Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Great week to get greater

News flash: this is one great week and it's about to get greater. Please, let me ellaborate.

Why is this a great week? Well, yesterday I gave my first powerpoint presentation and it was quite the success. I dare say it was one of my best presentations in Germany, if not ever. I'll toot my own horn a bit more and say that it was tastefully designed, well structured, and was followed by great questions and some excellent group work. Another contributing factor to the great week is the current lack of slugs in the garden. One plant was attacked, although I'm not sure by what. Other than that, everyone is looking very healthy and happy. I can only assume that all the snails we have are doing their job, which, if you don't know, is to eat the eggs of the slugs. It's a gross job, but someone has to do it. Thank goodness it's not the other way around, snails are oh so cute.

What is going to make this week even better? Meghan is coming! Meghan is one of my dearest friends from Ottawa and is on a several-month Euro-Tour. Tomorrow she will be hopping on a trin from Munich and heading over here for a few days a fun. And lucky for her, she's coming during an event-filled week. On Thursday we'll be having dinner with my classmates at a friends house, I think I'm cooking, and then we'll head off to the Clubhausfest of the Fachschaft Politik, the big party that my student organization (not mine really, the one I'm in) throws each semester. The Clubhausfest (don't be afraid of the long word, it's really three words that I think you all know: club-haus(house)-fest) is a huge party that is held every Thursday and I think it's safe to assume that about 300 people will come. Once that is over, we'll have the pleasure of taking thousands of dollars, mostly in coins, back to the bank (uuhhhh). Then on Friday we're off to a birthday party. The fun never stops!

Well, I'm off to do some corrections (ok, I lied, the fun stops here) so I can get to all that fun stuff.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Did you know?

Did you know that Germany has one of the leading civil peace services? Have you ever heard of a civil peace service? Very possibly not. It's a rather new idea, yet one that is spreading fast. The civil peace service is made up of professional men and women with strong career backgrounds and lots of life experience. They take part in a 4-month intensive training program, which trains them in conflict resolution, cultural sensitivity and much more. Then go to work in conflict regions. Their work takes one of two forms: either working in a local NGO in their host country, or in a region of extreme conflict, where lines of communication are not open, open up their own office and work to get the conflict parties involved with each other. Their goals are to strengthen local methods of conflict resolution; to rehabilitate and reintigrate victims of war, as well as combatants; to carry out peace education; and to improve information and communications structures such as peace journalism, networking, and human rights monitoring. Most importantly, they work with local groups and individuals with the goal of training people in the host countries and eventually handing the programs over to them.

I'm giving a presentation on the civil peace service tomorrow and I must say, I'm all for it. Since 1999 over 200 people have gone abroad with the civil peace service and the response has been very positive. It's definately something I would like to do, although I'm not yet an experienced professional, so I'll have to wait a bit. Questions?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

What's Hot and What's Not

Those of you who ever visited 259 Bay St. in Ottawa may very well remember the "What's Hot and What's Not" list that filled the large white board in the entrance. For those of you who were never there or don't remember, don't worry, you'll catch on quickly. The white board was originally intended for all kind of useful things like grocery lists and reminder notes, yet it quickly became a powerful outlet for Maria and me and all that we have to share with the world. The "What's Hot and What's Not" list is, as the name suggests, a list of the things that Maria and I think are very utterly fantastic or abismal. We often saw the list as therapy and a way of working with things you don't like -- write them on the list, look at it for a week, get over it. Yet, a few of the greats stayed on all year long, like animals for example. Due to the horrid animal problems (squirrels, pigeons, perhaps marmots of some kind of racoons) we had in our apartment, animals were forever doomed to the "What's Not Hot" list. Noting the "What's Hot" items of the week was a way to celebrate our life together and our apartment; we live here and we decide what is cool. Well, now I 'live' here and Maria 'lives' over at her blog, and once again, we shall decide what's hot and what's not.

What's Hot

my garden
crunchy peanut butter
white asparagus
big hair
saving money
sun-dried laundry

What's Not

chapped hands
people not being home when you call

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Results of the weekend work

You might all remember the picture of green that I posted yesterday? Well this is what it now looks like. As previously mentioned, herbs on the left and soon veggies on the right. Actually, I'm starting to doubt if there is enough room for all the little seedlings, since some of them, like the squash, need a lot of space to grow. We'll see. There are more beds . . . they just need to be made weed-free. Posted by Picasa

Me looking happy with mini onions

Fabi's mom gave these to me. In German they call them "Steckzwiebeln", which I guess loosely translates to stick-em-in onions. Just stick em in the ground and wait. Maybe that's how you grow all onions. I dunno. Posted by Picasa

The only picture in which I am making a kind of nice face

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another one of this side

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My new hair from the other side

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Sorry, I was in the garden

My appologies everyone, I was in the garden. Below you will find pictures of the garden in its very early stages. I'll try to take some new pictures tomorrow to show you all the progress that has been made.

Today was a great day. I got a haircut and a new job! The haircut idea was born out of necessity, as I hadn't had it cut in 5 months and was starting to look like a mangy lion. (Maria, not hot). The new dew is shorter and, for those of you who knew me back then or have seen pictures, reminds me of the haircut I had when I was 4 and went as Robin Hood for Halloween. That might not sound good to the rest of you, but I'm a fan. I'll work on a photo of that too. The job is at the DAI, the German American Institute here in Tübingen. I did a teaching audition for them, all those involved had a great time, and they hired me on the spot. I won't start teaching until the fall, since I'll be gone in from August to October, but I don't mind -- I have enough to do until then anyways.

Well, that's all for now. I've still got some reading to do for tomorrow. Ooops!

Me and my banana

This is my new best friend, the banana plant. Banana plant is more that your average plant, she grows a new leaf at least every week and squirts water out of her new rolled up leaf at the top. Well, maybe it's more of a drip than a squirt. At any rate, removing her two babies from next to her stem is one of my upcoming projects. I think it will be an operation, but we here in the house are feeling positive about everyone's chances of success. Posted by Picasa

Kresse-Mann (Cress-man in English)

Everyone, this is Kresse-Mann, Kresse-Mann, this is everyone. This is Patricia's chia-pet friend who moved outside to the garden recently. Unfortunately, his seeds washed off of him. Luckily for us, and maybe unluckily for the naked Kresse-Mann, the cress is growing at his feet. Behind him you can see our chives. Posted by Picasa

My darlings

Here they are folks, my beloved seedlings. This photo was taken a few days ago, so all of them are much bigger and stronger now, although I think they are starting to beg to get out of their pots and into the open earth. That will probably happen on Wednesday. Posted by Picasa

Weeds, or non-herbs as the Germans call them

This just looks like a lot of green . . . and that it is. To give you some orientation, the herb garden is to the left and the house further to the left. I'll try to post a picture tomorrow of what this bed of weeds looks like now. You'll all be amazed. Well, maybe you won't be amazed, but I am. Posted by Picasa


Here is the herb section of the garden. We have chives, lavender, mint, peppermint, rosemary, and maybe something else that I can't remember. Posted by Picasa

The garden, the babies and the ugly umbrella stand

Here we see the garden behind my house. On the right are the babies in their pots (zucchini, green beans, basil, two kinds of squash, cucumber, and cilantro). On the left, behind the irises (are those irises?) are the herb and veggie beds. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Well-earned criticism

Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner -- priceless. A refreshing change of pace from the complaicency of so much of the US media. I'm not sure who booked him for the gig, but it was a bold and brilliant move.

Check out the video of his opening speach and his press secretary audition tape.