Mittwoch, 26. März 2008

The EU is killing my husband

In this globalized world, where the world has not yet caught cold, but is asking for an extra blanket and I am avoiding friends who work in money house's evil eye, the EU will be the death of my husband.

Here in Switzerland, we are not, of course, members of the EU. We love our Swiss Frank and our "safely gaurded borders". (Yes, those cows by the border in Önningen count.) We do have a friendly relationship with the EU, however. Not so much because we are a friendly country all-around. More for the same reasons that Hitler reffered to us as "a hedgehog". We are stuck smack dab in the middle of western europe with are pointy bits sticking into many an EU member nation. Thus, we're "friendly" and have fun immigration laws for people with the blue flag with the yellow stars.

The problem with being friendly and, tightly packed among the Empi- I mean Union, has been discussed in Switzerland for a year now. They don't exactly sit around saying "What's to be done about that Union?". They more, have an article at least once a week, begging the question "HOW CAN WE LIVE WITHOUT OUR CERVELA!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?"The panic is what just might kill my husband.

A cervela is a small red sausage that Swiss people love and, apparently, live for. The Swiss, being sticklers for tradition have only one way in which they believe that this sausage can be made. That would be a casing made from Brazilian cow intestines. Here's the pickle. Brazilian cow intestines are not friendly to the European Union and thus can no longer be imported to our landlocked Union-friendly nation.

My husband's plan: Eat at least one cervela per week because "you never know how long they'll be around". I understand this. Like, 10 years ago I was so flippin' thrilled to see Bob Dylan in concert because I didn't know how long he's be around. Answer: A long freakin' time. Seeing that concert, unlike eating a cervely a week, did nothing to my arteries.

Is the second wedding anniversary the angioplasty anniversary?

Montag, 24. März 2008

The eternal babysister

I lament the fact that everyone in town has a bigger bathroom than me.
Even those with the.....shall we say view?

This Easter Sunday was the first time that I was all alone on an Easter. It was noticeable. In the streets, I was the only one who was alone without flowers. There were some folks who were alone, but they all had flowers. They were en route, either to or from, a loved one's house.
At one point, I was walking up the street to the video shop. The constant flurries of yesterday were in one of their heavy trends, and a family was crossing the street. The mother muttered some encouragements in Italian to cross the street quikly. The two prepubescent boys were crossing the street with their mouths gaping open, trying to catch snowflakes. "These ones must be overly ripe", I thought, reminded of a peanuts cartoon. Then I grinned. Grinned with a sharp exhalation through my nose. The exhalation led to a jerk in the throat.
"hhm - hu-hmm - ha-hum - hm-hm-hm... The mother had caught my eye as I'd begun the suppressed laugh. Her breathing patter mimicked mine and within moments we were both in absolute guffahs. The elderly woman ahead of her turned to question her in Italian. "What is so funny?"
Truly nothing. But that was the most community that I had on this Easter Sunday.

Mittwoch, 19. März 2008

My Beautiful Mind

Music swells in the living room and I hear the tack-tack of keys. There is a path into the room littered with typed pages, X-ed out, paragraph by paragraph. It's cold and sunny outside and blossoms are blowing from trees in a compost-able confetti through the wind onto the side-walk as birds sing a happier more full song. In the living room. Ivo is hunched over the blond-wood desk, squinting.
I love an academic. I don't mean this in the sense that "I love a parade", or "I love a good Margarita on a hot day". I mean that I love a particular academic. Sometimes this particular academic wonders if he truly wants to be an academic or not. Then spring rolls round and Ivo joyfully sticks himself at his desk reading, writing and editing. He seems to enjoy the pain of holing up as others go blinking into the new spring sun. In some sort of tantric-delayed-gratification-thing Ivo seems to delve deeper into his work in the spring only to then truly enjoy the reward of a summer vacation.
Ivo and I began to date in the spring time. We spent an odd amount of time together for his methods of working. We took long afternoon walks in the lengthened afternoon sun and he came to Loui's to lunch even though, I am sure, that his conscience tried to tell him to stay in his room and work, work, work.
After a couple of weeks, I saw a different side of this lovely young student. "I've got to get down to business and write my project." he told me. And thus, I learned this new side of the man that I would come to love in a wife and husband kind of way. (Back then I just thought that he was the most.)
"I don't know the order yet and I have far too much information for just one paper. I've done so much preparation. I don't know how it should fit or which parts are necessary."
He then papered the walls with notes. The walls of his dorm room were seriously covered floor-to-ceiling with notes and sources. This is Academic-man. Without a cape and with glasses as part of his costume he arrives in Spring to make sense of moths of work. He hums along to Schubert. He ignores all idea of schedule that his alter-ego "athletic fun smart guy" and finds a strong large cup of coffee at 9 pm an appropriate idea. He shall go again soon. He may even take a small holiday when we are in Russia. However, for now, he is here in my living room, reminding me of the first notion of a different side of this man who I thought was swell 4 springs ago.

Montag, 10. März 2008

Change you can find in the couch

I changed a mind.
This weekend I was easing up my German with a glass of wine or two and my friend (and possible future boss) was asking what the hell Obama means talking about change?
I explained and he seriously at the end he said "Oh, I get it".
This has no bearing on the election, as he is Swiss, but it did me well somehow. Ivo was impressed. Maybe it was just the language thing.

Someone who is not willing to change, was an old lady on the bus today.
It was clear that she is a woman who always takes the first seat on the bus. Today, the seat next to it was occupied by a young man.
The old lady was asking the young man a question of no consequence. He pointed to his hearing aid as a way of saying "I can't hear you."
"Oh!" She said in a way that would make anyone think that she understood. Two minutes later, however, she was trying again. Going on about some-such nonsense. The young man nodded sweetly. As he was looking at her attentively he view swung my way and I began to sign to him.
"What is she, crazy? Doesn't she understand?"
The kid signed back to me. "She probably talks to lots of people who don't understand her all the time. Also, things change a lot. She probably thinks that my hearing aids are a new headphone for a new i-whatever. Things change."

Donnerstag, 6. März 2008

oh hate speech

My father-in-law and I recently had a really molten-hot fight, provoked by his use of terms that I found both inappropriate and offensive. We've not yet fully recovered. A colleague of mine said "It's been a long while since I was in the States. I imagine that I would be confused about what is inappropriate or offensive."
This may be. I have at times used terms that I'd not known to be offensive. Having been corrected, I excuse myself and make a mental note for the future. This can happen, but I don't see how it can happen with the expression "zu der vergassung".
Swiss people who are otherwise loving and respectful, will apparently use the phrase "to the gassing" with no thought on the origin of the term. Ivo and I heard it last night at dinner and whipped ourselves into a froth on the walk home.
"What would you say if someone used that expression in conversation with you." Commence whipping into froth.
"'Wait. What sort of gas?' I would ask. No, no, no. I'd say 'don't you mean zu der Zyklon B verbrauch?'" One must understand, there is the expression "zum kotzen langweilig". This means so boring one must vomit. "Zum Kotzen" "to the vomiting". This is how this expression is used as well. Interchangeable-like. "to the gassing boring".
Having a full tummy is the wrong tome to discuss this topic, as the moment you stop thinking how you can stick it to the ignorant people who use this phrase, you become totally pained by the truth that people ignorantly use this phrase.

Samstag, 1. März 2008

All is fair in International Affairs

I had more questions to answer for my Russian visa than Ivo did.
Supplement to the questionnaire-form No 95

Question 7
List all countries You have visited in the last ten years (give the name of each visited city)

Question 11
List all professional, social and charitable organizations to which You belong (belonged) or contribue (contributed) or with which You work (have worked)

Question 12
Do you have any specialized skills or training, including firearms, explosives, nuclear, biological or chemical experience?
If Yes, explain_______

Question 13
Have You ever performed military service?
If Yes, give name of country, branch of service, rank/position, military speciality and the dates of service)

Question 14
Have you ever been in armed conflict, either as a participant or victim? Please explain.

Quesion 15
List all educational institutions You attend or have attended. Include vocational institutions

It's really not so bad. When I hear the horror stories of folks trying to get into the US, it's a pittance, really.
I've taken Psych exams for work that were worse.

Question 3
Have you ever tried coffee... or PCP?