Sunday, April 30, 2006

just bobbing along

Hello everyone out there!

I just working away towards the term paper deadline that I have tomorrow and the homecoming of the roommate (that means a bit of cleaning: mop, scrub the sinks and the tub -- the usual). It's all a bit of a struggle, but nothing too bad.

The day started with a jog and got doing with a lovely brunch with some friends at the Schloss Cafe, a cafe nestled right under the castle here in Tübingen. Tomorrow my friend Kristen and I are dedicating some time to reworking our resumes and applying for internships and scholarships and all that jazz. Then we may take part in the anual "May Day Hike". Yup, tomorrow is a holiday in Germany, we've got off school, and it's the perfect occaision for some hiking.

Just as a note, in the early days of my blog you could only post if you had a blog because I had the settings messed up, but now anyone and everyone can post comments (this means you, Grandma!). If you have problems with it, let me know.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

My little succulent babies!

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another shot of them

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Our apartment building

Our apartment was the third down from the top, right side. Posted by Picasa

The catacombs

In the catacombs of Paris, between 6 to 7 million Parisiens are laid to rest. Better said, they are stacked. And, for just under 3 Euros, you can take a 1.7 kilometer walk through and have a look. Posted by Picasa

An altar of some sort in the catacombs

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Me smooching the boyfriend in front of Sacre Coeur

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The Eifel Tower through the smog

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Noble Profiles

It was Fabian who noticed the likeness. Posted by Picasa

The front of Notre Dame

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Here we see a little frowny Easter chick with his eggshell still on his head. He is framed by two cups of Earl Gray tea. Posted by Picasa

the infamous brunch

Here is a shot of the second to last bunch. I'm not sure if you can really see just how much food is on that table, but I promise you, it's a ridiculous amount. Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 28, 2006

I'm pretty sure it's all my fault

I did it, I painted my toenails. Yes, you read that correctly, I painted them. And that's how it all began. Last week I returned to Tübingen to find that spring was here; the treas were budding, the air was warm, and it smelled green. I wore capri pants, I wore short sleeve shirts, I basked in it all. And then I decided to paint my toenails so that I could wear my pretty new sandals that I got in Paris. That's when it all went downhill. Since that day it has been cold and rainy in Tübingen. It's pretty clear to me that I jinxed the weather. To everyone in Tübingen, I'm really sorry, I didn't know this was going to happen. You can write your complaints in the comments section, although, now that I think of it, I don't know if anyone from my little city reads it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It could happen to you!

Yes folks, it's true, you comments can make it in the big leagues! And yes folks, in the world of your comments, I do see my blog as the big leagues. As you will shortly see, good comments deserve praise.

Today's praise goes out to Sarah (Mysterious Object at Midnight, her blog) who made not one, not two, but three brilliant responses to my call for advice on cutting down my food budget. Here they are, in all their glory:

1)eat a lot of good cheese until your stomach hurts, then you won't have to eat for a while and that will save money maybe

2)and stop spending SO much money on those damn meat hats

3)okay well I have a real suggestion this time: remember how in door county we used to eat dinner for free all the time at art gallery opening receptions? they always had the good cheese and a lot of good fruits and vegetables and sometimes even free wine... just a thought.

Great work, Sarah! Thanks to everyone for any and all comments -- I do so love them!

As for me, the semester is once again getting underway and, like 99% of my fellow, German students, I still have a paper from last semester to write. This really is normal, I'm serious. Our term papers, each 20-25 pages, are supposed to be done in our break, which is correctly called "lecture free period", but which is often referred to by professors as "vacation". Maybe if you are a professor your idea of vacation does involve writing hundreds of pages, but thus far I have yet to find a student who shares this notion. But it all works out in the end. From what I've heard one spends a bit of time between their last classes and starting their thesis to catch up on all those old papers. I'll tell you about all my classes some other day. I'm think everyone has had just about enough info about the German university system.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

On the right track

Good morning everyone! This is your hard-working friend, Claire, tuning in to give you the latest updates on life at the desk. The good news it, things are looking up. While a few unrelated google searches have still occured, their number is dropping rapidly and my bum is getting readjusting to being planted on a chair for many consecutive hours. Work is going well, the sun is shining into my room, and I feel just peachy.

So here is where we come to the advice section of my blog. Not as in I give you advice, rather that you give me advice. As many of you may know, I have really horendous money management skills. One thing that I have really noticed that I spend a lot of money on is food. How do you bright, money-aware people out there keep your food budgets from going through the roof? I love food and, unfortunately for my wallet, I love good food. I also really like fruits and veggies and being healthy. From what I know of most of my beloved readers, you are smart people, you are people who like to eat, and, as far as I know, none of you are rich. Thus, I think you know something about this topic and are just waiting for me to ask. What's your secret (or maybe just some rules to live by at the grocery store)? All suggestions, other than eat less, will be warmly welcomed, possibly even with mail, which I might be able to afford when I stop being such an idiot with my food budget.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

feeling so incompetent at the moment

Have you ever gotten into a circle of procrastination before? When you start to procrastinate and then it turns into more and more procrastination and at some point you even stop feeling bad about it and just accept it. And that feeling of acceptance allows you to procrastinate more. Well, I've gotten myself into a bit of that over the last few days. (Note to parents and those who worry about me: I'm fine. This is normal. I'm a student, this is what we do and we know how to get through it.) So now I've got a lot of writing to do and a lot of coffee to drink in the meantime. Lucky for me, the weather decided to be grey and forboding today, discouraging my feelings of running away into a field.

And just another note to the world: Norwegian's ankles don't get too warm when they are wearing tall socks in spring. I know this from a real Norwegian woman (see Tink's Think Tank).

Friday, April 21, 2006

short socks

It's official: spring is here. And how, my dear friends, do I know this? It's a valid question, I understand; not everyone is gifted with such accute perceptive abilities. Because I'm wearing short socks. Yes, yesterday, as I walked to the garden center to buy some greenery, I noticed the unpleasant sensation of hot ankles So, today I welcomed spring with the short socks.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Reflections on success

Back in beautiful Tübingen and so very happy to be here! After just over a month in the big city, I'm so pleased to be back in my little, green city. Don't get me wrong, Paris was lovely, but Tübingen is so alive in its own way. The thing that impressed me the most when I got back here yesterday is that it smells green. Paris definately does not smell green. I don't think any big cities smell green.

At any rate, I think my time in Paris was a success. I left babbling quite a bit of French. I'm of course quite a ways from being really competent, but I feel like I made excellend progress in one month. My second great success is that I managed to not step in dog poo in Paris. This is no easy task, as everyone in Paris has a dog and no one cleans up after them.

Well, as much as I'd like to spend more time writing about the end of my stay in Paris and about plans for the future, I've got to finish papers before the new semester starts, otherwise I imagine I won't have much of an academic future at all. My goal is to get some serious work done over the next few days and then do some serious corresponding to everyone in the days after that.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

A new class with new challenges.

Last monday I started a new class and it was horrible. The teacher was boring, the class was overfilled, and the pace was painfully slow. Two days into it our teacher asked for volunteers to go to a different class so that her class wouldn't be quite so full. She said the other class would be a bit faster and I jumped at the chance. My new class has 11 people in it instead of 23 and the teacher is energetic and creative. The level is also considerably more challenging and it's great! I just wish I could stay longer!

What else have I been doing? Well, eating boatloads of French food of course. Last night Natalie, my lovely hostess; Leanne, Colin's lovely girlfriend; and I went out for girls' night. That meant dinner at a delicious and affordable restaraunt, followed by drinks at a very nice Irish pub. This morning we woke up and continued the non-stop eating with a huge brunch. Since I have arrived, we've established the tradition of enormous Sunday brunches. Typical menu: fruit salad with either fromage frais or creme fraiche, french toast, scrambled eggs with lots of butter and chives, cheese plate, potatoes with thyme and rosmary, and mimosas. Today our guests of honor were Zosia's parents, Sierd and Elsbie, who are here for a short visit before they jaunt off to Tunisia. Not bad, not bad at all.

In my free time I have been studying quite a bit, taking naps to help my very strained brain keep going, and walking around and browsing in shops. I haven't found the French soap opera that I was planning on, but it's fine, I'm getting enough French exposure anyways. Yesterday I started reading an easy version of Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth. It's very beginning language learners and has a vocabulary of only 400 to 700 words. It's a good start.

I have also put more Paris pictures on my Snapfish gallery. It is annoying because you have to log in, but it doesn't cost anything and then you can all look at my pictures forever! Here's the link.

The height difference is still there.

This is Natalie, the tree and me. Natalie was my best friend from kindergarten until the third grade. She has been my unendingly generous host here in Paris and we've had a fabulous time getting to know each other again. And, just like when we were kids, Natalie is a good head shorter than me. Posted by Picasa

The absolute scariest thing at the fair.

This large figure talked in a large grumbly voice and stood up menacingly from time to time. I made a short movie of it with my camera, but I don't even like to watch it because it's so creepy. Posted by Picasa

Things to be wary of at the fair

Others were more afraid of the roller coasters at the fair; I, on the other hand, was more afraid of these painted children. Posted by Picasa


Taffy, taffy, taffy at the fair by our house. The fair was on the "must see" list of the usually cool guidebook that Colin has. However, it was just a normal, tacky fair and we are reevaluating our feelings about the guidebook. Posted by Picasa

Girls' Night Out

Yesterday was girls' night out and it was great! We went out for a lovely (and affordable) dinner and then out for drinks afterwards. Actually, at this point, "Girls night out" was crashed by Natalie's boyfriend and his friend, but we mostly ignored them. This is Natalie, me, and Leanne. Posted by Picasa