As a young girl, my mother always, and I mean always, insisted on using the air conditioning.  I suspect it is due to her being born and raised in the New Orleans, southern Mississippi area (yes, I did just sing M-I-S-S, I-S-S, I-P-P-I to get it right).

Moving to Germany required adjustments to many things.  For one, the weather here in NRW is far milder year-round than the weather in NE Ohio.  Every summer, it hits about 90 degrees for all of 3 days.  By the end of the third day, I am researching the costs of a room air conditioner, only to have the temperature drop back down to a lovely low- to mid-70s.

Normally, June is a month (as I remember) for the moderate weather. 

But this week, we jumped from a nice cool 68 degrees to over 90. 

It was miserable.


(Not humid though – that was nice.)

But ridiculously hot. 

And not that kind of hot where instead of cooking at home you could grab a bite in a nice air conditioned restaurants. Nope.  Most restaurants do NOT have AC. 

There is no escaping integrating oneself into life with German weather.

And then, today, the rains came.  And they came hard and fast.  Soaked Bubba Joe and I through and through even with our umbrellas – which are a standard German attire – within a few seconds.

But the temperature is back down to what I call a June normal.

And that makes me feel human again.

But today marks a special occasion for me – it was my last therapy appointment.  I have been seeing a therapist for two years now.  We discuss mostly what is going on in life at the moment, but have addressed the issues in my past, including postpartum depression, preeclampsia, prematurity, feelings of guilt and the desire to fix the world.

I really liked my therapist.  She was open and honest and approachable (not what I had typically pictured as your stereotypical German therapist) and has helped me to become well, me again.

Turns out that I like me and that while I cannot change the world (why oh why don’t they do what I want them to do when I want them to do it) but I am making a change for the better in what I do and with whom I have contact with.

Since it has been, well, forever since writing, it feels strange to start again.  But I miss writing here … so if you’re still around, cool. 

Four years after my daughter’s birth, I am finally free of antidepressents.  The weaning process sucked.  Seriously.  It sucked.  I have found bits and pieces of information about weaning off setraline but there was nothing concise.

Mind you, I am glad that I was able to tolerate the medicine and it did help me get through the past few years, but weaning was a bit of a long road.

I am now sewing.  I can’t knit much anymore because I need to have surgery on my left hand – and I have always joked that I couldn’t sew, but I could poke myself with the needles but lo and behold, this girl can sew!  

Sadly, I seemed to have accumulated 3 sewing machines in a 6 month period – making dear sweet hubby not so happy, but, but, but …

I like sewing.  I like repaing the clothes we have.

I feel so domesticated. (Of course, it might be influenced by my desire today to bake 2 pies – and pie baking here in Germany means making your own crust.)

Bubba Joe is finishing up his first school year.  I get to hang with him 2 hours per week, teaching him English because, well, he was bored out of his mind in school.  (I am thankful that the school allows me to go in to teach him – but also am a bit frustrated that this was the only real solution.)

His sister is finally finding her own way.  She is terribly shy and that has made it difficult to get her to do anything without her brother or her cousin (who is 3 months younger but very outgoing).  

She really wanted to take dance lessons but when we went in, she would just sit ON me.  That is, until I bought her ballerina clothes.  And poof! just like that, magically, she became a ballerina and all her fears fell away.  Now she takes dance two times a week and wakes in the morning asking, do I get to dance today??  Wonderful!

I am playing piano again – practicing for my audition to begin my formal Suzuki Piano Teacher training.  I know me, and I know that I work well … with deadlines.  But I also recognize that I want to re-learn these pieces as a woman with a lifetime behind her and a lifetime ahead of me – play the rests, count, breathe, take your time, listen, can you feel what he wanted from the music?  

We’ve actually started planning a bit ahead – planning in my book means booking summer holidays (whereas “Germans” would have booked their summer vacations last year).

And during all these things, I am starting to think about what I want to do, who I want to be and where I am.  I am pondering returning to work in a few years – but to do what?  Maybe teach? maybe go and get my doctorate?  There are just so many options … 

Tomorrow is a big day for me.  I turn 38.  I am a bit freaked about the prospect of eventually dieing one day, but plan on that being a long, long time from now.

The one thing I have learned in my life is that while it is good to make plans and preparations, it is better to be flexible with them.

We are in the process of adopting.  Well, we are in the beginning stages.  BJD has flip-flopped a bit – but that is mostly his fears and lack of familial support.

During our first visit, the woman asked if we would be interested in fostering.  I said no.  I don’t share well.  We definitely wanted to adopt – a younger sibling at that.

See that?  Plans in place.  Preparations being made.

What do you think has happened since?

Bubba Joe has a friend.   His mom is a single-parent.  His friend was needing a foster home.  (Do you see where I am going here?)

He is now with us.  It has been a bit longer than a month with many ups and downs.  We have not had the support we hoped for from social services but we are confident in our capabilities, kinda.  It seems to be working more than it is not working and for right now, that is enough.

Our adoption plans are still in place – BJD has a second meeting today to discuss his fears and concerns.

And, drum roll please … I have decided what I want to do with my life.

I have worked in many industries, have my MBA (remember me talking about how presumptuous it is to speak of grad school and differentiating that from undergrad?) and have seriously been considering getting my PhD – though in what I don’t know.  My undergraduate degree was in Applied Music (basically theory – because I chickened out of a senior recital).

I have contacted the Uni-Münster about studying for my PhD there – and the process seems pretty straightforward.  But then what do I do with a PhD?  I don’t really want to work full-time.  I enjoy volunteering … and knitting … (I do NOT under any circumstances enjoy cleaning – a clean house, yes, but cleaning no way!)

And so, I have decided to become a certified Suzuki piano teacher.

It is the method in which I learned at the age of 3.  And it is the ear training that has helped in learning to speak German.

So I have been practicing again … on the piano we purchased with the money my dad left when he died – a beautiful baby grand with an amazing tone and touch and feel.

I am home again.

I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I have thought about what I would blog when I took the time to sit down and actually blog. 

But then, life got away from me.

A quick run-down …

  • I had carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand last year.  It was horrifying to see my hand after surgery (I watched BTW) but one year later and I love my right hand!  Now I am procrastinating getting my left hand fixed.
  • Henry has started school.  Here it starts at the 1st grade.  He is struggling with not wanting to do homework and has even had a fight at school.  But his teacher insists that he is doing okay and we have faith in her.
  • Speaking of faith, religion here is pretty basic – Lutheran or Catholic, with a strong tendency towards Catholicism.  Anne Catherine Emmerich is buried at the church that was associated with Henry’s preschool.  I have been seriously considering converting to Catholicism as for me, it is most important to give our children a base than it is to give nothing because there is no Methodist church within reasonable distance (the closest is 1.5 hours away!)
  • Sofia, as it turns out, is much like me.  Quite shy.  Shy you say?  Yup, I am surprisingly uncomfortable in new surroundings and my mom insists that she sent me to multiple preschools to help me in my separation anxiety.  She is doing okay at preschool, but would absolutely prefer to be home with me all.day.long. 
  • Given the complexity of my pregnancies, we have decided we will not have anymore biological children.  I was surprised when Alex told me last year that he wanted to look into adoption.  Turns out, the process here where we live specifically, is pretty straight-forward.  The process has started …
  • I am still knitting like a fool.
  • I have begun playing piano again.  I also have it in the works to begin the process to become certified to teach the Suzuki Piano Method.  It is the method I was taught when I began playing at the age of 3.5 and I really want our kids to play.  (Plus it really seems a shame that the baby grand we brought here with us – my dad’s last gift to me – doesn’t get use!)
  • Alex is doing well professionally.  He travels quite often – and brings small treasures back.

I guess that’s enough for now … let’s see if I can keep up with this for a while more …

A Revival

Have you met Mrs. Spit?  If you haven’t, she’s a woman worth knowing.  She’s strong and compassionate and I  imagine her as a someone with whom not just knows her manners (as I do, honest, I know about them) but actually USES them.

She posted about happiness.

Which got me to thinking about me.

And I have been realising lately that I am happy.


Let me try that again.

I am happy!  I am satisfied.  I am finding pleasure in things that I never thought I would.

I have always considered myself to be a bit (yes, just a bit) of a workaholic.  If I do something, I commit 110% .  If I don’t, it’s because I don’t like it.

Which leads to my current living situation.

Alex and I celebrated 10 years of marriage this year.

And finally, FINALLY, we have lived in one place for more than a few years.  In fact, we have committed to staying here in Dülmen.  And in doing so, painted.  Colors.  On walls.  Which means our half of the house is no longer stark white walls with start white tiles (standard German rental property) but is a lovely taupey with grey and blue and well, just lovely.

Even before the painting though, I realize how happy I am that Alex works in a company that provides his the challenges and financial security that make him happy and allow me to  stay home.

I have found that (gasp!) I like cleaning.  Well, not so much cleaning as having a clean house.

And stuff being organized.

Maybe someday I will get pics up of our house – with all it’s order, cleanliness and color!

We had the piano tuned today.  I still find it strange that in German, one specifies  between a piano (i.e. upright) and grand (what we have – well, a baby grand).  Alex is playing right now.

My right hand is doing very well after carpal tunnel surgery. We have agreed to wait until winter time to have the surgery on my left.

I am still knitting – but have found some things to be too hard on my right hand (like cables – which I love the look of).

And Sofia has started preschool part-time.

I plan on finding a teacher for piano.  I would like to think that I am advanced enough to learn new pieces on my own – I am.  But I require the whip.  I need the accountability.

I also have a plan to lose weight.  Well, the plan is simply to lose weight.  I’m still struggling with implementing it, but our health insurance has some good initiatives that I am hoping will help.  I am 5’1” on a very tall day. 10 years ago, I was 130 pounds.

Now, I am pretty steadily between 175-180 pounds.  I am snacking less and exercising more.  But as my neurologist said (here in Germany, you see a neurologist for depredssion and carpal tunnel stuff.  crazy, eh?) it could very well be the meds I am on for both depression and high blood pressure.

I have noticed signficant pitting edema with the new BP meds I am on and have an appointment tomorrow to have them changed.

Plans are in the works.

I am a revival in the making.

My niece has been visiting for the past month.  We had planned on attending an opera in Münster last weekend, but the traffic back from our family reunion was horrific, so we missed the opera.

To make it up to her, I found some tickets via groupon for the Cirque Bouffon, a cirque neuveau, along the style of Cirque du Soleil.

One word.  Amazing.

It was an intimate setting, with one big tent and seats all around.  Every seat was a good seat.

I won’t tell you much about the storyline, but I will tell you that it was the most impressive performance I have seen.  Ever.

What I enjoyed the most, though, was that the entire theme surrounded around musicicians.  Not just the circus performers, but actual musicians – a bassist from the Ukraine not only performed but composed the “script”; a xylophonist who seemed to enjoy being in the background but then is coerced on stage to perform beautifully.  There was a vocalist, who’s singing abilities matched her beauty and an accordianist who, well, just wow.  Wow wow wow!

I found myself saying out loud – “no way” and “oh my!” and WOW!”

Each and every moment built upon the last and just when you think it can’t get better, it does.

A rope act, juggling, dance, acrobats, and hoop artists …

Sensual, personal, moving, and at times, sad …

I fought back tears at times and found myself wooping with the best of them at others.

I cannot thank this circus enough for bringing such a wonderful performance to my heart.

It all began just over 5 years ago, just after my dad died.

I had dreams so realistic, so emotional, I sometimes wondered if they were dreams or just memories.

Only if they were real they would be awful.

I dreamt last night that my dad was alive.  Again.

He had died.  I did his eulogy.  I led my family in planning the funeral. These things happened in real life and were a part of my past in my reoccuring dream.

But then, somehow, he was alive again.

Walking, talking, alive.  Still sick and dying, but not dead.

And then he died again.  And I am stuck dealing with all these emotions all over again.  The disbelief, the shock, the anger, then overwhelming sadness.

Even as I type, tears stream down my face.

His death was such a significant blow to my immediate family.  It destroyed each of us – my brother, my sister, my mom and I.  We each went our own way in dealing with it.

And I haven’t had to relive this (in a dream) for quite some time.

This dream was an indicator of how deep my depression was and always meant my meds needed to be adjusted.

But I am at the end of it all!  It isn’t fair or right to have this dream again.  I was done with dealing with the grief of losing my father.  How dare I have a dream of him living and dying again??

In this dream, I was surrounded by childhood friends, laughing and having fun.  Then my dad dies.  I am so angry by this that I refuse to participate in the funeral planning, much less give a eulogy.

I woke up from this dream, with the feeling that I had been sobbing for hours – the same feeling I had when my dad did die.  The feeling of sublime reality – is this what my life is to be like from now on?

I hate this dream.  I much prefer the ones where I have to go back to college to finish up a class (in spite of having a graduate degree – which is strange because I keep saying in this dream that I have a graduate degree but that I must finish one class to get my bachelor degree).  Or the classic forgetting your locker combination in high school.