Monthly Archives: October 2002

poke, poke, poke

Let’s start with the outfit. I bought this skirt, many years ago, from the Goodwill in Chico. It is a bit tighter these days but still has the same effect. I was very popular with guys and very unpopular with their girlfriends. Lots of positive smirks from the men and lots of scowls from their girlfriends. Taxi’s stopped for me, old men said things like “Schoenes Fraulein” (beautiful young woman). It was cool. The sweater use to be reasonably sized but then I washed it. Now I dry clean it. Oh well.

Did I ever share with you that at the Willie Nelson concert this summer we discovered what they call Kielbasa in Germany (polish sausage for you non-Poles)? Krakauer sausage. We were very excited by this discovery because we had stopped making Jambolaya as we could never get a good sausage. Anyhow, this weekend I decided that I had a craving for Jambolaya, so we bought some Krakauer sausage, which comes in a ring, and all the other stuff and Patrick started at 4:00 this afternoon to make us some. We invited Todd and Brandy and Sergio (who asked if the picture of me, mom and Andy at my graduation from Chico, was me and my sister!) because it makes so much and we end up throwing it out if we don’t invite more people. About a quarter into the process Patrick called me over to help. I yelped, but went to the kitchen and donned my dish gloves (which have pretty white cuffs with red roses on them). He had me grab 3 stalks of celery and wash them. No sweat! That done I went back to my various arranging (today was rearrange my earrings day! Welcome to Sunday in Germany!) So as I was deciding how to place my jewelry back in my cool Kate Spade jewelry case, he called again. I was a little perturbed because I had earrings to organize after all, but I went. And then it happened. ‘I need you to take that list of spices and put them together.’ I screamed! Why on earth would you want to risk your meal by having me do that?! He said I would be fine. So I looked at the list and took note of the measurements. 2 tablespoons, 2 1/2 teaspoons, 2 teaspoons and 1 1/2 teaspoons. I can see it now, 2 tablespoons White Pepper instead of 2 teaspoons. We’d all be fighting over the carton of milk (because water doesn’t help hot spicy food lose it’s sting). When I looked in the drawer only the 1/2 tablespoon was in there. ‘Oops, sorry the tablespoon is dirty, can’t help.’ He stopped the dishwasher. I opened it and my glasses were instantly fogged by the steam. I screamed ‘Argh I’ve been blinded by the dishwasher, can’t help.’ He glared. So I was out of excuses. I read the name of the spice, and he handed them to me. Our bottles aren’t labeled and it would have CERTAINLY been a complete disaster if I had gotten the spices myself. Luckily Chief Paul writes his recipes in order of qty, most first. So as soon as I didn’t need the tablespoon anymore, I put it in the sink. I checked, double checked and triple checked the measuring spoon I was using. Patrick helped count off how many teaspoons I had put in so far. Whew. In the end it worked out. Got my measurements right and it was some of the best Jambolaya in ages.

We won the Pub Quiz in Tuebingen Saturday night. It was Sarah, Carrie, Gayle and myself. We won by one question. My question, ‘What is the Corned in Corned Beef’. Why salt, of course. Now you are wondering how on earth a girl that is petrified to use multiple measuring spoons knows what the Corned in Corned Beef is. Simple, food allergy. See food that is high in salt makes me sick. Corned Beef is the WORST offender. I don’t think anyone else in the room got that one. The cool thing was we were tied for last place after he read the scores the first time, tied for second to last, the second time, one point from first place the third time, and squeaked out the win for the last round! An amazing comeback! We won Guinness t-shirts. Only thing was they were XL. Mine is on it’s way to my brother. It is really cool though. So if you see Andy walking around in a black t-shirt that has a big pint glass on the front and a small one on the back, that was my win!

OK Nana, I think you should skip the rest. You got the good parts and now I am going to talk about something, um, a bit sexual, a bit relationship. Best if you skip it…

So raise your hand if you understood the title of this week’s coffee talk? OK now send me a mail cause I can’t see your hands raised. That game at all couples play…’ Honey, are you awake?’ That universal male habit of waking you up or at least bugging you right when you lay down to go to sleep, because they were too busy surfing the net earlier in the evening, and wanting sex. Why do they do that? Patrick and I have ‘Patrick and Heather Rules’. The extend to things like ‘everyone puts both toilet seats down’ but they also cover foreplay…no asking for sex AFTER we get in bed. Ask earlier like when we are both just sitting and surfing the net, then I might have the energy and interest, but not after I have brushed my teeth and changed into my jammies. Duh. Of course, this rule does not go the other way. If we get into bed and suddenly I am feeling a bit randy, well then, I can poke poke poke all I want. And guess what? I’ve never been turned down! Isn’t that funny? How even in a couple like us, there have to be open arrangements about sex. I consider myself a pretty, um, involved female, when it comes to our married sex life, but for the sheer fact we are married and our lives are evolving and moving forward and there are other responsibilities, like the cats, it isn’t possible to just stop what we are doing, whenever, and get down. When you are dating, there is no ‘future us’ that is assured. You aren’t usually saving money as a couple to buy a house, or working on said ‘fixer-upper’ that you have purchased. You’ve not got so much planned for tomorrow or the next week so why not just have sex? Anyhow, we have a quite satisfying sex life, plenty volume, plenty adventure (‘Patrick? Are you satisfied with our sex life?’ ‘ Yep!’ You can email him and ask), it just helps to have an understanding of where you are both coming from and the ‘poke, poke, poke’ thing is universal. Cheers.

yell and scream

We are having a little code problem so the is not showing next to the Matt Files when he has sent a new mail, which he has. So I am telling you here, there is a new installment in the Matt Files and it is very cool (especially the rationalization for shoving the computer stuff in the corner of the room, pure Matt!) So take the link and discover for yourself how my dream was sort of true…

Now I realize we go over this a lot but I have yet to come to an adequate solution. You all know that HP is in the throws of merging with Compaq. You also know that I have been acting as a European wide project manager the last few months. So soon this job will come to an add (thank goodness really) and I’ll go back to being regular old Heather, IT process owner. Well all sorts of things are changing with the company and I am very frustrated right now. I can’t get a straight answer, there are a million different people to talk to, no one can make a decision, people don’t respond to your emails. I’m discouraged. It is effecting me in a funny way. I don’t care anymore. I don’t want to try anymore. I can’t be bothered with dealing with it anymore. At the same time I feel a sense of responsibility to support my process and those people that have come to trust and rely on me. But I have no power, no where to turn. My entire life seems listless. Shoes don’t even excite me anymore. How do I get myself back? Last time I was really frustrated at the office, it manifest itself differently. Of course, I don’t know that the process of dealing with it was any more healthy that time as it is this time. Last time I got angry and went to the gym a lot. I guess the good part was I got into shape and looked fab, but I am not really angry this time and the gym has lost its appeal. Getting angry didn’t really help anyway. If I didn’t have my BOM payments, I would probably drop out. Go work at a coffee shop while I got my act together to go back to school (which I have decided to put off until Fall 04 because I don’t want to rush my applications, which are due Jan 15th, and turn something in that is not reflective of the real me). But it would be foolish of me to do that before my contract is up here, from a financial standpoint. How does someone get their spirit back? Find something to be spiritual about, I suppose. But how does one find that? I don’t really get the sense that this is something one can use project management methodologies to achieve. It isn’t so structured. It’s part luck, part exposure. I’m a little restricted here. Sure wish I had a passion right now. One that I could earn a living with, at least.

We went to a friend’s design presentation last night. She, Caro, is the girl who makes our sandwiches at Subway in Esslingen. She is a graphic arts student and was doing the background for a fashion show. The video support was great. The fashion was so-so. Ratna came with us and she and I think we could do better. Boring colours. The video support was really great though. The use of colours matched and complimented the clothing really well. The use of texture and topic was brilliant too. It went from organic to inorganic beautifully. Though they didn’t get to choose the music, the video meshed with it brilliantly too. Things flashed by both in rhythm and spirit of the music, and to some extent, clothing. I would have loved to be in a hot steamy room, laying back in a chair and just taken in the video and music, minus the fashion. I am guessing that it would have been a lot like people feel at underground clubs (aka Raves) when they are floating on X (which I wouldn’t know because I have never done an illegal narcotic in my life, seriously).

This week’s outfit is Patrick’s fault. His workgroup went to a casino in Baden on Friday night and I was left to my own shopping. I was doing great until I started for home and dropped by Abseits. Thus the shirt. It is terribly sexy though. Very comfy too. I will admit though, I want to lose weight. Too thick on bottom. I lost 4 lbs from the food poisoning but was SO hungry after that I scarfed and gained it all back. At this point I am afraid of the scale. At the same time, I don’t want to spend so much time at the gym. It’s dull. Honestly, I think I just want to move somewhere I speak the language or have a hope of learning it in a reasonable amount of time. Ho hum. Cheers.

why bother

Well I am not sure it is inspirational but I have lots of things to share this week. Lots of things I have contemplated. Testing has been just as bad and time consuming and then I have been on the couch all week with that Parisian food poisoning. Uncool. One never realizes how much they enjoy chewing until they don’t have anything to chew. I’m better now.

This week we debut, Suzette! See her wearing my stripped Erotokritos skirt which was recently purchased in Paris. Notice the contrasting poka-dotted shoes. She is such a fashion rebel! I may go back to the old me wearing the outfit pictures though. They don’t express themselves the same way on Suzette (no offense luv). She does help me put things together though.

So I witnessed a couple having a fight on the Bahnsteigen this week. It was weird. He brought her a sweater and coat but when he pulled it from his bag and handed it to her, she took it without looking at him, and then turned to the train. He pulled on her bag and said something to her. Even if I spoke the language, I was too far from them to hear. He seemed to say the standard ‘Hey, don’t do that. Let’s talk’. It didn’t seem to be a ‘Hey, what’s wrong’. The body language of them both was that this was ongoing. She missed the train. She turned back to him and launched into whatever it was that was wrong. She spoke a lot before he said anything in return. Then he spoke and she responded back. It seemed to be getting more heated. He seemed to be more aware they were arguing in public than she was. Is that because he felt embarrassed by something he did? Or just didn’t want people to see them fighting? His voice got loud enough to hear but he wasn’t really yelling. She jumped back at him verbally, got very frustrated and walked off. He followed her and looked my way. I felt caught.

A friend of mine is mad at me though I don’t know why. I know she is mad at me because of her body language. When she doesn’t like someone or is mad at them, she has a very distinct way of reacting to them. She rarely looks them in the eye and swings her head around looking everywhere but at them. The tone of her voice, which is normally very modulated and high with lots of peaks – very lively and uplifting for everyone around with out being squeaky – is very flat and low. Her word choice can be vague or direct. Anyhow, besides not liking the idea that I have done something to upset someone, even though I don’t know what it is, it’s made me think about how we DON’T communicate. Today, I have sort of thought of this as a CYA move. If you don’t say anything it can’t bite you back. I talk a lot. I have a lot of opinions. I am also willing to admit when I am wrong and to change my opinions. But still, I say things people don’t like. I have opinions people don’t agree with. Often though, instead of addressing those things to me, they ignore it and me. Why? I don’t think that I am difficult in terms of being inflexible or unwilling to change. Quite the contrary. I am difficult in the sense that I do have an opinion and I am willing and likely to express it. Do people that don’t talk much, that don’t share opinions, do they not have them or just don’t care to share them? Are they any less offensive than I, accept their offense is not spoken? OK so let’s say I say something that hurts someone, somehow, if they never say anything to me about it, how will I know? How could I possibly learn not to say things like that again? How can I learn to better express myself so as to be entitled to express my opinion without offending people, if they don’t tell me when I have offended them and why? Is it to cover their own butt? So that they may not walk into the same mistake I have? I try to give feedback to people when they say or do something I don’t like or that offends me. This often ends in disaster too. People don’t like feedback unless it is good. I could use some help with how to word ‘constructive’ feedback better, but sometimes the news is just bad. I can take bad news. In fact, I appreciate bad news if it gives me the opportunity to get better. So, I guess the key would be how to state my opinion without stepping on others feelings, how to give good feedback, how to change my behavior so I don’t hurt people with the things I say (which I guess is mostly the same as the first comment) and how to let go when I can’t do anymore or someone can’t simply accept my opinion as mine, so that I do not grow resentful or make it worse by continuing to try. Seems simple enough. I wonder how successful others are with mastering these skills. I mean, am I doing ok and it is just that if you speak your opinion you are always liable to have more problems with people? Well I guess I just know this is my lifelong goal. I certainly think I have improved as time has gone by, hopefully that will pick up speed as time goes on.

People stare at me more when I have pigtails in. Why? I am going to try and make a hat that is structured like a beanie cap but has holes for my pigtails. In that case I would completely understand why people are staring at me.

This week I have had lots of really vivid dreams. Must have been the lack of solid food. My body wasn’t busy digesting my dinner so it could dream. The first I remember was a thriller. There was a psychotic killer running around and the people in the dream were trying to figure out which one of them it was. I was not in the dream. I was watching. Not like a movie but just seeing, like in my mind’s eye. I got to the part where the killer had one of the women and was starting to torture her (ritualistic bleeding and a GYN exam I would rather not go into) while the other people, including her love interest, not boyfriend, were literally running through the huge apartment building trying to find what room they were in before she was dead. Then I woke up. It was totally gruesome but not scary. I remember it because the feeling was so odd. This guy was really sick and twisted but I felt no repulsion, just observance,

I had two dreams last night. In the first, Matt, of the Matt Files, was doing something very unMatt like. My mobile went off and woke me up and I thought, ‘I have got to write Matt about this one’ and felt that it was such a vivid dream that I would remember it, but now I can’t. Maybe he came to volunteer to wear fishnet stockings and serve our drinks at Ladies Poker night? Just not sure. Oh, I added a link to his email address if you all want to write him. He is very cool and will write you back. Especially if you have a job for him somewhere other than Corvallis.

The last dream was just as strange but I was in it. I am not sure if I was first or third person though. I know at one point I looked in a mirror at myself. Patrick and I were in a foreign city (as in, not Stuttgart). It seemed like Italy or something. We were hanging out at a coffee shop/clothing store. A very beautiful woman said to me ‘You would be perfectly beautiful if your hair were a bit longer’. I told her that I didn’t look good with long hair and that I was going to let it grow only a little longer so that I would wear a proper ponytail. (Which is odd because my real-life goal is braids). Then, for some reason, we, Patrick and I, felt it necessary that I have an outfit that looked like a little girl’s nightgown. We looked around the store and I tried things on. Everything was too big. The last thing I tried on was an ok size but it sort of just looked like I was wearing a nightgown (this was where I looked in the mirror and saw myself), not an outfit that made me look like a little girl in a nightgown. Get the difference? Anyhow, we didn’t really think it worked but somehow I had gotten green mud mask on it so we felt we had to buy it. I was sort of wondering around the store and sat down next to this really made up woman. She looked kept somehow, though she wasn’t thin. She was just extremely styled. She started telling me that I could do erotica pictures and be taken care off, like she was. She showed me some of her pictures which were erotic but not, I am not sure how to describe it, they weren’t exactly sexual, they were visual. They meant something to someone but weren’t explicit. Then I woke up again. Anybody have any ideas about my dreams? What do they mean?

long time

I figured since I wrote such a long coffee talk last time that I’d give you all a few weeks to take it in. Seems like maybe instead it put you to sleep. No matter, it is cathartic to me.

I am writing you this lovely Monday in Germany from the comfort of my new giant red velvet couch. It is over 8 ft long and big and squishy. It wasn’t suppose to arrive until the third week in Nov, because it is made in Italy and they were on holiday for August which meant there was a backlog, but somehow, here it is. I am so happy. It is wonderful. When I go back to school, if Patrick and I are living in different cities, I get the couch and the bed.

Anyhow, the reason for my absence is that I was in Paris the last two weekends. Two weekends ago I decided at 2 pm on Friday that I was going to Paris. This is a relatively simple decision to make since I know there is a night train at 11:47 from Stuttgart and I can just hop on the internet to find a hotel room. So after a very long week at work, with many difficult issues in testing, off I went. Didn’t have a reservation for a Couchette since you can’t get seat reservations that same day (be warned!) but ended up finding an empty one. Another gentleman, whom I would later find out was named Uli, shared the cabin with me. There are 6 bunks but no one else showed up. We got all the way to Strasbourg before anyone even came to see about our tickets! Anyhow, Uli and I had a fascinating conversation about life and being a foreigner. He has lived in France for 12 years but was born and raised in Stuttgart (thus the very German name Uli). We talked about how people treat you differently, how you can get away with things locals can’t, discriminations and dating. Not that I do, nor will, but I think it would be really hard to date someone that doesn’t share your native language. How do you really express yourself? I mean, it seems, as an American, where we all speak English, sort of, that we all understand the language in the same way. This isn’t completely true but mostly. More so than how a German and an American speak English. Anyhow, Uli has a French girlfriend and has for a very long time. Of course after 12 years of being immersed in a culture you probably take a lot of it on, but at the beginning at least, wouldn’t it be nearly impossible to express yourself and be understood properly? Seems like all early relationships would be doomed to fail simply because you couldn’t really understand each other. We talked about nationalism and pondered why people beat each other up over Football (soccer to the American readers). It was really cool. Then on Sunday morning when I was switching stuff into my new cool handbag I happened to look at my train ticket. The train conductor gave me Uli’s ticket and him mine. His was one way from Karlsruhe. Bad. Luckily I had his card. I waited until a reasonable hour and gave him a ring. We met at his office, traded tickets and had a cup of coffee around the corner. It was really cool to met someone very open and thoughtful such as himself. Turns out he knows Eugenio at Puento Fizzo across the street. Next time he is in town we will have dinner there!

Then on Sunday night I met Derek. He is the night clerk at the hotel where I stayed. My night train left at 22:58 so I didn’t have much to do. We talked about meeting famous people (not interesting) and nightmare vacations (the airlines lost his luggage AND his place had been robbed of everything!). He is just one of those people that gets along with everyone and has a story to tell. He speaks 6 languages but can’t sing. He always wanted to sing, but like he said, you appreciate the gifts you get. Currently his is single because he had his heart broken back in the UK. He is a wonderful guy though. So if you are single and in Paris, go to the Albert Premier (Best Western Albert 1st) on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night and you will be sure to catch him.

So I went to Paris weekend before last alone because I just needed to get away. It is both a joy and a bear that Patrick and I work in the same department at the same company. We help each other with work stuff and can relate to each other frustrations, but sometimes it just is too much. Solitude is nice, now and again. I use to be afraid to be alone, but now, it is great, when I choose it. Anyhow, I had planned to get into my head by getting out of my daily grind and try to find myself. Mostly I shopped, met cool people and accidentally slept 14 hours (meant to take a nap, woke up the next day). It was all exactly what I needed though. Of course within moments of arriving at the office, the joy was gone but imagine how I would have been had I not gone?

This last Thursday was either Reunification Day or The Day the Wall Fell Day (I can’t quite get a straight answer) so we took Friday off and got the heck out of Germany! We tried to go to Amsterdam but our ‘friend’ Stefan was too busy with the Morrissey concert in Paris earlier in the week to have us, so we hit Paris. And Paris hit back. The weather was great, the hotel was right next to the Eiffel tower (though the beds were really uncomfortable, that is the thing about Rick Steves hotels, the man must have an iron back) and Paris is just nice. But we made the mistake of having Bacon Cheese Burgers on Friday for lunch. Patrick got sick almost instantly. Mine snuck up slower and I am still ill. They were really good burgers though. So we took an early train home (an adventure in itself without a reservation) and now I am semi-permanently attached to my giant red velvet couch, GRVC for short! (only semi because I have laundry to do).

Oh, the one really interesting thing that we did in Paris was buy a dresser’s mannequin. I have always wanted one, so that I could hang my clothing on it and see what certain things look like together. I named her Suzette, as that sounded French. Got lots of strange looks carrying it around. People thought I was in fashion, I think I’m just odd. It is really cool though. You may only see new outfits on her now instead of me though. So much easier and she doesn’t look fat or stiff (heehee) in pictures, like I feel I do sometimes.

Nothing much else. Nothing real inspiring has hit me lately since I have been focusing on testing so much. This is the problem with being a workaholic, no time for inspiration, at least not for me. I’ll try to be more inspiring next week.