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Looks like lots of you are still reading this blog and not the new and improved site I switched to last week….
Here it is again! Bookmark it, delete the old one, add it to your reading list today…
Go ahead! Head on over and SUBSCRIBE!
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Click here! The Heather Chronicles
Unless you’re a guy, in which case, I’m sure you think you need this on your shelf….
Book no guy needs ever. If you have the stuff, you don’t need a book. And if you don’t, the book just isn’t going to help you lying around looking all stupid and collecting dust.
Today, as I’m walking to get something for lunch, I round the corner and see two young girls have set up a lemonade stand on base. This obviously leads me to almost jump up and down with excitement because:
1. Who doesn’t love a good lemonade stand? Unless you’re German, because in which case you don’t have them because you don’t have lemonade. Add it to the list of things that confuse me about this country.
2. I was the owner and manager of many back in the day and employed 1-4 siblings over many summers. We had quite the operation, though some days it was Kool-Aid.
3. I believe kids should be put to work as soon as they can walk so clearly I was happy to see these kids keeping busy. Just because you’re a child doesn’t mean you get a free ride.
4. It was insanely hot today and I was parched.
5. I’m pretty charitable.
So. I approach the stand and as i do, I see a soldier walk up and give them a dollar and then leave with no lemonade. Hmmm. Too charitable, I think. Wouldn’t kill him to toss down a drink to show the kids that they need to actually produce something to get the dollar.
Now I’m at the front of the stand, which looks like this:
So even though I think their stand is bullshit already, lacks effort, lacks pricing and lacks enthusiasm, I start in with a “Hiiiiii, ladies. Selling lemonade today?”
“Yeah,” they state flatly, not looking up at me and not smiling. I remember back to the days where we used to jump up and down and scream for cars, doing cartwheels and high kicks and smiling up a damned storm for a quarter. Oh dear god, I just said quarter.
“Can I have a glass?” YOu wouldn’t really think I’d have to ask.
“Do you want Crystal Light (which is a damned diet lemonade) or Country Time (which is old school and awesome and used to come in the can at the country store by my house when I was younger)?” I noticed the lack of real lemons, sugar and a decorative pitcher filled with ice. Now I’m aware you want to make jugs of powered lemonade for affordability purposes, but could you just humor me and give me some ambiance at your stand?
“I’ll have the Country time. It’s the best. By the way, is that a friendship bracelet you’re making?” I ask one of them and I realize I am stilling trying to talk to them for God knows what reason.
One of the girls looks me up and down like I don’t need the Country Time and maybe I should consider the Crystal Light and I want to slap the look off her face but hitting other people’s children is apparently unacceptable so I consider just telling her she looks homeless. The other one, the one making said bracelet rolls her eyes, making them almost fall out of her damned head, sighs and informs me its a lanyard, not a bracelet, in a tone that I translate into, HEY OLD WOMAN, GO AWAY.
“Do you want a full glass or half glass?” Interesting enough, there is no pricing anywhere so I just pick the full one. Now as I reach into my bag to take out $5, which I think is a pretty nice donation, she goes to hand me my drink and take my money but before she does, she inserts,
“You really actually want the lemonade?” She looked at me like I was annoying her.
Yes. Yes I want the damned lemonade. Yes, I want what you are selling. This isn’t a damned tollbooth I stumbled upon, is it? Because if it isn’t, the way this works is I pay you for something and you give it to me. GOOD GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH KIDS THESE DAYS????
Do I want my goddamned lemonade.
This weekend, the Dynamic Gay Duo referred to me as Tater Tot. Like that was my name. In place of Rhonda. The minute I heard it linger in the air, I snapped my head and said, ummm, WHAT.
There was no amount of times the word CUTE could have been used. Cute like a nugget was worse. Even my sister’s cat named Nugget has a weight (and attitude) problem. I was going to losemyshit.
“TATER TOTS ARE NOT CUTE.” I stated and I haven’t heard it since.
So last night I looked back to 500 pictures from two weekend trips in a row and I’ve come up with the following analysis. I can take the same picture three times and one I look skinny as all get out. That one gets posted. One I look awkward like I’m slow mentally and that one does not get posted, unless it’s super funny in which I will take one for the team and let you all have a good laugh. The third looks like it’s my Biggest Loser application picture and I look two hundred pounds heavier than picture 1. And I have no chin. And I gained a face full of bad skin. So out of 500 pictures, I had 400 good ones (most of houses), 70 awkward ones and 30 that made me look like a tater tot.
So I’m confused but thought best not to focus on my confusion but instead ask a friend from back home how her detox is going, because obviously this comparison to me and a fried treat is not optimal.
“How’s your detox going,” I ask, totally wanting her to succeed and hoping it’s as easy as eating butter, because if that’s the case, I’m totally in.
“Great. I lost 12 pounds and I can eat meat and cheese now!” After a week. A week of just vegetables and fruit and she doesn’t even sound like she wants to stab me through the computer. That and she bakes all damned weekend and didn’t even try her creations.
“Umm, 12 pounds in 7 days? And you’re doing this for 21 days? And you really ate NO CUPCAKES THIS WEEKEND?” I ate 5 macaroons half asleep at 6pm last night and GOD, do I need a damned juicer and then I remembered this detox is also alcohol free. Ugh. Now that is more problematic than not having a juicer.
“No, 12 weeks. And yeah, I didn’t have any cupcakes this weekend.” And she’s serious because she is always so responsible. Damn her and her sober and responsible hobbies and ambition.
“Did you say 12 weeks?? God. I’ve never done anything for 12 anything. Not even 12 days.” I would have said 12 hours but god, that really highlights my love of lazy.
But seriously? I can’t think of anything I’ve given up for 12 days. Except tater tots, as of Sunday. You can count on that.
I’ve googled that phrase “old men from around the world” a few times lately and nothing really pops up in images. I really thought someone would have taken this idea I have already and ran with it.
I want to make a coffee table book of pictures of little old men around the world. I’ve started to take pictures in the cities I go to and on the days I snap a few of older gents that seem to capture the essence of the country or city I’m visiting, I’m quite tickled with myself.
The thing about little old men is that they congregate. They get together every afternoon on park benches or by fountains or on stoops and then sit, all lined up, talking to each other about God knows what but I bet whatever it is, it’s a great conversation.
And they dress up to do it. They wear shirts and ties and coats and vests and hats and canes and shoes with buckles and pants with patches. They bring canes and cigars or pipes. They drink turkish tea or black coffee and they sit and they watch and they talk.
Little old men have a lifetime of things to share that you can see in depths of their eyes, in the deep wrinkles in their faces, the calluses in their hands, their laugh lines, their gray hairs, their slow walks, their silent nods.
Here are a few pictures that I took with this in mind in Greece and Turkey.
This was him when he saw me staring at him. Could be he was pissed at me, or annoyed that his wife was yelling and waving a broom around causing a scene.
It’s the people I’ve met around the world and the moments I’ve shared with people nothing like me that I cherish the most. I just need to be sure to capture more photos and more memories like these. I’ll one day forget all the details of the crazy stories about beer fest and the time we got lost in the Alps and all the other random fun things I’ve done but the people, I’ll never be able to forget the people.
Let’s go over the primary reasons I’m taking German:
1. Because I live here and believe that if you’re going to live somewhere outside of your own country, you should know or try to speak the language. Yes, I’m three years late but oh well.
2. I will not have to live in a world of constant paranoia anymore and hopefully, I’ll be able to learn the phrases, Why are you looking at me? STOP STARING AT ME, You could smile once in a while, and the very important, I can HEAR YOU TALKING ABOUT ME.
3. It’ll help with my many and frequent Politzi run-ins. Though I hope to lower my fugitive status in the future, it wouldn’t kill me to learn, Why are you at my house now, Yes, I will turn in my license to you WHEN I DO NOT NEED IT, I’m sorry and please don’t deport me.
4. My German advisors will be so impressed and it will secure my presence at Camp Normandy this fall, where I can drink all of their beer and I don’t have to sit around and listen to hours of conversation and only understand 6 words, Ja being one of them.
5. I will hopefully be able to cause less of a scene in public when I don’t understand or really need help with something and charades and pictionary and pointing don’t work.
Like today. Today I horrified this poor, unsuspecting girl at the Vet and she didn’t see it coming and I had no idea what to do. I’m sure I left a lasting impression and even I am not impressed with myself. Now don’t take the following story too seriously. Even I can find the humor in being one of the waiting room guests.
So I get a call from the girl who actually speaks English, telling me to come pick up dog food early so they can close at noon. I arrive early, drinking my iced coffee and listening to Bigsta Beats and having a grand old time on my morning drive around town. Well, that all ended the minute I walked in the Vet and smelled the place, which sent me spiralling back to the day I arrived to go see Moxie the day after she passed.
I didn’t expect a meltdown of epic proportions, but that is exactly what the poor girl and four other families witnessed before lunch today. All of a sudden, my hands started shaking, I felt hot and light-headed and tears started to pour out of my eyes so aggressively that knowing I couldn’t stop this breakdown, I turned quickly away from everyone and faced the door I just came through, hoping to do some deep breathing, quick wiping of the tears and get through the pick-up and get out of there.
But then someone walked through the door because of course that would be my luck. So now I’m weeping facing someone, which surprised them so they said something, which then made everyone in the room look at me, which made me face the opposite wall as quick as possible, but then I realized, ummm, you are facing a wall like you’re being punished and everyone is still staring at you so you should maybe do something like get your shit together.
Then the new girl at the desk tried to let me go first and speak to me in German which was horrifying because I didn’t know the words dog food, pick-up, payment or hold on, I’m mentally unstable right now for reasons you obviously don’t know because you’re new so I’m going to go to my car and try to work this one out and come back in when I’m not sobbing.
No, I didn’t know any of that above so I just held up one finger and pointed to my face and said I’m sorry and walked out. Because that probably didn’t look awkward or insane.
After sitting in my car for ten minutes, having an excessive cry and nervous breakdown, I decided to do a once over of myself and go back in to get it over with so I could leave. In looking in the mirror, I saw two things: My makeup was everywhere. My eyelashes looked like spiders and the bronzer I had put on this morning to carry on my tanned face look was all over the place, looking like dirt had been smeared everywhere. Note to self, bronzer makes your face look dirty and also, breakdowns, never fail, make me break out into a rash.
So fine, I was going to be ugly but I had to get through this. Back inside I went, but again, nothing changed the minute I walked back in the door and off I went, back into train wreck status again. For ten minutes, the girl tried to talk to me about the food and payment and then, “Pay Moxie?” escaped her lips and she looked up when she asked me to pay what I owed for Moxie’s final visit and I think finally understood why I was standing there, sobbing as quietly as humanly possible, shaking like a heroine addict going through withdrawals.
“Oh.” She said, apologetically.
“Ja, es tut mir leid, I’m unstable heute,” I offered. Awesome display of German right there. Please feel free to talk with the level of proficiency and ease that I display in my town on a regular basis.
“Kein problem,” she said, and finished my transaction.
There’s really nothing like watching a Heather breakdown while trying to conquer a language barrier with people who show very little emotion usually.
So. While I should be most concerned about my inability to keep my shit together in a public setting, I’m more excited about starting class tonight. Maybe I’ll ask the girl to start with, “Hi, I’m Heather and I’m unstable. I’m sorry and carry on your business. I’ll be leaving soon.”
That’d be something I’m sure I can use in the future.
So, when we found a little down time, we googled “German superstitions”, and WOWEEEEEWOOOOOW, we were not disappointed. Let’s all sit back and take a trip down crazy lane and see what my friends and neighbors believe in today. Commentary provided by your favorite German experts and social analysts, Heather and San Dee.
German Superstitions that cover children, angry old women, beatings, charms and magic and rain. And MORE.
Whoever harms or kills a cat shall meet with great misfortune. I kind of thought killing in general brought you misfortune but if this only applies to cats then I better be off to kill whatever else I can find. Snakes, wild boars and angry frauen be damned! Also, there aren’t many cats anyway. Better watch your luck, you cat hating Germans.
It is not good to kill spiders. Well then how are you supposed to get them to stop KNITTING IN MY FUCKING WINDOW? Jesus.
If a stork builds its nest on your roof or chimney, you will live long and be wealthy. Or you will have a ton of other storks and a lot of stork poo, which no one appreciates. Also, I don’t need everyone thinking I’m a home base for breeding because storks have planted themselves on my roof. Unless they really are going to make me wealthy and in that case, carry on, storks, carry on.
If it rains in sunshine, then poison will fall from the sky. Poison, really? I don’t understand this…what happened to rainbows and unicorns? Oh, right. We’re in Germany.
Do not answer a witch’s question, or else she can take something from you. What if the witch’s question is “Will you answer my question?” What now? Does a shake of the head count as an answer? I think no matter what, if a witch is involved, you’re screwed. Also, we know what they’ll take. Your goddamned soul. Just avoid them.
Old women often cut out a foot-long piece of sod that their enemy has just walked over, and hang it in the chimney. Then their enemy will waste away. This seems a bit much when I’m sure you can just find some sort of home brewed acid to poison them with and not wait out the whole, I hope the sod trick works this year. Not effektive.
He who carries the tooth of a harrow found on the street will always recognize a witch. I have no idea what a damned harrow is or where I’d find their tooth but I’m pretty sure we can all agree that the witches are the ones with the pointy black hats, black cats and brooms.
Whoever carries a harrow tooth found on a Sunday will see witches in the church with pails on their heads, but must leave the church before the 5 o’clock bells ring, or they will tear him apart. This is pretty specific. Why pails? Why the 5 o’clock bells? So many questions here. Also, is this the premise for a new movie because I’m really interested.
It is not good if one goes out in the morning and encounters an old woman. I’ll give you this one. I’ve never had a day full of luck after encountering an angry frau. Also, I think this should be revised to be any time of day. I’m sure it can be proven to be true.
Hens that crow like roosters are a sign of misfortune.
We’re going to have to line up a hen and rooster and make some noise so I can differentiate. Or how about we just do away with all the hens and up our rooster den or wherever they leave and hope for the best.
If, while riding a horse overland, a man should come upon a woman spinning, then that is a very bad sign; he should turn around and take another way. What is spinning? Like she’s twirling around? By herself? A lot? Because yeah, I try to avoid crazy people in fields too.
If you walk under a chicken roost, and a hen lets loose on you, it will bring you bad luck, if a rooster, good luck. And by lets loose you mean attack me, because I don’t consider that good luck, rooster or not.
He who walks between two old women early in the morning shall have only bad luck the rest of the day. He should consider himself lucky, especially if they even gave him the time of day.
To meet old women first thing in the morning means bad luck; young people, good luck. The thought of considering encountering children before 9am as good luck is horrifying.
Many men would rather let themselves be beaten to death, than to walk between two old women. I’d be thrilled to see this happen on a strasse in Germany. What great, unexpected entertainment. And you all do not need to wonder any more why we discuss angry FRAU so much. Men would rather die than be around them. Fabelhaft.
If an old woman greets you early in the morning, you must answer back, “The same to you!” Or not, and probably die by stoning. Your choice. Further, I’m beginning to see a paralleling of old women and witches. I’ll need to see their papers to know which superstition applies.It is unlucky to meet an old woman while going to an important event, but lucky to meet a young girl.
I’m guessing German men devised this one. Animals.
If a man comes across a virgin or a priest early in the morning, it means bad luck; a whore, good luck. Ok, so virgins, priests, old women and witches in the morning are bad luck. But seeing a whore or child in the morning – CONGRATULATIONS!! ITS YOUR LUCKY DAY!
Whores’ children are happier than those of married people. I thought this said WHORES ARE HAPPIER and I was all, well, YEAH OF COURSE.
He, whose first godchild belongs to a whore, shall marry well. I feel like if you’re not born to a whore, your life is over before it even started.
Unmarried women who desire husbands should, on the night before Saint Andrew’s day, naked, call on this saint, and their loved ones will appear to them in their sleep. Or just get naked in your bed and take a good image from the bank and he’ll be there in your head anyway. Don’t think we need to involve St. Andrew, who is probably already busy with other women’s stupid requests.
If a girl wishes to know what kind of hair her loved one has, on Christmas Eve she should reach backwards out the door, and she shall hold the hair in her hand. First, if someone did this to me, I’d have to tell them to get their hands back in their door and knock it off. Second, hair is not one of things I wish to know about a ‘loved one’. I’m guessing that by ‘loved one’ they really mean ‘lover’, so….no. Not doing all of that to find out about hair. I am, however searching for a superstition to discover various other physical attributes…
To learn if she shall marry within the next year, a virgin should knock on the chicken coop on Christmas Eve or at midnight. If a rooster cackles she will, if a hen cackles she won’t. I would comment on this, but it’s for virgins.
To discover if her lover will be upright or crooked, a girl must stand against a cord or a stack of wood on Christmas Eve and pull a log out backwards; her lover will be like the log. Well, now, THIS one, I’d like to try. I’m thinking whether crooked or upright…it’s still a log! Well done Germans!
Christmas Eve between 11 and 12 o’clock all single girls wake up. To learn whether or not they will marry in the next year, they take off all their clothes, stick their heads into the kitchen kettle and watch the bubbling water. Because this seems safe and hold on a second here. So, you’re telling me that in order for this to be effektive, I have to be naked? Which, is fine actually…and stick my head into the kitchen kettle…uh…ok…and watch the bubbling water…ok, still with ya. But then what? This is incomplete. Minus 5 points.
If the groom buckles the bride’s left shoe on their wedding day, she will take control of the marriage. Or she will do that anyway because men are like children.
Girls should pay attention to where the dogs bark on Saint Andrew’s Eve. Her groom will come from this area. So statistically, they’ll come from an area filled with trash, an alley filled with trash, a dog park or from someone else’s home. Perfect.
When the bride takes her clothes off, she must give one of her stockings to a bridesmaid, who will then throw it onto the gathered wedding guests. On whomever the stocking lands, he or she shall be the next to marry. Interesting twist but my feet sweat a lot so you’re welcome in advance.
At the end of the wedding celebration, the bride and groom are to sit down on the marriage bed, fully dressed, except for their shoes and stockings. One of the bridesmaids takes off the groom’s stocking, sits down on the floor with her back against the bed and throws it with her left hand over her right shoulder, aiming for the face of the groom. All the bridesmaids then repeat this, and the ones who succeed will soon be married. The the bride’s stocking is then removed by the young men and thrown in the same fashion, thereby determining which of them will be next. This is disgusting and also super awkward. After a day of walking around and sweating in your uncomfortable shoes on what is presumably the most nerve-wracking day of your life, potentially spilling all kinds of booze and cake on your feet…you then ASK your friends to 1. Touch your nasty socks and 2. Throw it in your face? No thanks. I’ll pass. Also, our guess is that if have the time and effort to do all this, you’ll just remain single.
If a stranger looks into the parlor on a Monday morning, he will cause the husband to beat his wife. And that will cause me to go find the stranger and beat him myself, shortly after I finish beating my husband for beating me for no reason.
If a woman or a girl loses her garter on the street, then her husband or suitor has been unfaithful. Pretty hard to lose a garter unless you are actually whoring around, and I’m not sure what that has to do with your husband but sure, blame him.
When a woman’s neck or throat itches, then she will soon go to a baptism; if her head itches it means she will be beaten. Its called smoking too much or getting lice. And if getting lice means getting beaten, what do you get for being mouthy?
If a dog runs between a woman’s legs, her husband will beat her. I’m noticing a trend that a husband can beat a wife for anything. Ladies, start doing push-ups. You’ve got a long life of swinging back ahead of you.
For as long as the food continues to boil or simmer on the table, the cook will be beaten by her husband. What is this trend of common superstitions about women getting the beat down from their husbands? If someone looks in your house on Monday, your head itches, if a dog runs between your legs, or if food simmers on the table, then it’s widely believed that you will be beaten by your husband? Do people still get married in Germany? Where are the superstitions about men getting beaten by their wives? Here’s one for you “if there are any or no clouds in the sky, a man will be beaten by his wife”….oh, and how about “when someone yawns on a Sunday in church, a husband is beaten by his wife with a bat.” Or oooh, this one, “if you pass someone in Germany that scowls, you can beat your husband with a garden hose until he bleeds.” Hurray!
Men should not stay in the house when women are filling beds with feathers, otherwise the feathers will poke through the ticking. Yeah, get the hell out.
It is not good to sew or patch something while still wearing it. It’s not good to sew at all. Pay someone else.
A shirt woven from thread spun by a girl under seven years of age will bring its wearer good luck. Yes, promote child sweatshops. Way to go, Germany. That’ll improve your image.
A shirt, spun by a girl between five and seven years of age, protects against magic. Reference above.
Whoever wears a shirt spun by a five year old girl, and appears before court, will receive justice in all proceedings. Seriously?Another one?
If one has difficulty dying, then he should be lain in the corridor, and he shall have an easy death. This one just seems cruel. Leave grampa in the hallway? C’mon.
Whew. That was just a third of the ones we found. You have no idea how many more exist.
So now what? Do we compare them to American superstitions? I guess we can. Here are a few that came to mind when we tried to think about what superstitions concerned us as kids, most you will notice, having to do with luck (instead of say, child labor, curses and poison)….
Find a horseshoe – good luck
Find a 4-leaf clover – good luck
Rabbits foot – good luck
A beginner will always have good luck: beginner’s luck
Open umbrella inside, bad luck
Pass a black cat, bad luck
To find a penny heads up, brings good luck
Apple a day keeps the doctor away
If you blow out all of the candles on your birthday cake with the first breath
you will get whatever you wish for
At the end of a rainbow is a pot of gold
An itchy palm means money will come your way
Hmmm. Let’s wrap this up simply.
American v. German superstitions? No contest here, Deutchland. You’ve got us beat.
For some reason the other day, I remembered that our high school yearbooks had quotes in them. Quotes that would surely give you an idea of who I really was and what I firmly believed in life.
So here it is, compliments of Lindsey, who has now emailed this to me twice from NH. (Happy Birthday, Lindsey Spagnola!)
First, “In life and love, you must get what you want to get what you want?” Really? Couldn’t have googled “most profound quotes in life” and picked a better one?
Actually, I just googled that and found nothing. This means one of two things. First, no one cares about this quote and so it never pops up in a search or TWO, and this would be amazing, at the age of 18 I thought it was time to just start creating my own quotes and then quoting myself. Jesus. I know I’m full of it but REALLY, HEATHER? Or maybe I just typed it in wrong just now, who knows.
And then of course I went with Shakespeare, to really give you a peek into my soul.
“Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t“–Shakespeare, Macbeth (1.5.745)
I assume I thought it would make me seem well-read. I’ve never even read Macbeth so I assume I googled, “Poetic quotes that make you seem dangerous, yet beautiful, yet very witty and intelligent and have to do with gardens.”
Though that quote isn’t bad.
Then I wondered, jesus, did we even have google search when I was 18, which made me google “What year did google search come out” and it led me to 8 articles on something in 1998 WHICH MEANS I HAD ALREADY GRADUATED MEANING:
1. That made me feel old
2. I don’t even remember what was before Google search unless it was that Jeeves guy that I never took seriously
3. Did I randomly find these quotes in actual books which I highly doubt because that would have required effort
4. When I googled “What was before Google” I felt like any sort of offspring of mine would be at a severe disadvantage in life
5. Apparently it wasn’t Jeeves, it was Archie, and I bet Siri, that mouthy bitch, thinks she has something on both of them.
I just reread that I never took Jeeves seriously and that I called Siri a bitch (which she totally is) and I’ve decided it’s probably time for me to call it a night. I assume having personal feelings of hatred and indifference towards fictional characters that answer questions means I’m unstable again today.
Just another Monday around here…