29 October 2008

Sick Again

Not much to report these days, unless you want to hear about Maxi getting sick at a dinner party hosted by Paul's boss. One of the things I find difficult about being a parent is when Max gets sick. I know that it's good for Max and me to get out and socialize, but it seems that every time we go to a playdate, my little petri dish picks something up. Then we spend a solid week or two recovering from the illness as it works its way through the entire family. Then we go out again, catch a germ, repeat. Personally, I'm really too lazy to ever be a germ-a-phobe, but I definitely understand the temptation to lock our family into a germ free bubble. Well, Max seems to have recovered from his latest bug, so tomorrow we're meeting friends out at San Francisco Coffee Company to catch the next bug.

17 October 2008

My Dog Hit a Car

Paul was out walking Asia with a neighbor and the neighbor's dog. It's pretty common in Germany to let your dog run off leash, even in the busy parts of town. German dogs are so well behaved, they never run away from their owners. We've even seen owners leave their dogs outside of the grocery store while they run in to get something. The dog won't be hooked up to anything, but will sit there patiently waiting for the owner.

Asia isn't a German dog, and she has her limitations. She probably will never be that well behaved, so we keep her on leash most of the time. However, there are certain paths, where there are no cars, that we let her off leash to play and run and burn off some of her wild energy. Paul and our neighbor were on such a path. Paul overestimated Asia's limits, and didn't get her back on leash soon enough as they were nearing the end of the path. Asia darted out the path and across the street. As she turned around to run back across Paul, she ran head on into the side of a moving car.

Tires screeched, brakes slammed and our neighbor screamed. Asia ran straight home to me. Luckily she didn't get thrown under the car. I imagine that she sort of bounced off the car. Paul took her to the veterinarian the next day, and she only had minor cuts and abraisions. Nothing serious was wrong. He told Paul that "Asia is the luckiest dog in the world."

14 October 2008

Learning to Cook

We’re hosting a Halloween party, and I want to serve traditional American food. Though, what is traditional American food is questionable. I decided on pulled pork barbeque. Of course I’ve never made it before, and before I met Paul, I had never even heard of it. On Friday night, I made for the first time, and two of our good friends were kind enough to be my guinea pigs.

Let me back up in time a bit. I used to abhor cooking. When we were dating, Paul hated coming to my apartment because the fridge was always empty save maybe a bottle of Cesar dressing and a hard piece of parmesan. As a single girl, I dined out most of the time, and frankly my limited skills couldn’t compete with the dining out ethnic restaurants.

When Paul and I got married, I decided to try a little bit harder to learn how to cook, but ultimately the responsibility fell to Paul. Unless I had a cook book on hand, and about four hours to prepare and cook a meal, I was pretty much hopeless. Besides, by the time I got home from work, I was too hungry to cook.

It wasn’t until I became a stay-at-home mom, that I really learned to enjoy cooking. Part of this was because I had the time to follow the more elaborate recipes that reminded me of restaurant food. While living in Virginia, we bought a share in a local farm, part of Community Supported Agriculture, and this got me very excited about cooking. Receiving unfamiliar veggies like squashes, beats and pak choy, as well as free range chicken and eggs, brought out my creative side.

Now I look at cooking like art. It’s a creative process, and you hope that what you cook will turn out as good as you imagine. Unlike art, I get to follow pre-tested recipes. Pulled Pork barbeque is no simple recipe. Between preparing the sauce, seasoning, soaking and then another seven hours of roasting in the oven, it took me a good fourty-eight hours too finish the pulled pork from start-to-finish.

It was a huge success. My husband and our friends loved the pulled pork. How it is that I can handle cooking something so complicated, but grilled cheese continues to thwart me is a mystery.

06 October 2008

It feels a little like Christmas

Last week, our container from the United States arrived. Even though it was all stuff we had lived with for years in the United States, we weeped with joy to see our couches, our beds and our winter clothes. The night after the movers moved us in was like Heaven. I don’t think we’ve ever enjoyed sleeping in our bed as much as we did that night.

For the first month and a half, we slept on a cheap air mattress, from Real (Germany’s Walmart), with a thin blanket. Max slept in a playpen, and as for furniture, we had a few camping chairs and camping table lent to us from friends as well as a handful of dishes that we had to wash in-between every meal.

When Paul made breakfast Sunday morning, he used two pans to cook the French toast and one for the sausages. You don’t know what a luxury it is to have two pans to cook with, until you’ve been cooking with only one for over a month.

The time before our container arrived, we lived with the few clothes that we brought over in our suitcases. Unfortunately, when I packed for myself, I forgot that Germany is as far north as Canada, and only brought summer clothes. They proved useful for all of about three days. The one pair of jeans and one sweatshirt I had were starting to take on a life of their own by the time our stuff got here.

Well, now almost a week later, we are pretty much completely packed. It’s hard to believe that we lived in a house three times the size of our apartment. Our furniture actually fits, and we have to buy a few more things, like wardrobes. Apparently, Germans don’t believe in closets.

Hopefully, we’ll be living here for awhile, because I’m not looking forward to another trans-Atlantic move.