Unless you are Marilu Henner, “one of only 12 people in the world diagnosed with hyperthymesia, also known as Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory,” you probably don’t remember all the gifts you received as a child during the Christmas holiday.

Oh, I am sure you remember the big ones, like your first bike, or maybe a special electronic device, or a piece of jewelry passed down from a relative, but not every gift. But I bet you remember your family traditions with no problem at all – like opening gifts on Christmas Eve, or midnight services, or the special ornament that you made your mother, that always had a special spot on the tree. Traditions, no matter what the holiday, are the threads that bind families together and one part of family traditions is the food that we eat. I have already shared my family’s Stack Cake which my mother frequently made, along with Orange Slice Cake. But the holidays weren’t complete without cookies. (more…)