Category Archives: Real Life

How to celebrate Labor Day

Tag der ArbeitMay 1st is Labor Day in Germany. It’s one of the two non-religious public holidays we have here (the other being Reunification Day, October 3rd), and everyone loves having that day off.

There are marches in some cities, but not in small towns like mine, so everybody in my neighborhood feels free to enjoy the day just as they like.

This is what I had been planning for yesterday: Continue reading

April was Autism Awareness Month

autism-awareness-ribbon

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. Continue reading

The High Cost of Being A Girl

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. Continue reading

Are You a Bag Lady?

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!

Continue reading

The Noobs have Pwned our insults!

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:

Caring Less is Still Caring

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. Continue reading

Welcome, spring!

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

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. Continue reading

Touching Moments

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEF4QKWGmNU[/youtube]

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

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