February 29, 2004


I'm feeling better today from the cold, so it seems to be blowing over. That's a good thing. Today we went to the Hamburger Kunsthalle--the art museum. They have a large collection of art of many different kinds. They had a lot of art from Hamburger artists--kind of like the local boys who made it big. They also had a lot of modern art, some evocative, some distracting, and some downright puzzling. Call me a philistine, but sometimes I just don't get it. I did like Kevin's favorite modern work--several manual typewriters suspended from the ceiling typing and clacking away at the same time. There was also some dog art, and what's there not to like about dog art? Unfortunately I got tired out early so we didn't explore the museum as much as I would have liked. But it's close by so I'll be able to go back.

Posted by Shelby at 09:39 PM

February 28, 2004


I'm not feeling well again today. Blech.

This morning Kevin and I headed to Wal Mart (a different Wal Mart this time, one that doesn't require a subway transfer) to stock up on some dinners. We got 3 cookbooks the other night and decided it's time to branch out from our Fatkins* diet of pasta, pasta, and more pasta. One of the books I picked out was 50 recipes of Schnitzel. Flipping through the book I came to realize that schnitzel is any thin filet of meat. There were several promsing recipes in the book, and after extensive looking-up words in the dictionary, we selected a few to try.

Well I totally understand why Germans shop every day instead of buying in bulk like Americans do. I think Germans would be horrified by the idea of a Costco. Even the milk comes in small containers--1 liter max, which even the two of us go through in a couple of days. Anyway, carrying several days worth of dinner home with us on public transportation was a definite pain.

We needed sage for one of the recipes and the only sage they had available was either dried or in a pot. Since the cost was the same, we went for fresh sage and now have a potted herb growing on our table. This Wal Mart was small and cramped but somehow seemed to have more selection on some items. I even braved a transaction at the cheese counter, asking if they had a certain type of cheese and then ordering it. Unfortunately I underestimated the amount I wanted and only asked for 100 g. which turned out to not be very much at all. That's okay, I feel confident asking about it now so I can always get more.

On the way home from shopping I was feeling really punky. Stuffed up, tired, and light headed. We had wanted to go out and see some of the sights here but I just wasn't up to it, so I took a long nap instead. Doesn't it figure that I have to get sick on a weekend! Tomorrow we're planning on going to a museum and maybe a movie (in English).

Kevin braved the Apotheke (drug store) to get some cold medicine for me. All of the medicines here are behind the counter, meaning that you don't need a prescription but you have to ask for them. I think I'll request that my parents bring some OTC medicines along with them when they visit as it's a pain to get them here. Strangely enough, the cold medicine has caffeine in it. I guess that's to counteract the sleepy feeling you usually get with cold medicine, but somehow I just don't see that flying in the U.S.

*To give credit where credit is due, my friend Hai-Nhu was the first to call my diet "Fatkins." It cracked me up.

Posted by Shelby at 06:32 PM

February 27, 2004

Zwerg Nase

There are commercials on tv for a new animated movie. It looks like a typical damsel-in-distress, saved by gallant man movie. The weird thing? It's called "Zwerg Nase." Well I know that Nase means nose, so I looked up Zwerg, and it means dwarf or midget. Midget Nose? In the ad no one has an unusual nose, nor are there dwarves or midgets. Am I missing something?

Kevin looked up Zwerg Nase and found that it's a popular German fairy tale. It's more like a Beauty and the Beast story where a small boy is kidnapped and turned into...a dwarf with a big nose. See the connection? There was a picture of Zwerg Nase from the movie on the web, which they don't show in the ad. Apparently in the ad they just give the ending away because all they show is the man getting the girl. Anyway, it's good to have that settled.

Posted by Shelby at 06:54 PM


I fear I may be coming down with a cold. My sinuses have been bothering me and today I just felt punky and tired. I loaded up on benadryl and got a lot of sleep but I'm just not feeling my best. Plus I can barely hear because my ears are plugged. Hopefully this will blow over quickly, or it's just allergies and will go away in a day or so.

I got my latest round of prescription medicines from the mail-order pharmacy. I can't believe these people. They got it wrong again. Fortunately it's an error in my favor, but why is this so hard? You may remember that before I left I needed my Toprol and they screwed up the order. Well, I got the Toprol just in time, but they also sent me Prevacid. How nice. I don't take Prevacid anymore.

I used to take Prevacid, which is a medication for chronic heartburn. I've always had a heartburn problem (my dad does too) and they like to give these meds to heart patients lest I get heartburn and mistake it for chest pain. So I was swimming along happily on Prevacid, but it was more expensive than the alternatives. There's a $50 co-pay for Prevacid, and only a $30 co-pay for Prilosec, the "preferred medication." So I consulted Dr. Schroeder about Prilosec and he said it should be fine, so he wrote me a prescription for Prilosec. This was about 6 months ago. I've been taking Prilosec with no problems since that time, and in my last order Prilosec became available in generic so I've been taking that.

Well when I updated the Toprol scrip, I updated all of the other scrips as well. I get the medications 3 months worth at a time, and they all come due at different intervals, so this past time it was time for the Toprol and Prilosec (generic). Well yesterday I get the shipment from my mom and what's in there? My Toprol (yay!) and two bottles of...Prevacid. Not only did they give me the wrong drug, they got the dosage wrong too. I take Prilosec once a day, and the Prevacid they gave me has instructions for taking it twice a day, and enough pills for 3 months of twice a day, so I got 6 months worth. Even though the price is more expensive, $50 vs. the $30 Prilosec would have cost, I still come out ahead because I got 6 months for $50 whereas with the Prilosec it would have been $60 for 6 months worth. Unless, that is, the Prilosec is cheaper because it's generic. I'm not sure how much we paid for the generic version.

Still, it's a little dismaying that they can't seem to get this right. I have the prescription from the doctor and I'm going to check up on that, but I'm pretty sure it was written for Prilosec. It doesn't bother me in this case, but it does become a problem when they screw with my heart meds like last time. What's with these people?

In other news, the German language class I wanted, the morning one, didn't have enough students sign up, so I've been enrolled in the evening class. That's a bummer since I like to spend my evenings with Kevin, but on the days I have class he can stay home in the mornings and work late at night. That starts on Monday, so I'm looking forward to it.

Posted by Shelby at 06:51 PM

No Friday Five

I know, all three of you who come here solely to read the Friday Five will be disappointed that there is no FF. Don't take it out on me. Take it out on the FF people who didn't post one this week.

I was supposed to be doing laundry this week but unfortunately I can't seem to get the door to the washer open. My key doesn't work. I thought it worked earlier but I just can't get it open. Which is too bad because we desperately need to to laundry.

Not that laundry is an exciting experience here. There's no dryer. Germans have this weird hangup that dryers cause air pollution, death to squirrels, and birds will drop out of the sky if you use them. Instead we have a foldable drying rack from which to air dry our clothes. It works just fine, but you don't get that fuzzy from-the-dryer feeling. Instead you get a kind of crunchy no-fabric-softener feel with a big crease in the middle. Woe is me.

Posted by Shelby at 01:15 PM

February 26, 2004

Sitting Around

Waiting for the putzfrau (cleaning lady). I don't want to go out before she gets here because I'd like to be gone with Scout while she's here. Scout has a tendency to bark in her crate when she's alone with strangers in the house, and I want to minimize barking. I would usually take a nap at this time, but they already came and collected our sheets, plus they could show up at any time. I sure hope they leave us enough towels this time.

Posted by Shelby at 12:22 PM

February 25, 2004

Berlin Pictures

Not much to report today. We've run the gamut of weather today--snow, sleet, rain, snow again, sunshine, hail, snow one more time, and now the sky is clear but there's a little snow accumulation on the ground.

I got my first non-Kevin phone call. Our phone has caller id and I almost didn't pick it up but I thought it might be Kevin calling from a pay phone or something. He's doing a little shopping on his way home from work tonight. So I pick up the phone:

Me: Hello?
Woman: [something in German]
Me: Nein.
Woman: Nein? [something else in German]
Me: Ich spreche keine Deutsch (I don't speak any German)
Woman: Oh. Tut mir leid (I'm sorry). Tschuß! (a friendly, informal "bye!)

So that was that.

Kevin put up some pictures of our day in Berlin. He also wrote some commentary about it on his blog about traveling in our post-heart-condition world.

In other exciting news, we've decided to meet my parents in Amsterdam for a week-long river cruise through Holland. Neither of us have been to Holland or been on a river cruise, so that should be a fun experience. Afterwards Mom and Dad will be coming back to Hamburg with us to visit for a few days. This will be in April, at Easter.

Posted by Shelby at 07:59 PM | Comments (1)

February 24, 2004


Lots of rain here. Doesn't seem to deter Scout like it used to. Before Germany she would be very hesitant to go out in the rain. Now she's so anxious to get out of the apartment she doesn't want to come in. She still hates getting her paws and belly toweled off. Anyway, after our soggy walk I decided to stay in for lunch, so nothing to report here.

Posted by Shelby at 04:29 PM

February 23, 2004

Doggy News

Scout got a new dog bed tonight. It's one of those nesting beds, round with walls. She looks very cute in it. She likes to be on the couch, which is really love-seat sized, but she gets all offended if a human is sitting there too. Her sheepskin is upstairs and she does sleep on that at night, but there's nothing downstairs for her--until now.

And if you've ever wondered if it makes a difference what you feed your dog...it does. When I got Scout the vet said that buying her premium dog food was a good investment. They eat less of it and can digest it easier so there's not as much waste to pick up later. I've fed her Iams all her life and that has worked out well for us.

Well in Germany we couldn't find Iams so Kevin got some regular Pedigree. Wow, what a difference! The worst part is her breath. I mean yeah, she has stinky dog breath, but with the Pedigree it's so much worse. And we won't mention the other end. Anyway, at Wal Mart tonight I saw they have Purina One, which I think we'll try next. In the meantime we got her some dental chewies. I hope those work!

Posted by Shelby at 10:46 PM | Comments (2)


I did it! I conducted a multiple-part transaction entirely in German with no problems! I feel positively...Sparkly.

Although last night's snow has melted and the sun is out, it's a pretty chilly day. Colder than it has been. After taking a walk with Scout I decided that a lunch of hot soup would hit the spot, so I stopped by "Soup & Friends," a small soup place about a block from our apartment. They have 12 different soups and some salads.

After staring at the menu posted on the door outside, I decided what I wanted and headed in. I ordered a "normal numer funf" (the regular sized number 5 soup). He asked me if I wanted a roll and I said yes, then if I wanted chives, which was a no. I then ordered still water. The whole transaction went smoothly and I understood everything--not all of the individual words, but what he was asking me, and I knew how to answer.

The soup I chose was good but not fantastic. I selected a Gorgonzola with 4 somethings I couldn't translate from the menu. I decided to follow the Rule of Foreign Foods: Don't Ask, Don't Tell. It had a little chicken drumstick next to it which I took to mean non-vegetarian (all of the soups had either a chicken drumstick or carrots pictures next to them). One of the ingredients was sherry, which I'm not crazy about. The soup itself had more sherry than I would have preferred, but otherwise was very good. The regular sized bowl was a perfect portion size. I'll definitely be going back there.

Hooray for me!

Posted by Shelby at 04:20 PM

Monday Madness

You've read the Friday Five, now it's time for a new meme--the Monday Madness!

For the following statements, fill in the blank with a word (or words) that begins with the letter I give you. Let's have some fun!!

1. If I could wash my glasses, I'd be so happy! They're filthy right now. I will wash them soon.

2. Maybe one day I will try my hand at chess.

3. Before I started blogging, I used to spend inordinate amounts of time in front of the TV. Now the medium has changed, but the behavior hasn't.

4. Left and right wing extremists sure make me scared!

5. If I could fly, I would fly to Alpha Centauri.

6. If more people were not stupid, the world would be a better place.

7. I thought this meme was interesting enough to participate in this week. (any letter will do for this one.)

Posted by Shelby at 03:16 PM | Comments (1)

February 22, 2004

American Food

The KaDeWe had a very small American food section. Kevin says they used to have a bigger section, but it was still funny. Apparently Americans spend all of their time with muffin and cake mix and Newman's Own salad dressing. There was also a section of Old El Paso products like tortillas and taco shells. And what cracked me up were these women who were fawning over canned pumpkin. They were dismayed at the price, 6 Euros ($7.68 dollars) for the big can, but decided to go for it anyway. I never was all that big on pumpkin. I mean what do you do with it besides make a pie? Anyway I thought that was pretty funny. They also had a big selection of Jar Dogs but nobody seemed excited about that.

Posted by Shelby at 07:50 PM


Kevin and I spent yesterday in Berlin. We took the fancy ICE (Inter-City Express) train out early in the morning and set off to see some of the sights we missed on our last trip there in 2001. Because of my limitations we decided not to take on too much.

We started out by going to Treptower Park to see the Soviet War Memorial. After a nice stroll through the park we arrived at the memorial only to find it closed and apparently under construction. What a bummer!

We then decided to go to the KaDeWe, the second largest department store in the world behind Harrod's. Personally I think the KaDeWe kicks Harrod's butt. We headed to the food floor which has several (and I mean several) food stations selling everything from wurst to wine. Some of the stations served food ready to eat, from soup to lobster tail. We had intended to eat there but it was so overwhelming (not to mention that we kept getting lost) that we headed up a floor to the buffet restaurant, which was more manageable.

The KaDeWe has their own house brand of just about anything you could want. For lunch I had the KaDeWe Pilsner, and then we looked around the candy counter and I had a KaDeWe chocolate bar. We headed to the wine section to check things out and there was the KaDeWe Riesling. Instead we purchased a wine that made it on Wine Spectator's Top 100 list. Of course they didn't have the year the Wine Spectator recommended, so we got another year.

After that I was pretty exhausted so we decided to see a couple more thing. We headed down the street to the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedachtniskirche, a beautiful church that had been bombed out in WWII and left in its crumbled state as a memorial of the destruction. It's hard to imagine the kind of destruction left in the wake of WWII, especially in a city like Hamburg that was almost totally destroyed. We also visited the rebuilt chapel next door. It was very modern and had thousands of small stained glass windows in various colors, primarily blue. That was very pretty.

Next we went to the Deutsches Technisches Museum Berlin. This was a museum of technology with a science center. We went first to the printing press area where we saw a couple of different printing presses and a Linotype machine which I'd never seen before. A man was giving a demonstration and we stayed for some of that, even though I didn't understand what he was saying. We then went to find the jewelry exhibit but it turned out to be under construction. The train exhibit was quite large with full-sized locomotives and cars. I found a place to sit down while Kevin saw trains to his heart's content.

By that time it was time to catch our train back home. This train was a lowly Inter-City train (not an Express) and you could see the difference. The train had originated in Prague and looked like it had just traveled from Prague. Kevin was able to catch some sleep but the rattling and movement kept me up and made me car sick.

All in all it was a good trip. There are still more things I'd like to see in Berlin so I think we'll be making more day trips. I was pretty exhausted but wired when we got home and had a hard time falling asleep. I made up for it today by sleeping some very long hours. It was worth it though.

Posted by Shelby at 06:34 PM

February 20, 2004

Another Friday, Another Five

Not much to report today. Scout and I took a long walk in the park, and it has the coolest playground I've ever seen. Germans never pick up after their dogs so I get funny looks when I do. German dogs are almost never on a leash but are very well controlled. I particularly appreciate how they (owners) approach other dogs, which is to say that they don't. In the US, everyone just lets their dog sniff yours and do whatever it wants (hump, bite, act aggressive). Germans don't let their dogs close enough to yours. Scout doesn't like to be sniffed by strange dogs and is fearful sometimes, particularly of dogs larger than she, so this German custom works out quite well for us.

Now onto the Friday Five:

When was the last time you...

1. ...went to the doctor?
About 2 weeks before I left for Germany. I go to the doctor quite often, obviously, but not nearly as often as I used to. Now it's every couple of months, compared to every week or few weeks in 2002.

2. ...went to the dentist?
It's been 6 years since I've been to the dentist. Bad, I know. I've had several very bad dental experiences and a lot of uncaring, brutal doctors. Oh, actually I did go to the dentist for an emergency in August of 2002. I had a very bad fall off of a curb and chipped my front tooth and had to get that repaired. But I haven't been for an exam or cleaning in 6 years.

3. ...filled your gas tank?
A couple of days before I left for Germany, just before parking it at my parent's house.

4. ...got enough sleep?
Last night. Actually I didn't sleep well last night and slept in today. And I took my normal nap, so altogether I'm caught up.

5. ...backed up your computer?
People still do that? I have backed up certain files, like my novel, and I did it a few days before I left for Germany, but as far as backing up my whole computer--who has the space to do that anymore? I don't really worry about it.

Posted by Shelby at 06:00 PM | Comments (1)

February 19, 2004

Curses, Foiled Again!

Okay, so a number of people have told me that I just need to get over my language hang-up and get out there and do the best I can. So I have a new resolve--to not be embarrassed in my interactions. I spent today laying around the house, petting the dog, and reading, so I thought I would go out for a hot chocolate at "Grab & Go," a coffee house about a block away. I felt all confident and ready with my "Grosse heiß schokolade, bitte" (large hot chocolate, please). And it went like this:

Me: Grosse heiß schokolade, bitte
Woman: [something in German, clearly a question]
Me: {a question? What question? What could she possibly be asking?? Oh my God, this is all going to hell!} (sheepish grin) I'm sorry?
Woman: for here or take-away
Me: {Curses, foiled again!} Take-away, bitte.

But it was okay. I felt a little embarrassed, but she seemed to think it was no big deal so that was good.

In my effort to expose myself to more spoken German, I've been watching tv. So far it seems that I turn on the tv at the same time every day, because the same program is on: Der Prinz von Bel-Air. Yes, that's The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Don't know why they left out "fresh" in the German title. Anyway, it's just about the only thing on that isn't news, home shopping, or skiing. I'm hoping some of this will sink in. I'm started to recognize commercials (there's a particularly funny Mentos commercial) and I think after watching them enough I'll probably figure out what they're saying. After Der Prinz is Der Konig von Queens (King of Queens), and then Kevin usually comes home. Although tonight he's going out in search of a small pocket dictionary I can carry around with me to look up words I encounter. That should help.

Posted by Shelby at 08:28 AM


We share a porch with two other apartments. Scout decided she really, really wanted to sniff the porch, so we headed outside. Both neighbors had their curtains open, so I took a little look-see. They both have full-sized refrigerators!! I'm positively scandalized! You might remember that our fridge is practically dorm-sized (below). It's funny because in the U.S. builders make every single apartment exactly the same, while in Germany there are different variations from apartment to apartment. For example, there were two apartments available in this building. The one we got has a full bathtub, while the other had a stall shower. And what's even weirder is that the stall shower (Kevin called it the Phone Booth) was located upstairs in the bedroom, just sitting in the corner of the room. Random.

Posted by Shelby at 06:59 AM

Be American, Eat a Jar Dog

Pictures of interesting German things in and around the neighborhood available at Shelby's Photoblog: Be American and Eat a Jar Dog. What's a Jar Dog? Click the link to find out.

Posted by Shelby at 06:42 AM

February 18, 2004


Scout just dropped a rawhide chewie from the top of the stairs. As you can see, the stairs curve, and the chewie actually came clattering down, curving around with the stairs, until falling through at the second from the bottom stair. The look on her face was priceless. "What happened???"

Posted by Shelby at 08:05 AM

An Embarrassing Lunch

Okay, not really exciting, but I tried something new. Well not really new. I decided to go to the Pizza Hut. It's basically a little booth with an exterior and an interior window. I assume they have a kitchen somewhere but I didn't see it. It wasn't a restaurant like most of the Pizza Huts you see.

Anyway, I decided to try the "salami" pizza to see if it was what we consider salami or pepperoni. Good news, it was pepperoni. I ordered the specially priced meal number 1, which was one slice with a soda for 2.49 Euro. Well I gave myself away pretty quickly. I made it through ordering and then she asked me something. I thought she was asking about my drink, so I said 7-Up, but then I deduced pretty quickly (after she pointed to the pizza) that she was asking what kind of pizza I wanted. The young guy working the counter then jumped in with English and finished the transaction.

I always get this weird feeling when trying to use my German and when people respond to me in English. It's almost like I feel as though I've let them down or that I'm demanding something from them that is unreasonable (for them to speak my language when I'm in their country). I think it's all in my head because everyone has been very nice and patient with me so far and nobody has acted annoyed that I don't speak German or that the German I do attempt is very poor. It's my own hangup, I know, but I get one of those funny feelings in my stomach like I've failed a test or something. I really hope that once I start taking language classes and increasing my comprehension I'll feel more confident. I find that my comprehension is the most difficult thing. I feel okay being able to put a sentence together and getting my point across, but it's when they ask me a question or respond that I get all flustered and forget everything I've learned. I was pretty embarrassed when I answered the soda instead of the pizza type, although no one else seemed to think it was a big deal at all and no one laughed. I guess this is just one of those things that comes with adjusting to a new country.

Posted by Shelby at 08:01 AM

Kevin's Blog

Well I'm not sure I like the idea of Kevin having a blog. Today he beat me to the punch by blogging what we did last night and this morning before I got a chance to. So I've decided to write my own version. You can read his version here.

So last night we decided to go out to dinner for the first time since arriving in Germany. Yesterday was the 1 week anniversary of Scout and my arrival. We ate at Valentino's, a restaurant downstairs in our building. The waiter was very nice and picked up pretty quickly that we (or at least I) did not speak German. Perhaps it was the mangled German I attempted when I ordered, or the fact that we were the only people in the restaurant and were having a conversation in English. Anyway the waiter then spoke to us in English.

I had some pasta with shrimp, or as they say in Germany, shrimps. Actually he asked me if I wanted shrimps or scampi. I wasn't sure what the difference was but I thought it might be that the scampi is sauteed while the shrimp(s) were like the peel and eat kind you find at cocktail parties. I ordered the scampi and was very glad I did. They were some of the most flavorful shrimp(s) I've ever had.

After my food arrived he asked, "Would you like a [German word] for your pasta?" It was a word I didn't recognize and Kevin didn't seem to know either, so I said "what?" "A [German word]" he repeated. Then he apologized for his English and ran off to get the object. I couldn't believe it! I mean hello, I'm in your country! As he was gone it occurred to me that he was probably talking about a spoon to eat the pasta with, and when he returned I was right. "How you say this?" he asked. "A spoon." "Spoon, ah, yes." After dinner we had the cheese plate for dessert. I'm never one to pass up a cheese plate. This thing was twice the size of my head. There was enough cheese to make up a lunch. It was awesome. There was a cheese that looked, felt, and tasted just like butter. You know, it actually may have been butter. Anyway, it was really good.

More below...

This morning we headed to some government office to register me. Apparently everyone living in Germany needs to register their address with the government. I found the process to be extremely intimidating. Kevin was fine with it, but I was freaking out. The guy was both helpful and brusque--a very odd combination. There was some major confusion about my name. My name on my passport, which I got pre-wedding, is Shelby Lynn Rosiak. In the back of the passport it has an ammendment stating that my name is now Shelby Lynn Rosiak Hogan. According to the US government, I legally have two middle names, so it's Shelby Lynn Rosiak Hogan. Well the guy was very confused about this and there was extended discussion going on between him and Kevin that I didn't follow, but it ended up that now the Germans think my first name is Shelby Lynn, middle Rosiak, and surname Hogan.

I guess it hardly matters, but I was totally stressed out about it. I'm not sure what I was afraid of--that they would deny my application and send me home or something, but the whole transaction made me very nervous and I kept asking Kevin "is there a problem?" Anyway, it turned out to be fine and I got my official stamped piece of paper that says that I live at Valentinskamp 40 with Kevin. I guess I'm supposed to carry that around with me. It's actually kind of convenient I think in case something happens to me, they know where I'm staying and who my husband is.

Posted by Shelby at 07:50 AM | Comments (1)

February 17, 2004

Postcards For Mom

This is the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. This guy has decided to have people send postcards and other objects to him mom from around the world. The funny part? Act like you know her. Don't mention the website. She has no idea what's going on and why she's getting all this mail. He changes the object every month (this month is business cards, last month was bottlecaps). So far she thinks it's this guy's brother having his friends send mail from all over.

Go ahead, mail a postcard. Be sure to read the rules and check out what other people have sent. It's fun!

Posted by Shelby at 09:21 AM | Comments (1)

I Found the Wurst!

Today was a day of risk. I decided to do some shopping and to eat something other than french fries for lunch. I went to the Gäsemarkt and into the food court attached to a very small interior mall. I found some wurst there, a couple of different kinds, but I decided to save that for later.

Instead I headed to the Chinese food counter. I meant to order a noodle dish, but ended up with fried rice. Of course after I ordered I saw that the menu was divided into Reis and Nudel. Oops. I wasn't sure what to order so I picked one at random. It came down between two, one I couldn't decipher but had an appealing name, and one that said "mild" in the description. I picked the first. As I was watching the chef make it, I saw him toss in a big old ladle full of chili sauce. Oops again. I'm not big on spicy.

Anyway my meal turned out to be your basic fried rice with a limited amount of chicken. It didn't list chicken on the menu, not that I was upset about it, but some of the other orders specifically listed chicken so I assumed it was coming without. It was spicy, but doable. It came with a little peanut sauce (non-spicy) on the side which was excellent. I also ordered water and ended up with sparkling water, which was okay. I don't mind sparkling water. I'm just wondering how you get ahold of still water around here.

After the Chinese food I headed through the little mall area there and through a couple of streets, just meandering. I found the Marriott and the Hamburg Renaissance hotels. Both looked nice. My parents might be interested in those when they come to visit.

I followed a little side street and actually came out where I expected to! I went into the stationery store to see if I could find some ink for the pen I'd wanted the other day, but no luck there. I checked out other pens but couldn't find anything I liked.

Right before I left for shopping I was putting on my nice shoes and wouldn't you know it, my lace broke. I undid the other one and stuck it in my pocket so I could find a replacement. They're brown Bass shoes and in the US it's hard to find laces for them, so I was a little worried.

So after the stationery store I decided to head to the Alsterhaus, a department store. First I stopped in the pen section and found a Lamy I really liked. I love the way Lamy pens write, but I'm not too hot on their styles and colors. Kevin had gotten a Lamy last time that was clear and kind of cool. I used it to write a letter and liked it. Well I found the same style but in a light green metallic color. I also found a fine tip, which I think I prefer. Kevin's is a medium so I can compare. I also bought some ink in a bluish-tourquoise color to be different. I was happy with that. Actually I just realized they have a picture of my new pen on their website here. It's the fifth pen down, the Lamy AL-star metallic green. I got the fountain pen of the set. If you scroll down some more to the Lamy Vista, that's Kevin's pen.

I then headed for the escalators and stumbled on the shoe section. Literally. One of the escalators was broken and you had to walk up like stairs. At the top there was one stair that wasn't quite straight and I didn't lift my foot high enough to clear it. Luckily I caught myself, so no problems. I found the shoelace section pretty quickly and much to my delight, almost all of their laces were for brown shoes. I had the old lace with me, but wasn't sure about the size (you can see where this is going). I was debating between the 45 cm and the 60 cm with no real clue as to the actual length. Well I went with the 45 cm and of course, once I got home they are too short. *sigh* I nearly bought both--they were 1 Euro for the smaller ones and 1.25 for the larger ones, so I should have just sprung for it, but I felt confident that the small would be okay. Oh well. I'll have to go back tomorrow or sometime when I want to wear these shoes again.

I also saw the most German of the German dogs. No, not a German Shepherd, a dachshund! He was very cute. That's the first dachshund I've seen here. No beagles yet. Except for Scouter, of course. And that was today's big adventure.

Posted by Shelby at 07:46 AM

Luscious Lush

My internet connection seems to be working during the day now, although my computer still drops and picks up the signal rather often.

I haven't gone out of the house yet today and it's noon. Soon I'll take Scout for her midday constitutional. I still have to shower first.

My allergies have been acting up, unfortunately. My nose has been alternately stuffy and runny, and it itches like crazy. Good thing I brought my Benadryl.

Now I have to write about how much I love Lush. Love it, love it, love it. It's a store that handmakes their own cosmetics. Not makeup, but soaps, shampoo, bath products, etc. All of their ingredients are fresh and they have a ton to choose from. They make many of their products (like all of the soap) in large round shapes and then they cut off a chunk for you to buy. They also have solid shampoo which I just love. I like the idea of rubbing a bar of shampoo on your head and having it all foam up and everything. When we visited a few days ago, I got a soap, a shampoo, a massage bar, and a bubble bar. The bubble bar is a lump of solid bubble bath. You just break off a small piece and throw it in the bath. Very cool. The massage bar is solid but once you warm it up on a body, it turns into a nice oil which is very conducive to a massage.

Their products smell great. Everything has a different scent and it's fun to walk through the store picking up things and smelling them. I discovered Lush on a trip to Whistler, Canada (not my honeymoon to Whistler, but a family trip I'd taken earlier). They are all over the world, but it took a long time to end up in the US. I know there's one in San Francisco in Union Square, which I have visited, and I think they've expanded to other US locations, so if you have a Lush in your area, GO! You won't be sorry.

Posted by Shelby at 03:04 AM | Comments (1)

February 16, 2004

Language Classes

I took a long walk today. The temperature is quite nice, not as I'd been lead to believe. It snowed and was pretty cold the first two days here, but since then it's been quite tolerable. I still need my winter coat, but don't have to wear a sweatshirt under it.

I took my new digital camera out with me. By "new digital camera" I mean "Kevin's old digital camera, which he gave to me when he bought his new digital camera." I took some pictures of the neighborhood and things I found interesting along the way. I'll have to have Kevin make a picture page for me, since I don't have either the software to download them from the camera or Photoshop to size them correctly. I'll try to get those up as soon as possible.

In the meantime, you can check out the Miniatur Wunderland that Kevin went to on his birthday. It's a giant model railroad, which is right up his alley. I have to admit, after seeing the pictures, I'd like to go there myself.

I walked down to the Gänsemarkt and had some pommes mit käse-sauce (fries with cheese sauce). Unfortunately I forgot my purse, and while I had enough money in my pocket for pommes I didn't have enough for a drink. But I survived.

After that I walked down to the water (lake? I don't know. Have to ask Kevin) and went down to where I thought the post box was, but I couldn't find it so I must have been on the wrong street. I wandered around for a bit and then made my way to the Colón Language Center to sign up for my class. I walked in and said, "I'd like to take German lessons" and was pointed to a desk. The man asked, "Are you a beginner" and I said, "Yes!" Well I answered so quickly and enthusiastically that the whole office laughed (as did I). He explained some various options and I signed up for a class that runs 3 days a week for 2 hours at a time at 11:30 in the morning. Unfortunately I was the first person to sign up for the class at that time, and they need 5 people to run the class. It starts on March 2nd, so there's about 2 more weeks of registration. If the morning class doesn't go, I can join the evening class which already has 6 students. I really would prefer the morning class, so I'll have to evaluate my options if it doesn't work out.

I tried a new route walking back and think that it will be more direct. Unfortunately, the streets here curve and are at odd angles so sometimes you have to walk backwards to go forward. I also passed the post office, so that's a good thing to know. As it turns out, it doesn't matter that I couldn't find the post box.

I had wanted to take a picture of the stamp machine, conveniently located next to the post box. These type of machines do not dispense stamps, but rather they have a blank stamp that they print the amount onto, much like the stickers you get at the counter at a US post office. The unfortunate thing is that the machine doesn't make change, so whatever you have leftover gets put on a stamp. Kevin ended up with a 5 cent stamp. Very helpful, since it costs 1.55 Euro to go to the US and 1 Euro for a postcard.

Scout is still feeling a little anxious. She's fine when we're both home, but she doesn't like it much when we leave. This morning after Kevin left she was really clingy. We went for a walk before I left for my long walk, and it shouldn't have been anything new. For years the pattern has been to take her out, bring her in, put her in the crate, and leave myself for whatever. Today she really didn't want that. After I shut the door to the apartment I could hear her barking. Fortunately she stopped by the time I made it down to the elevator, and she didn't bark again until I walked into the apartment when I came back, so that's good. I worry a lot about her barking because our hallways echo badly, and I'm not sure how thin the walls are. The good thing is that when she does bark (at least when we're home) she only does it for a few minutes before settling down. The problem is when she's doing it late at night. Anyway, I hope that the longer we're here the more comfortable she will become.

Posted by Shelby at 07:18 AM

February 15, 2004


I'm going to start using umlauts in an attempt to more accurately write German, so the shopping area by our house is actually Gänsemarkt, and the stuff I like on my fries is käse.

Posted by Shelby at 11:23 PM

Puggies Everywhere

Today was a mellow day. We laid around and then took a walk to the language school (quite close) and to the very nice park. Scout loves the park (the smells! the smells!).

So far we've yet to see another beagle here. Or a dachshund. There have been several German Shepherds (imagine that!) and 4 pugs. Today we saw a little pug puppy. He was so cute! He came up and sniffed Scout and tried to follow us but returned to his owners when they called. The dogs here are very well trained and most of them walk around without a leash. We could never do that with Scout because she would just follow her nose somewhere and she has no sense of cars or traffic.

We walked through the Gansemarkt to get to the language school and I noticed that the Pizza Hut has an exterior window. One of the pizzas they were advertising was cheese and "salami." I wonder if it's what we consider salami, or if it's actually pepperoni and they're just calling it salami. Yesterday when we went to the grocery store there was what we call a farmer's market (I don't know what the Germans call them, probably just a market) and I noticed in one of the stands with vegetables that they had "pepperoni" and it was a type of pepper (like a large jalapeno). I'll have to be careful if I ever go to a pizzaria to not order pepperoni and end up with a mouthful of hot peppers (not my thing).

Right across from the language school was a bar. I anticipate my classmates and I commiserating over a bier after class. Or at least grabbing some salami pizza. We'll see. Class starts in March. I need to go in there while they're open and find out the gritty details (making sure to enroll myself in a beginner class rather than some upper level). It was closed when we walked by there today, but they had their schedules posted in the window. Conveniently printed in...German. Um, aren't we taking classes because we don't read German? Should be interesting.

Posted by Shelby at 09:17 AM

Apartment Pictures

Wanna see where we live? Take a tour of our apartment.

Posted by Shelby at 01:56 AM

Ups and Downs

The Internet, that is. My connection is lousy and yesterday it just pooped out entirely. After several efforts, Kevin finally found a workaround. Let's hope this continues to work. It's been very frustrating, but I've started to write a lot of handwritten letters. Hopefully that will inspire people to write me back *hint, hint*. Remember, it's only 80 cents to send a letter from the US to Germany (as opposed to nearly $2.00 from here to there). Our address is:

Shelby Hogan
Valentinskamp 40-42
20355 Hamburg

Yesterday we went shopping. Not to Wal Mart as I posted before. I am saving that for my first big shopping foray on my own. Instead we stayed in the neighborhood and visited our local grocery store. It was farther than I expected, and through a couple a turns and some old streets and I'm not sure I could find my way there again. That's not saying much. I can't find my way out of a paper bag half the time. I'm a little, shall we say, direction-impaired. Anyway, I'm going to have to walk that a few more times with Kevin before I feel confident to head out on my own.

We picked up a few essentials, like some new salad dressing. We'd gotten salad dressing at our first visit to Wal Mart and between the Buttermilk and the Yogurt flavors, we chose the buttermilk. Mistake. This stuff was so nasty I couldn't even finish the salad. Luckily the grocery store had a larger variety--French, Thousand Islands (with the s at the end), Italian, and "American." Not sure what the American dressing was--it looked almost exactly like the French. We stuck with the impossible-to-mess-up Italian and went to get some bleu cheese to crumble on top. There were no prepackaged bleu cheeses so we had to order from the cheese counter. Kevin did the ordering, but I understood the transaction and felt that I could do it in the future.

Fresh from our experience at the cheese counter, we decided to get our bread from the bakery counter. Before that, we headed to the beer aisle. Germans aren't big on 6 packs. They sell those large bottles of beer individually. At first I was kind of annoyed but later I realized that this allows us to try different beers without a major commitment, and they're easier to carry home. We started at the end of the aisle and hopefully we'll make it to the other end before we leave.

After the grocery store we came home and rested for a bit, then headed out to the Gansemarkt to check out the stores there. It's a lot larger than I thought it was. The food area is only the tip of the iceberg to the number of stores. We went to the pen store (not really a pen store, but a stationery store) and was disappointed with their selection. I found a pen I liked, but couldn't find the ink for it. Kevin swore that the department store down the street had the same pen and we should look there. The stationery store also didn't have the paper I wanted. So we went to the department store and wouldn't you know it, they didn't carry my pen. But they did have the paper and Kevin got a pen he's had his eye on.

We also visited a wine store. It was very small and overall I was unimpressed with their selection--the number, not the quality. I have no idea about the quality! We picked an Argentinian wine based solely on the label (it was very cool, made to look handmade). We haven't tried that yet (we drank the two beers we bought last night and they were good).

After returning home I was so exhausted I took a 4 hour nap! Hopefully I'll be able to build up my stamina in the coming weeks and last a little longer. Always a reminder that my heart condition is right around the corner.

Posted by Shelby at 01:52 AM

February 14, 2004

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy VD to everyone out there! Kevin and I exchanged cards and wouldn't you know it--both cards we picked out featured beagles. Big shocker there.

Another Germany observation: small bags. I'm talking about the plastic bags you put food in--the kind of thing I used Ziploc bags for in the US. Ziploc is very difficult to find here, so people either use the twist-tie kind, or this strange opaque kind. The second are shaped like plastic grocery sacks with two handles you can tie together. The weird thing is that they're antibacterial. Whoever thought of making a plastic bag antibacterial? Apparently the Germans.

Today is a shopping day. Kevin doesn't know it yet, but I'll be picking out an expensive Valentine's diamond. Or maybe not. Maybe just a new fountain pen. We're headed to the pen store and then back to Wal Mart for some more stuff we've discovered we need.

I got up super-early this morning. Well, very early for me--8:00. And to think there was a time I started work at 8:00. I don't know how I did it. Well, I do know. Not very well. I was constantly late. Oh well, those days are over. Anyway, I know I'm going to be exhausted later today. But that's okay, I take a nap every day anyway.

I've yet to consume a German beer. My God, what's wrong with me??? Perhaps we'll have to remedy that tonight.

Posted by Shelby at 02:11 AM | Comments (1)

February 13, 2004

These Are the People in your Neighborhood

Well while I was composing the last blog entry I lost my internet connection, so that’s why I didn’t post it this morning. Not like it matters to you Californians, for whom the difference is 2 am (then) and 1 pm (now). Well those in the Eastern time zone felt the loss, I just know it.

Bad news. Our elevator is broken. Did I mention we’re on the 4th floor? Yikes. And because it’s Friday afternoon I strongly suspect we won’t get it fixed until Monday at the earliest. We’ll see. I sure hope not, because it takes a lot out of me to climb the stairs.
Update: It's fixed!

I set out to go to the pen store. Actually it’s an office supply store that sells pens, which both Kevin and I collect. Kevin collects regular fountain pens and I collect dip pens, particularly the glass ones. I have some really pretty ones in my collection. I can’t wait to set up a real home where I can display them. Anyway, the directions to the pen store seemed pretty straightforward. Go down to the Gansemarkt, the shopping and food square near the house. Take the street on the right. Follow that down until I reach the first street on the right. Take that street all the way to the pen store. No problem, right? Well I couldn’t figure it out because I took two rights and ended up on Valentinskamp, which is the street where we live. So I backed up and went down the street a little more, and took the next right. This surely was right because I was walking for a little while. Then…oops, there’s Valentinskamp again! I knew I should have taken the map with me! Anyway at that point I gave up since I was a block from home and I knew I’d have to climb the stairs. Maybe tomorrow for the pen store. On the up side, I had some more pommes (fries—and I really need a better diet but that’s all I have to courage to order for now) and ordered perfectly: “klein pommes mit kase-sauce” (small fries with cheese sauce). Don’t worry, I also had some lunch at home. (as a note, just so you’re saying it right in your head, Valentinskamp is pronounced “valen-teens-kahmp”)

More below! Just click the link.

I turned on the fernseher (television) for the first time today. Looks like the only English language available is CNN World. Well I only flipped through about 10 channels and actually found two CNNs but I’m not sure of the difference between the two. I watched some German tv for a little bit, hoping that the language would sink in. My hope is that the more I expose myself, the more I will become familiar with it. I wish there was a German equivalent of Sesame Street. Anyway, a few minutes of that was all I could stand so I watched some CNN. It seemed like they spent an inordinate amount of time discussing Africa, football (soccer, that is), and African football. Oh, and the Mattel announcement that Barbie and Ken have broken up. Frankly I was glad to not get a dose of American politics. I’m so sick of that.

I did get to check out a few more stores and restaurants around the Gansemarkt. There’s a jewelry store (and the first beggar I’ve seen in Hamburg so far!) with some luscious stuff in the window. There’s also 3 pizzerias—Pizza Hut and two German ones (they’re still called pizzerias). I’ve heard that Germans like strange things on their pizza—like tuna, so I may be going American for my pizza needs. Pizza Hut even has their all you can eat pizza buffet for lunch, just like they do in the Midwest. Not that Pizza Hut is a much better alternative than the pommes I’ve been eating. There was a flower shop with some really pretty flowers set up outside. I didn’t realize that they celebrate Valentine’s Day here in Germany, but they do it just like in the US—with lots of red rose bouquets. There are 2 English language schools within a few blocks of each other. Must be big business. I know the German language school is nearby but I haven’t ventured over there yet. There was also an “American Bar” (that’s what it was called) which looked like a German bar to me. The sign gave it away—“Happy Hour 16:00-20:00.” No real American bar would be caught dead with a 24 hour clock (military excepted). There was another restaurant with “American” in the name, which I can’t remember offhand, but it purported to be a “Piano Bar.” I couldn’t help but sing Billy Joel—“Sing us a song, you’re the piano man. Sing us a song tonight.” We’ll have to check that out. I’m dying to see if they have a lounge singer.

Oh darn it, I just remembered that I’d intended to buy some fresh mini-baguettes at the bakery for dinner tonight. I knew there was something nagging me.

Our next door neighbors just walked by on our shared patio. It was a little strange because I have all of the curtains open and the patio is not large. It was a man and a woman and I looked up and the woman smiled and waved. I know Europeans have a different definition of privacy—they don’t care as much and aren’t as prude as we Americans. I like our apartment windows because we look out onto the wall and roof of the building next door, so I can keep the curtains open for the light and still walk around naked. Not that I make it a habit to walk around naked, but I can if I want to.

Frau Kural, my German teacher back at community college in San Jose, used to tell a story about German nudity and her sister. I know it’s true that in Europe people have a much more casual attitude about nudity. Any visit to a European beach will show you that. So anyway, Frau Kural’s sister was visiting her from Germany. Now Cupertino, where Frau Kural lives, is very much not Germany. Her sister had just gotten out of the shower and was changing in her room, curtains open, when the young Vietnamese gardener walks by. The sister, totally unclothed, throws open the window and shouts “Hallo!” Frau Kural says the gardener ran off and never returned. Boy, those Germans sure are friendly, hunh?

Posted by Shelby at 12:17 PM | Comments (1)

First Friday Five from Hamburg

It's those elusive morning hours when the internet works here. It only seems to work for me in the morning and at night, so I have to spend my days being more productive.

Since nothing has happened to me since I posted last night, I thought I'd do the Friday Five. Here we go:

1. Are you superstitious?
Kind of, but only about certain things. I think it's bad luck to talk about something you want as if you had it before you get it. I also have certain baseless pregnancy superstitions. But I think my biggest belief, which may or may not count as a superstition, is what goes around, comes around. That is, whatever you do to someone will be returned to you. I truly believe that and it gives me comfort when crappy things happen to me.

2. What extremes have you heard of someone going to in the name of superstition?
I can't think of any right off the top of my head, but I hate it when people use a superstition to avoid doing something. I think that it's just an excuse for being afraid and a cop-out. If you're chicken, admit it.

3. Believer or not, what's your favorite superstition?
Knock on wood. I don't really believe in it, but I do it compulsively. You know, just in case.

4. Do you believe in luck? If yes, do you have a lucky number/article of clothing/ritual?
I do think that some people are luckier than others. Like my grandma Siok for instance. She has this uncanny ability to win things. Whenever there's a door prize or raffle, she's going to win something, whereas I rarely do. My mom has some of that luck as well. I don't know what's behind it but it works for them. I consider 15 to be my lucky number even though it's never put out for me anytime I can think of. I don't really have a lucky article of clothing or a ritual.

5. Do you believe in astrology? Why or why not?
No, I think it's ridiculous. I think astrology is the complete bottom of the barrel in psychic phenomenon. If you look at it closely, every prediction or explanation is so general it could count for anyone. Of course, I feel the same way about the Meyers-Briggs test too. I think the biggest debunker for me is the way that Leos are supposed to act. Well my brother, dad, and best childhood friend are Leos and none of them act that way at all.

Oh duh, it just occurred to me why there are all of these questions about superstitions--it's Friday the 13th!

Posted by Shelby at 12:12 PM

February 12, 2004

She Name Is Scout

Lots of excitement today as we adjust to our new country. I tried out some of my German, and in almost every instance I knew I'd chosen the wrong words or sentence structure, but I got my point across and everyone was very nice to me.

Our putzfrau (cleaning lady) showed up today. For some reason I thought she would be coming on Mondays, so here I am lounging about in my pajamas when the doorbell rings. There are three women, two with buckets with cleaning supplies.

Woman #1: Hallo. Heute [something in German]
I know that heute means today so I took this to mean "Today we're going to clean your apartment."
Me (in English): I thought you were coming on Monday?
Woman: No, we come always on Saturday
I took Saturday to mean Thursday
Me: Okay!

I then made a dash for the bathroom with some clothes to make myself presentable. They shouted that they would be back in 1 hour so I jumped in the shower and changed as quickly as possible. Which was good since they came back in 20 minutes.

Two women cleaned the apartment. One bent to pet Scout and I thought I would try out some of my German.

Me: Sie name ist Scout (translation: She name is Scout. I picked the wrong pronoun.)
Woman: Scout (smiles)

Other woman: [something in German]
Me: Ich spreche nicht German (translation: I speak not German. I picked the wrong negation word.)
Other woman smiles and nods.

So I got my point across and got over the first psychological hurdle of using German. I realize that I'm not so afraid of using German as I am of people using it back to me. My comprehension is 0.01% (like one word in every sentence, if that). I know I just need to get used to it, but it's intimidating.

Scout seemed a little anxious about the house cleaners so I took her for a very long walk. It was snowing, but melting on the ground so it was pretty wet out. Scout is so short that the water and dirt gets kicked up onto her tummy. I think she needs doggie mudflaps. I was paranoid that we'd arrive when the cleaning ladies were still there and she'd track dirt all over their newly cleaned floor. Turned out we arrived after they'd left and I was able to towel her down and touch up the floor.

We walked down to the food area. The food court that I mentioned yesterday is like a mall food court ohne (without) the mall. But that's inside and I wasn't sure about the dog situation. I opted instead for the "Pom House" (they're very big on naming establishments in English. For example, there's the "Grab & Go" coffe house and the "Soup & Friends" soup place. I think they're big on ampersands as well). The Pom House is a small french fry place with a window opening on the outside. I ordered in German, and again got it a little wrong (I pronounced pommes the French way--pom--instead of the German way--poms) but the lady smiled at me and understood my order. I considered venturing out and getting the kase-sauce (cheese sauce) but I was feeling shy and nervous so I just got them plain. I passed on the ketchup/mayonnaise combo as well. And they don't give out ketchup here like in the US--they charge you 30 cents. I think it's free at McDonald's though.

Anyway, we had a very successful little (well, big) walk, and I used some of my German today so I felt very proud of myself. What an adventure!

Posted by Shelby at 11:21 AM | Comments (1)

February 11, 2004

I Have Access!

Kevin has figured out a way for me to have internet access so I'm back on my own computer.

Germany is going well so far. Our apartment is sehr (very) cute. It's basically a studio with an upstairs loft with a bed. We have a nice sized bathroom with a tub. Our kitchen is quite cute, and while we lack an oven (we have a microwave and two burners) we have a dishwasher! Hooray! The place is furnished in Ikea and the table is the same one I have, as well as a chair we have too.

We are in a great location too. A few blocks down the street there is a square with several small food places. A couple of bakeries, some soup and sandwich places, a sushi place (too bad I don't like sushi!), a food court that I haven't really explored yet, and a McDonald's and Pizza Hut, in case I need that America fix.

Tonight we went to Wal Mart to stock up on some things we're missing like a hair dryer and bath mat. I also got a small bedside table, and assembling it turned out to be a slight challenge. We have no tools! We used the point of the scissors for a phillip's head screwdriver, a butter knife for a flat head screwdriver, and we skipped putting the back on because we couldn't find a hammer substitute.

We're still missing a mailbox key. They think that the last tenant either walked off with it or lost it. Hopefully we'll be getting that soon. I may need to make another Wal Mart trip tomorrow to pick up some other things I didn't realize we needed, like napkins, pot holders, and dishwashing liquid.

Scout has made herself right at home. Kevin bought a sheepskin and she slept on that last night. Today she took a nap on the bed with me. She's taken over the small couch we have and already turned her nose down at a Germany chewie. She liked the Pedigree Kevin bought as well as the treats, so that's good.

My internet connection tends to go up and down, although it's more up than down, which is good. I still need to finish unpacking everything and work on getting to a normal time schedule here. So basically everything is going really well.

Posted by Shelby at 03:23 PM

We Made It!

After an exhausting 24 hours of travel, Scout and I made it into Hamburg. Scout did really well in her crate and throughout the car ride. Both of us were very tired but we made it all in one piece. And before I go into the details of our apartment here in Hamburg, I blogged our travels. Okay, I didn't actually blog them. I wrote them down on a piece of paper, which I will now transcribe. Warning: it's long!

Monday, 2:45 pm Pacific Standard Time
It's blogging the super old-fashioned way. That is, pencil and paper. I've just boarded the plane and am getting comfortable, relatively. It's a good thing I'm short because they really pack you in here. On board is my worst nightmare--a high school group. There is actually a teenager next to me but he has been very nice and polite so that's good. Checking Scout in went well. I ended up having to attach her water bowl and tape her food to the crate. They said they will give her water before we take off. She did a lot of panting. Hopefully she'll do less panting and barking if she can't see me. There's another dog aboard so maybe they can communicate with each other.

Jamie drove me to the airport and we had a bite to eat at Nancy's. Oh great, there's a little kid behind me and he's already banging against my seat. Have to put a stop to that quickly. Looks like our movies are Anger Management and Chicago. Chicago I've seen twice and Anger Management I'm not all that interested in, but I'll probably watch them anyway because it makes the time go faster.

7 hours, 57 minutes left to go
according to Air Show. Go Kevin's dad! Air Show is the program that runs on the tv screen that shows a map tracking your plane as well as information on how much time is left on the flight, airspeed, altitude, time at destination, and outside temperature. Kevin's dad works on Air Show. I wanted to point this out to my seatmate but I thought that would be kind of geeky.

Speaking of my seatmate, we had a little chat. His school group of 44 students is flying from Frankfurt to Milan and touring Italy for 12 days. Reminds me of the class trips I took in high school to France and Italy. And the band trip to Vancouver. Not to mention the two middle school trips to Washington DC. I swear, when I'm a parent I'll never chaperone a trip like that. Not that my parents ever did, I'm just saying. Send the kid off and tell them to have a good time, but no thank you for me.

I am seated one row behind the bulkhead and the woman facing the wall has a baby. The flight attendant set up what looks like a portable crib against the wall. Pretty cool. No crying from the baby yet. My nose is running like mad and I have exactly 1 Kleenex. This happens to me every time. You'd think I would be better prepared. I'm going to have to stock up from the bathroom.

Just finished the first movie
It turned out to be School of Rock with Jack Black instead of Anger Management. That was one I've been wanting to see. I love Jack Black. It was a very fun movie, except in the closing credits the girl on the bass got gypped. I think we're about halfway through the flight now (no Air Show display) and it's been pretty painless. I wonder how the Scouter is doing. Poor thing. I hope she's warm enough in her sweater.

And speaking of warm enough, I can't believe how some people dress (or don't) for the plane. I saw two of the high school girls wearing these super-tight tank tops that are little more than sports bras. Now I don't care what they wear, but honey, you're going to freeze in that! I mean wear some sleeves!

These seats could not possibly be closer together. You can't even bend down to pick up something off of the floor because the seat in front of you is so close. I've had to do this weird foot/leg maneuver to get ahold of my water bottle. Good lord!

Just finished the second movie
It was Freaky Friday, not Chicago. Guess the magazine lied. It was really funny. Now I want to go back and watch the original. Unfortunately it didn't eat up as much time as I would have liked. Too bad they didn't show the extended version of Lord of the Rings.

Bathroom Break
I waited for the lady on the aisle (I'm at the window) to wake up so I could go to the bathroom. It wasn't urgent but you know one must take these opportunities when they arise. It was nearly impossible to get out of the seat. Unbelievable. Should try to get some rest now.

2 hours left
Well, so much for trying to get to sleep. No sooner had I retrieved my blanket off the floor (not easy), inflated my pillow, and taken off my glasses did they flip on all of the lights in the plane. Air Show came back on and we have 2 hours left instead of the 3 I thought we did. Well, jetlag is going to be a challenge, I can tell you that. I'm sure I'll sleep in the car from Frankfurt to Hamburg but I wish I'd gotten some on the plane.

And that's the end of my handwritten notes. To sum up, the baby never cried (amazing) and the high schoolers were very well behaved. Picking up Scout was a breeze. I never even had to show the paperwork or anything. Of course, I casually walked through the "Nothing to declare" line at customs but no one stopped me.

Kevin was right there. He had taken the train down to Frankfurt and we rented a car back. The car ride was uneventful. I did fall asleep, though not for very long. I was feeling quite ill but taking a nap helped. At one point we had to pull over and Kevin took a little catnap as well. By the time we made it to the apartment I'd been traveling for nearly 24 hours. It was about 5:00 in the afternoon local time. I pretty much passed out for a nap and got up around 10:00 and had some dinner. I slept through the night but woke up at 5:00 am. Scout was wandering the apartment, apparently suffering from jetlag as well. But I made it back to sleep and got up at 9:30.

Posted by at 02:10 AM | Comments (4)

February 08, 2004


Well this is the earliest I've ever finished packing before a trip of any kind, let alone a 6 month stay. I'll even get to bed at a decent hour. I think I've gotten everything, sans a pair of pants I took to the cleaner's and had hemmed. I need to pick those up tomorrow. My other tasks are cleaning up the poop off the lawn, taking out the trash and recycling, and going to the store to buy some snacks. My note says:

That ought to do it. Oh, I better write myself a note to pack the computer! Okay, done. Good night folks. See you in a few days, from Deutschland!

Posted by Shelby at 11:25 PM

Luggage Tags, and the Case of the Drifting Cursor

Taking a break from packing now. It's going really well so far and I'm busy but not panicked (yet).

I am the Luggage Tag Queen! I was concerned about some of the bags that don't have luggage tags, so Kevin did a little digging in the house and found the jackpot. Mom's a travel agent, and the most popular giveaway is a luggage tag. Get it? Travel agent! Luggage tag! (they also give away an inordinate amount of post-it notes, but I wasn't looking for those). So I collected a handful of luggage tags and wrote our German address on one side and our US address on the other. Then I went around happily distributing luggage tags to every bag I think I might take. If they get lost, I've done all I can.

And I have this annoying drifting cursor problem when I don't use a mouse with my laptop. It's a Toshiba laptop and I don't really like the trackpoint mouse so I usually use a regular USB mouse. Well the mouse is packed so lately I've been using the trackpoint, and it has this peculiar problem: occassionally the cursor will drift to the right across the screen. This is driving me CRAZY! Kevin, who claims he's never had this problem, suggested that perhaps there is some dust or dirt underneath the little nub causing the problem. So the last few times I've been pulling it off and blowing on it--no solution. Either that, or I've been pushing down on it hard driving it around the screen thinking that it was stuck or something. Well, as I have now learned, that just makes the problem worse!

I finally typed in "drifting cursor" into Google and immediately found an IBM ThinkPad discussion board with threads on this very topic! Apparently there's some software that checks with the trackpoint and if you happen to be moving it at that time, it records it as non-use, or something. Anyway, the guy's explanation was a lot clearer but basically the solution is to just let the cursor go and the program will check it again and correct it in a few seconds.

Phew! Now I won't be screaming anymore.

Posted by Shelby at 07:06 PM | Comments (1)

Good Stuff

Well now that that prescription stuff is out of my system, I can report on the good things happening here lately.

Yesterday was a really fun day. In the morning I headed out to Yorba Linda (home of the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace) to see my friend Jamie. We went to Chili's for lunch where I had my beloved buffalo wings, ran some errands, washed our cars which mine desperately needed, and went out for pie. In the evening I got an invitation from Debbie and Martyn (Martyn was the one who escorted me to the wine tasting Friday) for dinner, so I went over to their house and had a very nice dinner and chitchat.

This morning my friend Nell came down from Valencia (still in LA, but about an hour away without traffic) to have breakfast. She got to ride in my Miata for the first time, which was fun. We had a nice little visit and it was good to catch up with her.

Then I got another call from Jamie, and she has rearranged her schedule so she can take me to the airport tomorrow! I had initially arranged for a shuttle, but Jamie said she felt bad that there was no one there to send me and Scout off and she had a sudden schedule rearrange at Disneyland so she was available. That's very cool of her and I really appreciate the ride. So I'll have a friendly face to see me on my way.

Now it's just laundry and sorting and packing. Kevin took a bunch of stuff from my bags so I have some room left to work with, but I need to decide what I want to take in each bag and how I want to work out my carryons and stuff. Busy afternoon!

Posted by Shelby at 03:10 PM | Comments (1)

Got That Taken Care of

After that whole medicine/pharmacy/prescription fiasco yesterday, I finally got ahold of them this morning and guess what the information was that they needed?

They needed my address.

Never mind that 3 weeks ago I ordered medicine online and put in the Torrance address, checking the box that said "use this for subsequent orders." Never mind that in spite of that they still called me last Tuesday to get my address, at which time I repeated the Torrance address and asked them specifically to change my record so that all medication will be sent here. Never mind that they sent 2 different orders of medicine to this house in the last two weeks. And never mind that in this most recent order of 4 medications, 3 of them got sent here and this last one, which was a part of the same order that made it here, was somehow singled out to be cancelled because they "didn't know" what address to send it to.

I'm both annoyed and relieved. Relieved that this is all it was and that I don't have to try to track down my doctor on Monday morning before I leave. Annoyed that they're so stupid they can't send my medication to the right address despite my telling them three times and their successfully sending it here twice.

Plus the customer disservice lady got all snippy with me, because it was clearly my fault that they can't get my address right. I asked how it could be possible that 3/4 of the same order can get sent to the right address and the last 1/4 was so confusing they had to call me to ask me what the address is. And I mean ask me--not confirm. I had to spell out the complete address as they typed it in. The lady was like "Well this is done by machine and sometimes the machine makes mistakes" and I was like "well put a special note in my file so this 'mistake' doesn't happen again." There was some discussion on whether or not that can be done (it can't--surprise!) but she assured me that now that they have my address, all future orders will go there. I won't be putting money on that, but we'll see. Anyway, I'm glad that's done. And I have enough to last me until I can get this next shipment.

Posted by Shelby at 03:01 PM

Happy Birthday Kevin!

Some long distance birthday wishes for my husband in Germany. Happy Birthday Kevin! We love you and miss you and we'll see you soon.

Posted by Shelby at 09:51 AM

February 07, 2004


What is WRONG with these prescription people?!?! I'm positively ripping out my hair.

Got the mail today and much to my delight, there's the package of meds I've been waiting for. Phew, that's a relief. Oh look, 4 messages on the machine. Uh huh, uh huh, uh huh, "This is Advance PCS [the idiot mail order people] and there's been a problem with your order. Please call us at blah blah blah." Oh no.

I check the meds out and sure enough, there's a problem. I take a medicine called Toprol XL. It's the primary medication for my heart condition, the one that saved my life. You know, the important one. Well I take it twice a day. In the morning I take 75 mg and in the evening it's 100 mg. Previously I'd been getting a bunch of 50 mg pills and taking 1 and 1/2 in the mornings and 2 at night. Sound easy enough? Oh no, my friend.

They sent me one bottle of 100 mg pills with instructions to take it once a day in the evenings. Uhhhh, where's my 75??? Nowhere to be seen. So I call the customer help line. HA! After 10 minutes of listening to options and pressing buttons, I learn that they're closed, of course. They have the very convenient weekend hours of 8 am to 3 pm Mountain time (which translates to 7 am to 2 pm). And of course I didn't get home until 5 this afternoon sooo...make a note to call them tomorrow.

Then I happen to be going through the rest of the mail and guess who sent me a letter? That's right--Advance PCS. And what do they say? Here it is:

We regret that we are unable to fill your prescription for Metorpolol (75)...
You regret? Yeah, I'm sure you're all broken up over it. And they spelled the medication wrong.

It was necessary for AdvanceRX to contact your physician to obtain prescription authorization
And why is that? They HAD the prescription. I know, we faxed it to them ourselves. Not only that, but I've been taking this medication at this dosage and frequency for a year. Why is this a problem now?

We were unsuccessful in obtaining the information we needed to fill your order.
Oh yeah, right. My doctor is the most accommodating person I know. He has gone above and beyond to work out these prescription difficulties (yes, this has happened more than once) before. I doubt they even called him.

We were also unable to reach you to inform you of the situation.
NO WAY!!!!! This letter was mailed on Tuesday, and the only phone message I got was from today. They are totally lying.

If you wish to have your order filled through our pharmacy, it will be necessary for you to obtain a new prescription.
This is just bullshit! We just faxed them a brand-spanking-new prescription two weeks ago! And of course this could all be taken care of if they had called my doctor, but apparently they're not even going to try that. No, now it's my responsibility to obtain a new prescription saying the exact same thing the prescription two weeks ago said. This is ridiculous.

Because yeah, I have nothing better to do with my time these days than call my doctor and ask him AGAIN to call this stupidf***ing pharmacy and get the prescription right when it was perfectly clear the first time around.

You might remember that I'm leaving for Germany on Monday morning. Boy am I glad I had the foresight to get that backup prescription yesterday. Now at least I'll have enough to get me through until we can sort this out. I just can't believe it. I hate these people.

You know, this is raising my blood pressure, and that's very bad for my heart.

Posted by Shelby at 06:01 PM

February 06, 2004


Well the day was dragging and I had no evening plans, so I decided to take myself out. My parents belong to a wine-tasting group called FAWG (Friday Afternoon Wine Group). FAWG meets every Friday evening with different FAWG members hosting. There is usually a theme (tonight's was Bordeaux blends) and you bring a bottle and an appetizer. My parents have belonged to FAWG for, oh, about 20 years now, and I've attended several events.

Anyone can come to a tasting, so I invited myself tonight. I called friends of the family who are also in the wine group and carpooled to the tasting. There were lots of people there I knew and I had a good time. I didn't contribute either a wine or food (I was a mooch, I know) but it was really nice.

I'm usually a huge fan of appetizers. I've been known to eat at restaurants and order a few appetizers for my meal. But there were some unfortunate choices tonight. For a few minutes there, each appetizer was worse than the previous. I finally escaped to the cheese plate (someone always brings cheese) and the shrimp (someone always brings shrimp) and things went well from there. Then we had some awesome choices so I was happy.

Of course I was a one subject person tonight.
"Where's your mom and dad?"
"Still in New Zealand."
"Is Kevin here?"
"No, he's already in Germany."
"I thought you were going to Germany."
"Yes, on Monday."

Anyway, I'm glad I got out of the house and did something social. I already have activities lined up for the weekend so that should take my mind off of missing Kevin and being anxious/excited to get to Germany. Tomorrow I'm hanging out with my friend Jamie, and Sunday it's breakfast with Nell. In fact, I should get to bed.

Posted by Shelby at 11:33 PM

I'm So Blue

The color, I mean.


You give your love and friendship unconditionaly. You enjoy long, thoughtful conversations rich in philosophy and spirituality. You are very loyal and intuitive.

Find out your color at Quiz Me!

Posted by Shelby at 11:22 PM | Comments (3)

Friday Five

To try to take my mind off of the stuff happening today, I'm going to do the Friday Five.

1. What's the most daring thing you've ever done?
Daring--that's an interesting word. I can't say I've ever been skydiving or bungee jumping. I think the most daring thing(s) I've done have been picking up and moving to different states where I knew nobody every 2-3 years ever since I graduated high school. I grew up in LA, yet went off to Indiana for school. When that didn't work out, I moved to Michigan to finish school. After that I moved to Missouri for grad school, and after that it was moving to San Jose for work. In each case I knew nobody in the area, yet trusted my own ability to make friends and fit in (better in some places than others). I know a lot of people who have never left their home states, have never lived further than an hour from home, or have never actually left home. I think it takes guts to just pick up and go.

2. What one thing would you like to try that your mother/friend/significant other would never approve of?
I have always wanted to climb Mt. Everest. I think everyone who knows me would be very against this idea. Of course, I don't have the capability of climbing Mt. Everest, but that wasn't part of the question.

3. On a scale of 1-10, what's your risk factor? (1=never take risks, 10=it's a lifestyle)
Well, it depends. I used to be more of a thrill seeker before I got sick. Having this heart condition has really impacted my feeling of safety in the world, and I am much more cautious than I used to be. On the other hand, I'm taking a big risk in moving to Germany (where I don't speak the language) for 6 months, as well as applying to grad school, and not knowing where I'm going to be living (what state even) when our time in Germany is over. Yes, I'll be with Kevin the whole time, but he will be working full time and I'm going to have to find my way in Hamburg on my own. I think that a lot of people would not have the courage to do this.

4. What's the best thing that's ever happened to you as a result of being bold/risky?
I have had some great adventures, met some really cool people (including my husband), and have great memories and stories to tell.

5. ... and what's the worst?
I have ended up in some very hostile places (read: Missouri) and have had some really depressing times.

Overall I can't complain though. I think these questions aren't very good because there's different definitions of risk. One is doing something potentially dangerous or life-threatening, and another is trying something out of your comfort zone like moving somewhere or telling someone that you love them when you're not sure they feel the same way. I have not taken many of the first kind of risks because I have a very strong sense of self-preservation. But I have taken lots of the second type of risk, and have had both good and bad outcomes, but mostly good. There are very few things I regret.

Posted by Shelby at 04:45 PM

Bad Day

Well it's a crappy day for Kevin across the sea, and it's not going so well here either. I had a small but expensive crisis with my medicine due to a prescription plan my insurance company forces me to use.

For long-term medicine we have to use one of those mail-in pharmacies. The advantage is that I can get 3 months at a time. The disadvantage is that they are slow and unresponsive. Well they lost one of my prescription refills which I figured out on one of the last days we were in San Jose. We faxed in the prescription and everything seemed to be going fine until they called me last week to find out what address I wanted it shipped to (even though I went online and changed my address and checked the box that said "use this address for all subsequent orders). Well I should have gotten overnight delivery but that wasn't communicated clearly, so here I sit with less than a week's worth of one of my most important heart meds.

This has happened before, of course. And that time I had my doctor call in a prescription to my local pharmacy in San Jose and I got a week's worth and had to pay out of my own pocket because the mail order pharmacy had already filled the order, it just hadn't arrived yet. Same situation here. Luckily I still had the bottle from the first time this happened, so I went down to Sav-On and had them transfer the prescription and give me two weeks worth of medicine. Of course this isn't covered by insurance so I had to pay out of pocket.

Hopefully this supply will last me long enough to get the stuff from the mail order pharmacy. Boy, this really sucks. Of course, watch it come in the mail tomorrow. Well actually I'd be elated if that happened because I wouldn't have to worry about it anymore.

Today is definitely shaping up to be a difficult day.

Posted by Shelby at 04:32 PM


Our former landlord is completely screwing us and we are helpless in the face of it. It's very upsetting. I won't get into it here, lest I dissolve in a torrent of swear words.

Honestly I don't know how these people sleep at night.

Posted by Shelby at 02:09 PM

February 05, 2004

Late Night Here

Are you reading Kevin's Blog? You should be! Go there now! I'll wait...

Kevin put up some pictures of our moving out process. But of course if you were reading his blog you would know that already.

I had a fun night. Headed down to Laguna Hills to see my brother and sister in law and my two nieces. Had a nice visit and Chinese dinner and then I did something I've never, ever done before:

watched an episode of Survivor.

It was okay. I also watched part of The Apprentice but had to cut it short to watch CSI. Big night of television for me!

But I'm off to bed now.

Posted by Shelby at 11:42 PM

A Bizarre Dream

I had a dream last night that was so funny I actually wrote it down when Scout woke me up in the middle of the night so I wouldn't forget it. See, I'm always thinking of you, my blog audience. Anyway as it turns out I remember the dream fully so I didn't need to write it down after all. It went like this:

I was in a small public bathroom of the quality you see in roadside rest stops or prisons. The bathroom had no stalls, just a sink and a scary looking toilet. And there was me. And a full-grown mountain lion. The sink was rather large and it had one of those skirts that goes around the bottom. So I jumped up into the sink, thinking if the lion can't see me, I won't get eaten. I'm busy making myself as small as possible in the sink when I realize that my friend Sherri is also in the bathroom with me. At this point the mountain lion has crawled under the skirt of the sink and is asleep.

Sherri and I share a brief crying jag where we agree that we don't want to die. And although she's one of my best friends, I selfishly refuse to share my sink. In fact, I realize that this bathroom is where she works (she works for the Los Angeles park and rec department), and I actually hold her a little responsible for this lion thing. So I think it's only fair that I get the sink and she doesn't.

In the meantime, Sherri whips out this giant plumber's wrench. You know the big one that takes off all kinds of bolts and pipes and stuff. Now you would think that we would use this very solid and heavy wrench to bludgeon the lion to death, but we don't. We agree that the best course of action is to remove the toilet from the wall. I'm not sure what this is supposed to accomplish but it seems like a really good idea. And then Sherri has to get to work on the toilet because as I may have mentioned, I'm not leaving my sink.

At this point Scout wakes me up, much to my chagrin. I really wanted to see what was going to happen. I'm sure that Sherri saved the day with her toilet removal while I cowardly croached in the sink.

I think this dream has two sources. One is my visit to Sherri's work yesterday. She does work at a public park and while I did not visit the bathrooms there, I'm sure I was thinking of public restrooms as normally found in parks. The other source was a news article a few weeks ago about a mountain lion attack in Mission Viejo where a woman my age was pulled off of her bike (she lived).

Posted by Shelby at 01:19 PM | Comments (1)

Not Much to Report

Not much to say today. I must have not gotten enough sleep last night because I sure slept a lot today. I went up to downtown LA to have lunch with Sherri. Very fun. We ate at Marie Callendar's and I had some potato cheese soup and apple pie. Hard to beat that. Then I came home and just slept. And slept. And slept. Scout wasn't too excited about my choice of daytime activities, but she did cuddle up with me for a few hours.

Tomorrow I'm off to southern Orange County to see my brother and sister in law and my two nieces, Corie (8) and Seana (18 months). I can't believe I'm going to miss 6 months of their lives. They're going to grow up so much! Well at least I'll get some quality time in before I leave.

Posted by Shelby at 12:13 AM

February 03, 2004

Blogroll Changes

For all you non-bloggers out there, a blogroll is a list of blogs that you link to on your own blog. My blogroll is rather small because I keep it to the blogs that I actually read daily. I have added Kevin to the blogroll along with two other blogs I recently discovered. I have removed one due to tedious content (how many times can you say the same thing?).

Posted by Shelby at 06:43 PM | Comments (2)

Kevin Has A Blog!

It's a must-read. He made it safely to Hamburg and is busy setting up the last little details for me and Scout. And as an added bonus, read all about our a**hole difficult landlord in the moving out process.

You can find Kevin's blog here:

An American in Hamburg

Go there! Now! Bookmark it!

Posted by Shelby at 06:31 PM

A Night With Sherri and Laura

I had a good time tonight, having dinner and watching a movie with my friends Sherri and Laura. Getting there was a challenge, however. I left the house at approx. 3:05. Bad idea. My parents live at the middle of two hills (which meant that going to school as a kid was quite literally uphill both ways. No snow though). There's a cross street a few blocks from my parent's that is also a hill. Go left on this street and hit an elementary school. Go right and hit a light, then a middle school. I attended both of these schools.

Well back in my day (and let's face it, it wasn't that long ago) we walked to school. Not so anymore. There was an enormous line of cars stretching up and down the streets, all SUVs or minivans, and only a handful of kids walking. Sure, I remember a few kids getting picked up from school, and always wishing that kid were me (I was extremely lazy as a child), but come on. This was ridiculous.

After a good 10 minutes getting out of the neighborhood, I was well on my way to late. Sherri and Laura live on Mount Washington in LA. The roads are windy and extremely confusing so I usually meet Sherri at the IHOP and follow her up the road. I was nearly a half an hour late but luckily Sherri hadn't given up on me yet. Going up to their house, I was extremely pleased that I'd taken my mom's behemoth (super duper Chrysler minivan) rather than my own car (a Miata) because I would not have wanted to navigate these streets and turns with a stick shift. Some of the streets rivaled San Francisco in steepness. It was insane.

We had a great mexican dinner and then went back to watch Whale Rider. This was my Christmas present from Sherri and Laura in a rather bizarre exchange of gifts. See, there's last year, when I got S & L a book, but forgot to bring it down to LA to give it to them. This year I stopped and got them 2 bottles of a wine they love on my way down to LA over Christmas. However, I forgot last year's book again this year. Throughout Christmas break, we never quite got it together to visit, so we arranged a plan. I would leave their wine in the laundry room (which is accessible from the outside) and they could drop off our gift and pick up theirs. Great, except I forgot to leave their gift out, and they dropped ours off mere hours after we left to go back to San Jose. They did, however, leave our gift and went home empty-handed. I left the wine in LA knowing I would be back soon and could hopefully give it then. So back in San Jose, we pack everything up and what do we find, but the book from last year's Christmas, still wrapped with a little red bow. Great! Now we can give them both gifts. Meanwhile my parents take off for New Zealand. This becomes important when I get to LA and start looking around. Can't find the wine. I checked the bedrooms, closets, garage, and even (of all places) the wine cellar and...nothing. I did manage to find their gift for me and I did bring the book down for them, so it wasn't a complete bust. Their gift for me turned out to be the Whale Rider DVD and a gift for Kevin I don't want to give away even though he won't see it until August (unless it disappears into the same place the wine went to). And the good thing was that Sherri and Laura liked the book.

So anyway, Sherri suggested I bring Whale Rider to watch tonight and I did. If you haven't seen this movie, you must do so! It's a great story and the acting is incredible, especially the little girl who plays the main character, Keisha Castle-Hughes. I really hope she wins the Oscar for best actress. She definitely deserves it.

Posted by Shelby at 12:13 AM

February 01, 2004

States I've Been To

As best as I can remember, red are states I've been to...

create your own visited states map
or write about it on the open travel guide

via Mom With Attitude

Posted by Shelby at 11:02 PM | Comments (1)

Super Bowl, Part 2

Well I got sucked into turning on the Super Bowl. I'm a little bummed out since Kevin left today but I still have a week to stew before going over, and the house is so empty and quiet, I decided to turn on the most important game in the universe.

I came in at the second quarter and quickly picked the team I wanted to root for (the Panthers--better uniforms). I watched a few commercials and was unimpressed. And apparently there's a hot new kid in advertising. There was an IBM commercial (dumb) that featured this kid and Muhammed Ali. Then during the next break there was another commercial for Chrysler and the same kid was on there. Doh! You know someone's going to get it Monday morning.

Now it's the halftime show. Janet Jackson. I mean, Janet Jackson? Has she done anything lately? Apparently not because she just got finished singing "Rhythm Nation" which was popular when I was in high school, and I'm out of my 20s now. And it wasn't even a great song to begin with. You'd think they could do a little better.

I remain unimpressed.

Update: There's a new type of Viagra drug out now. Geez. I've stopped watching the game in favor of reading an article on the Internet about car salesmen. It's more interesting. I try to go into the other room when I hear a commercial but it seems like 90% of the commercials are either for the NFL or for programs on CBS. So much for the witty, original commercials I remember. Or maybe the commercials just seem better when you're sitting at a party with a beer in one hand and a bowl of chili in the other.

Update: A funny commercial, finally! This one was for Aloha Airlines and featured people sitting in plane seats, obviously inflight. There were two flight attendants at the front auctioning off a cheese sandwich, which they sell for $9.00. It was actually pretty funny and did the trick because I remembered that it was Aloha Airlines.

Update: AOL has a really dumb commercial. And I've seen it more than once. What a waste of money.

Update: Great anti-tobacco commercial--go to www.shardsoglass.com

Final Update: Well my chosen team lost. And so ends Super Bowl XXXVIII

Posted by Shelby at 05:37 PM