Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Day 111: A rather productive day, although have not yet ventured outside the house so probably not the most healthpromoting day. Have managed almost 2000 words on The Masterpiece, am quite pleased with the opening line: "There was no sex to be seen". I think that would arouse (boom tish) most people's interest to read on a little further!

So, now to get my body moving even at this late stoige.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Day 110: I'm not sure if this photo is uninspired or simply lazy.

Started writing 'the book'. See, I'm trying to be ambitious and positive and call it the book rather the story. In some ways I think it's against my nature to do something that must eventuate within the process rather than know everything that happens before starting. Alas there is no new Harry Potter springing from my imagination fully formed, although the themes of preparation, external image and internal psychological reality are the lynch pins to the story.

Looks like I will be in Australia from about the 25th of October till the 25th of November. I guess part of me is looking forward to it, some strange sentimental part of me. Curious how that sentimental side reveals itself, this morning I had a very odd chain of thoughts: Took Blinky out for his toilet, had to find the spade to bury the outcome, started thinking about playing cards, reminded me of nights in the Christmas holidays playing 500 with my grandparents and great uncle and auntie, remembered that these solid rocks of childhood have all died now, acknowledged that this is still strange but no longer sad, felt time rushing away as the next generation rapidly expands, found spade, buried dog poo.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Day 109: The view from above, although the thought that God is watching us is a frightening one. Not only did we succumb to a junk food craving last night, we asked 'them downstairs' if they wanted any, knowing full well they would pay for ours. Lucky that it didn't backfire as we had no money. Oh well, there's nothing that gives her more pleasure than to feed us up, although I suspect (with all sincere respect) that its a bit like training the puppy, and any ongoing bad habits are somehow being reinforced by us, e.g. yesterday's performance.

Unfortunately my attempt to start writing the next great Australian novel (and channel my energies into creativity rather than moaning), came to a standstill rather rapidly. I was all set up with the lap top in my study, but was really too frustrated by the German keyboard to get very far. I am now a rather professional typist and its quite enjoyable to be able to think and formulate ideas without thinking too greatly about the keyboard. However when 'z' and 'y' are swapped, and there are extra keys for 'ä ü and ö where the apostrophes etc. usual are, its really huge distraction. I just need it to be a fun inspiring project, not another source of frustration. So I'll have to take up the challenge and be disciplined in the mornings when home alone and the computer is not engaged in its true vocation of making amazing artworks.

I think the spell check has just done something strange to the vowels with umlauts, anyway you get the drift.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Day 108: Looking heavenwards for peace (of mind) on earth! Its now 10.45am and the brain is already an absolute mess. Didn't sleep well again, which doesn't help. If I wake up within an hour or so of falling asleep then I find it difficult to nod off again for hours and hours and hours. Not easy when we are still toilet training the super pup with a late night call and an early morning start.

That I've spent almost an hour already trying to do my German homework... I'm trying to stop having the thought that I will always speak this language like someone who has been dropped on their head. On one hand its great having some intellectual challenge, but on the other hand I don't know if its entirely healthy to be in a state of near constant confusion feeling stupid. How does it all work???? For example, we have the verb einkaufen, to shop. Or maybe the verb is simply kaufen? Either way, sometimes it becomes to kaufen something ein, at other times to einZUkaugen something. When the money is spent its einGEkauft, at least I'm sure of that much. Lets not even start on the verb to be pleased, when the translation becomes something like "i pleasure myself to walk in the sunshine", or words to that effect. I pleasure myself to stay in bed and eat chocolate until everyone else learns English.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Day 107: Not exactly a silk purse but closer to a sturdy recyclable shopping bag than a sow's ear.
Did my work out, got some sorting and homework done, now having my dinner cooked for me. Noice.

Realized today that its not so astounding that so many friendships don't survive a move to the other side of the world, rather more amazing is that there are some that do, and how profound and special those ones are and have always been. How peculiar then that I 'reward' those faithful friends by forcing them to view me in the nud! I think I better read my Pavlov and Piaget again...

Friday, May 26, 2006

Day 106: Weigh in day, fantastic results: I now weigh 55kg! One day wallowing in bed and 40 odd KG gone like magic. I can't see it myself but the scales don't lie. Or is that the mirror....?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Day 105: Had a rotten day all told, but feeling better now even though its 7.15 and what have I done all day? We have a new determination to be successful in our careers, so watch this space.

This is me via mirror foil, testing a new idea for a series...early indications are it will look as good as I had hoped. Went a bit overboard with the clippers and should have left well enough alone as have turned into a bit of a potato head again. Oh well!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Day 104: Well, yes Blinky Bill has a belly button! This confirmed by the vet this very day, no hernia no cancer - belly button! I have had to work through a lot of grief at the fact that I won't be a father, but I suspect I would go crazy from the stress and raise a neurotic child if parenthood was to be my fate. At least the dog is oblivious to these neurotic subtleties and only thrives upon his fabulous existence. I don't think he has even noticed that not EVERY dog has 2 daddies and no mummy!

And speaking of parenthood, the couple next door welcomed their baby son this morning. I saw her yesterday in the garden and she had a definite look of "enough is e-bloody-nough", so its good the little fella has made his appearance. Its rather nice really, I don't imagine we will ever be bosom buddies with them (ironically boy in German is Bub, pronounced Boob), but its kind of cool to imagine being a background fixture, 'der Australischer nachbar' in this child's growing up. I generally feel quite isolated from the other children in my life, due to distance or one reason or another.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Day 103: Feeling stressed about money. I wonder have I become hard wired to worry about money, am I just a realist, or is it a matter of frustration at being very restricted in how I can contribute in this non English speaking land? The dog has to go to the vet and now the car has broken down again with the same problem we paid $500 to have fixed just a few weeks ago. I need to fly back to Australia and enrol in the next round of German classes.

Does anyone need any coaching or know someone who does? I only need one wealthy client or 2 poor but enthusiastic ones, will work by phone which is harder at this end but the same results for the client. Please, don't be afraid to point the finger at your friends and tell them they could use some coaching, its not as if you are saying they are mentally unbalanced or anything! hint hint.

Oh well, at least God has blessed me with a through and through optimist for a partner and I'm learning to let it rub off on me. Someday soon I'll be sitting watching German TV understanding every word, lazily scratching my sixpack and having not a care in the world!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Day 102: Looking more voluptuous than ever in this shot, love the muffin top effect. Although better a muffin top than the whole muffin so in practical terms am making progress. Seem to have strained some small muscle near my ribs on the left side during the moving of all the things from room to room, which comes back to haunt me now and then. I have stuck to the cardio machines for the past week to let it settle, but maybe I'll have to just live with it. Otherwise have eaten healthily and in moderation all day. Good for me.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Day 101: Eurovision - we was robbed!

Yesterday we had the daughters of a cousin here, aged maybe 6 and 9, playing with Blinky. They have never had a pet so it was the first time they had played with a puppy. It was rather lovely watching their nervousness turn to confidence and the gurgling delight in their giggles as they let him lick their fingers. Apparently what impressed them most though was that Blinky understood English when I spoke to him, they found this amazing. When they told their father about it though he said "oh, and did he bark in English too?", to which they rolled their eyes and replied "No of course not Daddy, he only barks in German!".

Its interesting to me that life is now fuller than ever but so much more peaceful and less frantic. All the myriad of small connections and time fillers have fallen away and the large, important, (essential) relationships have taken their place. Its a very happy existence.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Day 100: Me and the little bundle of joy. Getting ready for Eurovision Night, Yay!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Day 99: Reasonably disciplined in all areas, went to school, went to gym, went for a walk. My usual Friday night of comedy heaven has now been replaced by one of those celebrity ballroom dancing shows, appalling enough when you know the celebrities but when you don't...

The sign behind me was an advertisement for a Women only gym, under the stop it says "I want to be fit and slim for Spring". Should have stuck it on the fridge instead of the door to the spare room! Although I must say I noticed my belt was in a notch today, at least in the morning. Its some form of progress I guess.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Day 98: Here I am in the almost finished studio, just want to paint the box under the plant white and take a load of "treasures" to the cellar for future reference.

In Germany they don't have dessert so much, generally people meet for "coffee and cake" at around 4, then hang around till dinner at 6 or 7. Today is my Mother-in-law's birthday so as I write we are in the food stupor between cake and dinner. The food addict in me appreciates the good old fashioned common sense of filling up on cake at the start of the meal, but the rest of me is not so sure. Although I guess in the usual Australian way when dessert comes last, we don't usually take the opportunity to go for a long walk between the two courses so possibly this is in fact the healthier way. For dinner we are going to a restaurant that serves the largest portions I have ever seen, its really impossible to finish without nausea. Fortunately they are very happy to pack up the leftovers and send them home, so that will be lunch out of the way tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Day 97: At this time a year ago I was on a plane somewhere between Koala Lumper and Frankfurt. I would be happy knowing I was never going on a plane again to be absolutely honest, but probably the anticipation is worse than the actual event. I hope the predicted technology that will allow a 2 or 3 hour Australia / Europe flight will eventuate in my lifetime AND that I have enough money to afford it!

Did go to gym, have been having some interesting conversations there so that's a bonus. Seems its worth hanging out for one of the price specials, someone today was paying only 29€ a month, which is a lot less than my 49€ deal, which in turn is a lot less than the standard 65€ fee. Anyway, my deal goes until next June and when I take out November and add it on the end, its a long time till I have to worry about a new deal. Meanwhile, if I am to achieve the goal of this project I really have to smarten up my act, lift my game, get with the programme. There is a rather lovely saying in Germany : He wants to wee with the big dogs but he can't life his leg high enough! I don't want that to be the verdict passed on me come May 10 2007!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Day 96: Resplendent in the dawn light...
Found out today that the old lady who lives across the lane is a nudist, 'bless', at least she doesn't go about posting photos of herself on the internet.... as far as I know. Although if I ever came across any I'd have all the information needed to make a positive identification.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Day 95: Just a small visual hint to myself, even though I didn't get organized enough to get to the gym for the past 3 days, and even though friends and family have seen fit to shower me with my body weight in chocolates ( a scary thought) ), it is NOT my prerogative to plonk myself down in front of the TV tonight and start eating them. THERE IS A LONG WAY TO GO. Damn those horizontal stripes, probably I'd have a six pack if I'd stuck to the plain black t-shirt...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Day 94: Mothers' Day. "You think you're very clever but its only yourself you're hurting". How true, how true.
As I sat at the family bbq thinking " what are you people talking about? " it occurred to me that it's probably a fairly universal experience. How lovely that for me its only because we speak different languages, not because we're all on different wavelengths. I even understood a joke, more or less, which I will share, not because its particularly funny, but because I could understand it. Why is it better to have a teacher than a receptionist as a lover? Because a receptionist always says "Next please" and a teacher always says "Do it again." HHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Day 93: A day so busy I don't even know what I got done, and now so tired "I can't look out of my eyes" as the Germans say. However I must keep looking out of them for another 40 minutes at least, so I can call my Mummy for Mother's Day at a good Australian time in the morning.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Day 92: Ich bin's (German tutorial for Lizzie there), being a very authentic German with my Birkenstocks and white sport socks. In fact not only Birkenstocks, FAKE Birkenstocks from ALDI. There's even Zungenblutwurst (blood sausage with tongue) in the fridge but needless to say I do not partake.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Day 91: So, welcome to the 40th year of life. If the past 39 years, or at least past 90 days, have taught me anything, its that I look a lot better when I have a regular shave. When that's the standard of my age earned wisdom, its probably fortuitous that I have no children to pass it on to! Although I am taking the dog to the Poodle Salon this very afternoon, so possibly my wisdom is flowing ever onwards regardlessl.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Day 90: Official Birthday Portrait. Here I am beneath 'Germania', as the actress said to the Bishop (yes, there I am. Waving in the bottom right corner. Probably best to click on the photo for the larger version!) What a spectacular birthday I have had, the weather started out grey but rapidly turned into the most perfect spring day imaginable, very nice for my first springtime birthday. Although I must say, I wonder if my quality of life is on the up or the down. For birthday 37, I ate an amazing grilled swordfish dish at a very stylish restaurant on the beachfront at Noosa. For birthday 38, it was fish and chips (with my mother) on the beach at Forster. This year, fishpaste on toast, at home! Hopefully the trend is ready to reverse and next year will see an improvement rather than a deterioration... toast without fishpaste?

But seriously. We went to Rudesheim, a fantastic little touristy village on the Rhine, in the middle of the Reisling vineyard region. The village is situated the enormous Germania statue, commemorating victory against France in 1877 or thereabouts, and also the Abbey of St Hildegard, who's ideas have been very important and inspirational to me. I really wanted to sit in the abbey and be thankful for my life and all that I have now. There is so much to be thankful for, fishpaste aside, I could have prayed all day. As a special birthday coincidence, as we arrived there, the Sisters were starting their midday prayers so I sat for 15 minutes as they chanted, out of sight in their private choir to the left of the Alter. It was sublime.

Did enjoy my Freddos and Vanilla Diet coke immensely. What is both wonderful and terrifying about Cadbury Dairy Milk is that of all foods, flavours and memories of things I can't have here in Germany it is the only thing (except for Lizzie's corned beef) that lives up to the memory. I wish I could taste it one day and think, 'oh its not that great', but each time I get some after a few months its absolutely heaven! Oh well, I only have to be disciplined in bringing small amounts back and that's one problem solved.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Day 89: Ahhh Freddo, Caramello, I love you... and tomorrow you shall be mine!! How amazingly disciplined to have left my stash of beloved Cadbury in the cupboard since December. Still worth the wait, and will not hold back tomorrow. I've always loved my birthday, in previous years it was the only day that was actually about me. Now, with anniversaries and significant dates coming out of our ears - not to mention being the youngest and cutest at Christmas ho ho - I still love my birthday.

My first concrete memory is of my 3rd birthday. Apparently I announced that now I was 3 I was a big boy and would not wet the bed any more. And I never did. What I remember is sneaking out of my room in the middle of the night. Mum and Dad had bought me a Tee Pee which was set up in the lounge room. I remember climbing in and sitting in it, and amongst other things there was a packet of chips which I accidentally crunched. This made me run back to bed, absolutely delighted, until the morning.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Day 88: School, lunch, homework, walk, dinner, gym. Oh yes, contemplated the meaning of life and my thoughts about death and productivity, otherwise same old same old.

Actually I think I'm probably far more popular than my counter indicates, I accessed the site from afar, so it should have registered another view but it didn't. So I expect thousands more than 32 are waiting on my every word...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Day 87: A rather spectacular Spring day, BB slept until 9.30, so I was rather glad to have missed the start of it. Homework finished, now time to plant some seedlings in the garden and take the pup for his frolic in the forest. Yesterday we saw a baby squirrel, so needing to keep as tight a hold as possible on the lead now.

I wonder what good yoghurt looks like. Compared to Australia the yoghurt here is a very vibrant colour most of the time. Is this because German yogurt is the authentic article and is full of colourful fruit while Australian yogurt is artifcially flavoured and contains now fruit, OR is Aussie yoghurt the real deal and the German version artificially coloured for effect?? "I can't believe that 'I can't believe its not butter', and the product I can't believe is not 'I can't believe its not butter', are not both in fact butter. I believe there is actually a lot more butter around than we think".

Today's photo is my version of liposuction. Instead of getting the outer edges reduced I've cut out the middle(man) and reduced outgoings in that manner. Also hides the fact that I woke up with my hair looking like Camilla Parker Bowles wedding headdress, so not the most lovely sight. Especially as have no time to worry about appearances when Blinky's call of nature takes me into the front yard without notice!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Day 86: "Family Portrait - a shadow of our former selves" If only, finally got to the weigh in this morning and curse and damn am exactly the same as a month ago. I CAN see where some muscle has built up and I CAN see where the fat is less (my supple elastin filled days are long gone apparently) still it would be noice, albeit unusual and different, to have some results on the scales too. Oh well, on with the programme until I'm there, only one year and 3 days to go!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Day 85: I could go on and on and on, but I'd rather watch the telly. Here is me in my new shoes.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Day 84: I think I need to become more imaginative with the photos, this angle with the half walls is a bit samey I think. Oh well, before enlightenment carry wood fetch water, after enlightenment carry wood fetch water.

Good news is that the rellos had nicht gekommt. How's that for some Orstrayan German. Of all the people in my class, by the way, I have been to the most capital cities. What a claim to fame. Meanwhile I nearly got killed walking over the road with my headphones on. Yes I had a green light at the crossing but hadn't noticed the police car screeching along with no intention of stopping. Fortunately a car stopped at the lights tooted and caused me to look around. Unfortunately I was too shocked to acknowledge that driver as I leaped to safety, so a big thank you anonymously and retrospectively.

Time now for my weekly dose of Dame Judi Dench.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Day 83. Went to gym, but left my membership card at home so back I rode. Possibly could have managed to get inside, but the card also works as a key for the lockers and it was entirely too much work. Having made multiple trips between the cellar and the 2nd floor (or for any German readers the 3rd floor), plus an hour walking the dog in the forest, I felt I had exercised enough.

Here I am with the strange creature that has haunted the upstairs areas for many a year. I don't know why her knickers are permanently round her knees though. It is however better to keep her standing up as when she lies down her eyes roll backwards in a very disconcerting manner. She was heading to the bin I must admit, or at least the back of the cupboard. Then Michael's mother told us that she bought her when she was pregnant, as she had a feeling she was carrying a girl. So a lot of emotional history attached, and now she will find a place on display somewhere with her eyes open and her undies in their rightful place.

Meanwhile, my glimpse of paradise was but momentary. Just as I got my studio almost as it should be this afternoon, we found out some long lost relatives ( 17th cousins five times removed or something like that) are arriving tomorrow to go to the funeral on Friday. So it means everything that has now been plonked in what will shortly be the guest room, must now be put into my studio so they have somewhere to stay. Fortunately the old beds are still in the cellar, I think the cousins are too old to bunk down on the floor. So back up the stairs with the beds (yay), and back with the junk to my room (double yay), and so the yoyo continues its spin!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Day 82: Managed to get to the gym, survived German class, found the floor of my studio, took the puppy to the vet and paid a fortune for peace of mind! Thinking a lot about the flow of life, with Gerhard's funeral on Friday, turning 39 on Wednesday, babies being born and others still getting ready. I don't have any fear of it, but its fascinating to ponder. Am I learning not to be so anxious? Yes, I think I am. I feel safe and settled here, for the first time in my adult life. Perhaps this is amongst the greatest achievements in life, with more to come of course. Perhaps the greatest achievements any of us have are the small, follow on effects which we may never even know about or be credited with.

Tomorrow is weigh in day.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Day 81: You in your small corner, and I in mine. It looks as if my studio is finished from this view, however the tripod stands within chaos worthy of a natural disaster. I realize, through logic or physics or whatever science is applicable, that because of the huge amount of stuff that has been moved out of this room there must be less still there. However empirical evidence suggests otherwise. I was going to do a mammoth effort and get it finished tonight but I simply can't. We must be closer though, if only slightly.

Today was a holiday for May Day, or the Day of Work, and the traditional thing to do in Germany on this day is to BBQ. And so, we BBQ'd! With all the works etc I have been managing about 3 visits to the gym each week instead of the optimal 6. So I planned to go every day in May, except for my birthday when we will be out of town. Needless to say, like the fiend who breakfasts on cigarettes and chocolate on January 1st, my resolution is already kaput. Oh well, its not my fault the gym was only open a few hours because of the it? I did manage my homework though.

If anyone has any tips on how to quickly identify the nominative, the accusative and the dative sections of a sentence, I'd be most appreciative. I understand the principles but it takes so long to figure out on the run, let alone remember which article and ending are then needed. I wonder if I sound cute when I try to speak German or simply like someone who has escaped from somewhere.