Saturday, June 30, 2012

Der Wind, der Wind, das himmlische Kind.

Hallo meine Lieben,

everything is pretty crazy here at the moment. Yesterday around 5 p.m. a bad storm hit our town in Ohio. A lot of trees fell down and we lost power. It is still not back yet and they say it can take a couple of days. Yay. How nice. I have never experienced anything like that before. I have never been without power for a couple of days. A couple of hours, yes. But this is so crazy. I am glad we got some candles in the house so I was able to spend the night reading a book. But it is hard to be without an internet connection. Haha. I think the worst thing for David is that the air conditioning doesn't work and it's pretty hot in the house.
We escaped to David's parents this afternoon to rescue all our frozen food. :) And to cook a warm meal. It was so wonderful because I did not have any real food for 24 hours. Yesterday we had grapes and salt pretzels for dinner. Nice.
So, I really don't know when the power will be back so you won't hear that much from me in the next couple of days. I will miss you a lot guys. :) But I hope the power will be back soon!
Now I want to show you some pictures so that you are able to get an impression of what happened here. 

That's a little scary! We have a huge tree in front of our house but fortunately only a couple of branches fell down. 

The whole tree got uprooted. That happened to a lot of trees. So sad. 

It looks like that on every street so they have a lot to fix. 

Poor stop sign!

That car got lucky. It doesn't have have a scratch. 

Trees all over the place.

Okay, I hope you guys are all safe and have a great weekend! I hope the power will be back soon. See you!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Book club! More Icelandic crime and some disappointment.

Hallo meine Lieben,

Germany lost the semi-finale against Italy so they won't play the finale against Spain on Sunday. That's disappointing but there is one thing that's even more disappointing for me. Maybe I am naive but I really expected somebody to speak out against all the killings of the 250000 stray dogs in the Ukraine to "clean" the streets for the Cup. I did not really expect the Fifa or Uefa to do or say something....but the DFB, the German football association....they did NOTHING. Not even a single player. They all just acted like nothing ever happened and that makes me very very sad. What is wrong with this world? It seems like as soon the first game started everybody just forgot about all the cruelty. It is a shame. I was really disgusted and disappointed. 

Okay. Change of subject.

It is Friday which means it is time for the weekly link up with Heather from Blonde...Undercover Blonde. for the book club! Thank you so much for being the host of this wonderful link up, Heather!

You know that I love crime stories. I especially love to read Swedish and Icelandic crime stories. One of my two favorite writers from Iceland is Yrsa Sigurðardóttir (the other one is Arnaldur Indriðason by the way). I already talked about her book "Geisterfjord" here. I really recommend reading her crime series, she is a great writer and all her books are very thrilling and nerve-wracking. 

The book I want to talk about today is

Das letzte Ritual (The last rituals). The Icelandic title is Þriðja táknið. Can somebody speak Icelandic? If so, can somebody teach me how to speak Icelandic? Would be awesome!

I really like the German and the American cover this time. If you have read my other posts you know that I usually prefer the German covers because in my opinion they tell you a lot more about the content of the book. I can't really explain why, that's just my feeling. 

So, the book's content. As usual it  is very thrilling and bloody. And that's what I like about Scandinavian (and Icelandic. If you don't consider Iceland as a part of Scandinavia) books. They don't skimp on blood. 

The protagonist of the story is Dóra Guðmundsdóttir, a young attorney and single mom of two who lives in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. The other book I have read has two protagonists, a psychiatrist and a police officer but I think the lawyer if the protagonist of all her other books. I still have 3 to read. I am excited and can't wait!

The body of a German student is discovered at the university of Reijkavik. His eyes are cut out and some strange symbols are cut into his chest. 
The police believes that it is a drug related crime is arrests a drug dealer. But the victim's family isn't convinced that the right person is in custody. They ask Dóra Guðmundsdóttir for help. Her investigation uncovers the German student's obsession with  Iceland's grisly history of torture, execution, and witch hunts. But there are very contemporary horrors hidden in the long, cold shadow of dark traditions. 
Nothing is quite what it seems. And nobody can be trusted.

I love the fact that the book contains topics like witch craft and magic! I am very interested in these topics so the blurb sounded very promising to me. I really love Sigurðardóttir's writing, it makes you feel the dark and mysterious side of Iceland. She definitely won me over. I have read two of her books so far and I am a fan. I can't wait to read the other books of her series. She helps me to bridge the time I have to wait until the new books of Håkan Nesser and Arnaldur Indriðason will be released in fall. :) Thank you so much for that!

I really love to discover new book series and I always want to read ALL the books at once. being a bookworm can be hard sometimes. 

What are you currently reading?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cute Overload - Mein Name ist Hase.

Hallo meine Lieben,

I have a big problem today. I can't write. I have no idea why. Everything I write down sounds absolutely stupid. That's why I decided to spare you from my uncreative talking and show you some fantastic pictures of two even more fantastic bunnies. 
Sounds good?
I hope to come up with some better ideas in the next days! Maybe it's because I am nervous today. Germany will play against Italy in the semi-final of the European Championships and we have to win! I predict that Germany will win 3:0 and Mario Gomez will score twice. 

So, here are the bunnies.

By the way, you can see the Crazy cat lady edition of my cute overload post here.

Tiffie eating his favorite food. They both love to eat but Finnie would win every eating contest. You can see that he loves to eat. 

I think Findus hates taking pictures that's why I don't have that many. But I think this one is pretty cool. He always sleeps in a cat bed by the way. And he doesn't care if a cat is already in there. He's not afraid at all and it looks very funny when he scares the cats away. 

They don't always like each other but sometimes they have their cuddly five minutes. 

Sorry for the quality but this picture is so funny that I had to share it. Tiffie loves to roll around. 

Very photogenic bunny. They are both 3 years old by the way. I rescued them from the animal shelter. They were both very sick and they had some very hard weeks back then. But I am thankful that they are healthy and happy now!

Lazy bunny! And he is ticklish. Very entertaining.

As you can see I am a crazy cat and bunny lady. I hope the post wasn't too boring.
Have a wonderful Thursday and keep your fingers crossed for the Deutsche Nationalmannschaft!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Flying class rooms, detectives, crocodiles and witches. Favorite childhood books.

Hallo meine Lieben,

I am a huge huuuuuuuuge bookworm and I love to talk about books. I think you have already realized that.  And you all know how much I love crime novels but I have never talked about the favorite books of my childhood  I need to change that. Because they mean a lot to me and they are a huge part of who I am. 

So here is a list (I love books and making lists!) of the books that accompanied me in my childhood years. I have read all of them in German but I am sure there's an English edition of some of the books.

1. Die kleine Hexe and Der Räuber Hotzenplotz by Ottfried Preußler

I remember that I always had a poster of Die kleine Hexe (The little witch) in my bedroom. I went to see the stage play with my parents and they bought me the poster there. I loved it. 
It is the story of a little witch who lives with her raven Abraxas in a little house in the woods. her biggest wish is to fly on her broom with the adult witches on the Blocksberg.
Der Räuber Hotzenplotz (The robber Hotzenplotz) is the adventure of Kasperl and Seppel who try to find the Räuber Hotzenplotz who stole Kasper's grandmother's coffee mill.

2. Fünf Freunde by Enid Blyton

I guess everybody knows The Famous Five and their adventures. It's the story about George, Julian, Dick, Anne and Timmy the dog and they solve mysteries. 
I have so many tapes and books of them, I think I know all their stories. I already liked crime stories as a child. :)

3. Das alte Haus by Wilhelm Matthießen

This book is a collection of several short stories and it is from 1923. All the stories start with "Es war einmal..." (Once upon a time) and they are oriented at the seasons. My favorite is the story about the Kartoffelkönig (the potato king).

4 TKKG by Stefan Wolf

TKKG stands for Tim, Karl, Klößchen and Gabi. 4 friends who are hobby detectives and solve crimes together. I know, again. They also have a dog, he is called Oskar. My lovely Miss Sugar Shack reminded me of them! Thank you, Liebes! They are definitely my childhood heroes. I also wanted to be a detective and solve crimes with my dog and friends. 

5. Die Drei Fragezeichen

I already talked about them on Monday, so you can read the post here.

6. Frieder series by Gudrun Mebs

The first book of the series is called " "Oma" schreit Frieder". It's the story about the 6 year old Frieder and his hilarious grandmother. I loved their adventures because I also had a very close relationship to my grandmother Anneliese. She had a kidney disease and died when I was 9. That was the first terrible experience in my life. So after she died I still loved to read those books because they reminded me of her.

7. Astrid Lindgren

Astrid Lindgren was a Swedish writer and I love ALL her books and stories. She was such an awesome writer and I think every kid should know her stories. I can't even tell you what's my favorite. Pippi Langstrumpf (Pippi Longstocking) is definitely one of my heroes. I wanted to be like her. She lives in a house with a horse and a monkey, she is unbelievably strong, can do what she wants and her father is a pirate. She's awesome. I also love the Michel-series. Michel lives on a farm and fools around all day. So cool. And Ronja Räubertochter! Another amazing character. I definitely recommend watching the movies. I own the whole Astrid Lindgren collection and watch them over and over. 

By the way: Pippi's full name is Pippilotta Viktualia Rollgardina Pfefferminz Efraimstochter Langstrumpf. I am a little jealous because this is the most amazing name EVER.

8. Das fliegende Klassenzimmer by Erich Kästner

I think I have watched the movie at least 50 times! So good! Das fliegende Klassenzimmer means "The flying class room" so you can imagine how cool it is. I can't really tell you the whole plot because it consists of so many single episodes but it is a story about friendship, courage and family. A must read and see!

9. Vorstadtkrokodile by Max von der Grün

"The suburb crocodiles" is a children's gang and you have to pass a test of courage to become a member. It is a story about friendship and the integration of disabled people. I think I have watched the movie every single Sunday when I was a child. And I still own the tape (!!). 

10.  Spürnase Jakob Nachbarkind by Christine Nöstlinger

Family Zoch inherited an old villa. They would love to move in but they don't have enough money for the renovations. Jakob is in love with one of the Zoch daughters and convinced that there must be some money hidden in the old house. The search begins. 
I recomment to read all Nöstlinger books! They are all fantastic! And I love the fact that all stories takes place in Vienna and lots of words are in Viennese. So wonderful!

....and I have just realized that my list is endless. There are so many more books that I love. I still haven't talked about Der Struwwelpeter, Momo, Urmel aus dem Eis, Der kleine Vampir and Rennschwein Rudi Rüssel yet.
The fantastic thing is that I still have all the books from my childhood.
And now I want to read all of them again! :)
What are your favorite books from your childhood?
Have a lovely Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ten on Tuesday! Vampires, haunted castles and poor pepper plants.

Hallo meine Lieben,

Tuesday! Yay! Time to link up with Lin from Linny's Vault. I love reading your posts, Lin! You always make me laugh so much and I am so glad I found your blog! Please never stop blogging, okay?

1. I am usually absolutely disorganized when I start cooking. I just mix the stuff I am in the mood for together and add tons of spices. I don't use recipes most of the times and my meals never taste the same. I like cooking that way because you always eat something new. It usually tastes good. But I have learned that baking without recipes is not the best idea. I made some muffins a while ago and mixed two recipes I found online. As the result I got some sticky muffins with a bitter taste.

2. I am a very rude driver. I hate all other drivers and let them know. Okay, they can't hear me most of the time but I can get very angry and loud when people don't drive the way  I want them too. I can't help myself, I am an angry German (by the way, it seems like I really sound angry all the time. That's kind of sad.).

3. I feel sorry for all the plants at Walmart. We went there on Sunday because we want to grow some vegetables and I say these poor pepper plants. Do they never water them? Looks like it. I wish I could have bought all of them. But we rescued a huge bell pepper plant and named him (it's a guy) "Pepper". How creative. And we also got some regular pepper and basil.

4. Celeste is a wonderful girl and her blog is called The Punching Teacup. She lives in the Netherlands and her grandfather received an award from Queen Beatrix. How cool is that? And you should also check out Katha's blog Katha Strophe. She's fabulous and wrote a great post about getting older. 

5. I would love to spend a night in a haunted castle in Scotland. I am not sure how I would react. I think I would try to stay calm at first but I get easily startled so I would probably scream when I hear a weird noise. But I am sure it would be a great adventure.

6. When I was a kid I always watched "Der kleine Vampir" (The little vampire) and read the book series. I loved it so much that I wanted to have a vampire as a friend too. I looked out of my window every night and hoped for a vampire to come and visit me. He/she did not show up (what a surprise) but I never stopped loving the show/books. A couple of years ago I got the show on DVD as a birthday present. Awesome.

7. I named one of my bunnies after a pink bird from the Sesame Street. I am not sure what that says about me. That character doesn't even exist in the American version. Only in the German Sesamstrasse. I was surprised that there are so many different characters. There is no Samson in the American Sesame Street. Unbelievable for a German!


The big brown bear is Samson.

8. I can't help myself but the German version of "Mahna Mahna" is sooooooo much cooler than the American one! David doesn't agree but I know that I am right.

9. Clowns are scary. Period. 

10. Do you know "Die Sendung mit der Maus"? I guess you know it when you are German. It is a show for children but I still love to watch it. You can learn so much! Does anybody know the "Müllmänner Song"? Six bin men explain how the garbage collection works. That's how you learn stuff!! I can watch it over and over. Genius!

Have a wonderful Tuesday and link up with Lin!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Nighttime routine - Die Drei Fragezeichen.

Hallo meine Lieben,

I hope you guys had a wonderful weekend and got lots of sleep. Do you  have a nighttime routine? I can't just go to bed, close my eyes and fall asleep. Not possible, I don't know why. Even when I go to bed at 3 am. I need my nighttime routine.

Sure, the first thing I do is to brush my teeth, wash my face (with the fabulous Herbalism from Lush. I love the product, my skin feels so fresh and clean. Plus you look like the Hulk when you use it) and use some night cream. 

When I am in bed I usually read first (Before I start to read I get a good-night-kiss from David, that's the most important part of my routine.). I can't sleep without reading at least a couple of pages. I got a Kindle last  year for Christmas (Thanks so much to my wonderful parents-in-law!) and it is perfect to read in bed. I don't need a lamp and I don't make loud noises when I have to turn the page. I also have a pile of books next to my bed. I love my Kindle but I could never live without real books. I think it's  the collector in me. I love to a bookshelves full of books, I love to go to bookstores and smell all the wonderful Kindle doesn't smell. They should invent a Kindle with the smell of books. That would be awesome.

When I feel that I get really tired I stop reading and grab my iPod. It is full of episodes of Die Drei Fragezeichen, The Three Investigators in English.

It is a juvenile detective book series and I started to read them when I was a child. There is also a taped radio drama of every single book and that's what I listen to every night.  Again, it is the collector in me: I own a lot of books of the series, a lot of tapes (oldschool) and every episode as a mp3. Every time I go to a flea market and I see a book or a tape that I don't own yet, I have to buy it. I just have to. I love to see the whole series in my bookshelf. There are more than 150 episodes so far. It is the most popular radio play production in the world.

And yet, it is made for kids but I don't really feel like it's made for kids. I know so many adults who love to read the books or listen to the plays. Especially it's very famous in Germany. I think every kid grew up listening to Die Drei Fragezeichen, Benjamin Blümchen (an elephant) and Bibi Blocksberg (a teenage witch). 

I was fascinating by Die Drei Fragezeichen from the beginning and it never stopped. 
It was first published as "Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators" and created by Robert  Arthur Jr. who believed that  using the name of movie director Alfred Hitchcock would attract a lot of attention. The first book was published in the early 60s and a lot of people believed that they were written by Hitchcock but he only allowed Arthur to use his famous name and face. 

In the first couple of books Die Drei Fragezeichen even meet Alfred Hitchcock as their client and mentor. Die Drei Fragezeichen are: Justus Jonas (in English Jupiter Jones, I don't know why they changed that. Germans....), Peter Shaw  (Peter Crenshaw) and Bob Andrews (surprisingly, he has the same name in German and in English). An important role plays their nemesis Skinny Norris. 

Die Drei Fragezeichen live in Rocky Beach, California and their headquarter is an old trailer. The investigators were typically introduced to a mystery through a client or by accidentally stumbling upon something unusual in their scrapyard of Uncle Titus Jones and Aunt Mathilda, who run a salvage business. The boys encountered baffling, sometimes misleading clues and danger before finally solving the mystery. 

Justus, Peter and Bob were able to solve their mysteries with relatively few resources: they generally could get by with little more than a telephone, bicycles, access to a library and - in a nod to the peripheral Hollywood setting of the series - a chauffeur-driven vehicle.

There are also several movies and even live plays. I have been to one in Saarbrücken a couple of years ago and it was unbelievable. A very unique experience. When the radio actors, who have been narrating the plays since 1979, toured the country, entire stadiums in major cities like Hamburg were packed. As you can see, Die Drei Fragezeichen are a big phenomenon in Germany. Die Drei Fragezeichen are a cult and the early books and tapes are collector items. 

Have you ever heard of  Die Drei Fragezeichen? Do you listen to plays like that? What's your nighttime routine?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday confessions! Kleptomaniac transvestites and scary men following me in a dark street.

Hallo meine Lieben,

I hope you all are enjoying your Sunday! It's time to link up with wonderful Alyx! Her blog Every day is a new adventure is fantastic! 

I have some confessions to make.

1. I almost got beaten up by a smelly kleptomaniac transvestite. I worked at H&M in Germany and he/she (he/she came as a woman most of the time but sometimes he was a male) came almost every day to steal jewelry. Everybody knew who she/he was so we always tried to kick him/her out as soon as we saw him/her. (I will just say "she" from now on.). Her name was "Frau Schwarz" by the way, that was how she called herself, I forgot her real name. One time I saw Frau Schwarz at the accessories department hiding jewelry under her shirt. So I went to her and told her that she should leave and not come back. She told me to leave her alone but I said that I can't do that. Somebody else called the police because she did not leave. She started to yell at me and came closer which was not very enjoyable because she was very smelly. She got louder and louder and tried to kick me but thankfully I was fast enough and she did not touch me. She tried it for a couple of minutes, my co-workers came to help but nobody wanted to touch her (she was famous for drug abuse so we did not know if she had needles in her pockets). A couple of minutes later the police arrived and they took care of her. It was a weird experience because I wasn't even scared, I just did not want her to touch me.

2. Working at H&M can be dangerous. One time I watched a girl who tried to steal something. She realized that I was looking at her and came over and and started to call me and my co-worker really really bad names. I guess it's better when I don't type them here. Anyway, she also told me that I should take care of my family and myself. That wasn't very nice but I did not think that she was serious. When I finished work that evening I had to walk to my car which was parked 5 minutes outside of the city center. My co-workers had to go to another direction so I was alone. I saw two guys sitting in a house entrance and when I passed them I saw that one of them got up and I heard the other one saying "Wait, not now". I did not know what to do so I took out my phone but wasn't sure if I should call the police or not. I pretended to make a phone call and thought that they would stop following me. They were still behind me but I saw an older man standing 100 meters away in front of a house waiting for somebody. I was happy that he was there, I hurried up and ran to that guy and pretended to know him and started to talk to him. That guy saved me because the two younger guys who followed me turned around and vanished. 
After that incident I always carried pepper spray with me and my co-workers walked to my car with me. I am so thankful that they old guy was there.

3. I would love to know what my dreams mean. A couple of days ago I dreamed that I went shopping with my Mom. We stopped at a piercing studio but then decided not to get pierced. There was a cafe next to the piercing studio so we stopped there to had some coffee. They also sold blue cake for 14,50 euros a piece. There was a guy next to us who was a polo player and he told us that he likes our purses and asked us if we like his purse. Then he asked us where we come from and if you can buy shoes there. So we told him about our town (only 700 people live in that town and there is no store except of a bakery) and that there  is a huge shoe sale once a year in our town center and every pair of shoes is only 29,95 euros. After that my alarm went off and I woke up. 
I have no idea why I dream things like that. It just doesn't make any sense. My dreams never make any sense. 

4. I would love to learn another language but I don't know where to start. I can speak a little French and a little little little Italian and I would love to perfect those languages. I learned Latin at school which is a dead language and I will never need it in my life. So I pretty much wasted my time learning a useless language. I would also to learn Dutch and Swedish and Spanish. Instead of just starting with one language I am sitting here making plans about how to learn all these languages at a time which doesn't make any sense. 

5. I have a scar on my forehead which is a result of a collision with the door of a wardrobe. It happened when I was three years old and driving my tricycle in the house. I also have a scar on my finger. It happened when I got stuck in a fence. Very smart. 

What are your confessions today? Have a lovely Sunday!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Oh, wham bam, oh Amsterdam (Yeah yeah yeah)

Hallo meine Lieben,

Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities in the whole wide world. I love the atmosphere of the city, the architecture, all the bikes, the Dutch language....When David came to visit me in Germany last year we weren't sure where to go. I wanted to show him my home state, Saarland. But I also wanted to show him a more exciting place. We narrowed it down to London, Rome and Amsterdam and I let David decide. I don't know why but he picked Amsterdam and so we reserved a room in a really cool hotel in the middle of Amsterdam. The Renaissance Hotel Amsterdam in Kattengat. 
Before we went to Amsterdam we stayed 3 days at the North Sea in Cadzand Bad, visited Bruges and other beautiful places and then headed to Amsterdam to spend another 3 wonderful days there. We parked the car outside of Amsterdam because we did not want to take the car with us. So we took the train to Amsterdam Centraal. It was so much cheaper than finding a parking lot in Amsterdam. 
We walked to our hotel which was only 3 minutes away from the Central station and then started to explore the city.
I want to share some of our pictures with you. 

This is one of the smallest houses in Amsterdam. It is not the smallest house though. In the past the property taxes were set on the width of a building and so people built houses like this one. I would love to be able to visit one of them, I am sure it's amazing inside. 

A gracht (canal). I just can't get enough of them. I already pointed out that I love all cities that have canals such as Venezia, Bruges and Amsterdam. David and I would love to own a boat house as our vacation home. Totally awesome. There is a boat house museum but we haven't been there. 

We tried to find some great restaurants in town and searched in the not so touristy areas. This Pizzeria was really good, I think we were the only customers though. I was very suprised that David ordered a tea with his pasta. 

More canals. I am not sure how many canal pictures we took but too many to show you all of them. We just did not get enough.

David in the Torture Museum. We saw some really cool torture instruments. The museum was pretty small though. I have been to a torture museum in Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Germany and there was much more to see. We did not regret going, it was very interesting but I expected more for the entry fee.

This is the most famous sex shop in Amsterdam, Absolute Danny. It is located in the Red Light District and we got yelled at 2 seconds after we took this picture. It was not allowed but David could not resist. The sales person who was dressed in varnish and leather got pretty mad.

A dog in front of a boat house. So perfect. I would love to sit in front of my boat house, looking at the canal with a dog next to me.

We also visited the Van Gogh museum. I think it is pretty difficult for Americans to pronounce "Van Gogh" in the correct way. European languages can be mean.
We had an amazing time at the museum and stayed a couple of hours. 

Dinner at a great restaurant in China Town. We paid 12 Euros for two cans of Heineken though. Not really a bargain but the food was great.

Gracht. People always park their cars next to the canal. I am pretty sure something terrible would happen if I'd try to park my car there at night.

Red Light District. Very interesting place to look at people. I felt a little sorry for the poor ladies in the windows. Most of them looked not very interested and just typed something on their phones. I am sure it gets pretty boring to spend your time sitting in a window getting yelled at from drunken tourists.

Flowers market. I liked that market a lot, you can find all kinds of flowers there. But it is also a very touristy place.

I love the architecture in Amsterdam and can't get enough. The houses are all so beautiful and unique.

David and I had to take a boat trip on the canals. We chose the perfect time because it was getting dark when we started. Very romantic. Schatz, thank you for the wonderful 3 days in Amsterdam. I had such a wonderful time with you! You are my everything! I love you!

A parking garage for bikes. Located next to the train station. I love that Amsterdam is so bike-friendly. You can go everywhere by bike and you always find a place to park your bike. Plus the bikes always have the priority in traffic. Love it.

Our hotel room. The bed was so comfortable!

David and I had a fantastic time in Amsterdam and I hope we will be able to visit the city again as soon as possible. It has so much to offer and three days just wasn't enough time to see everything we wanted.
What's your favorite city? Have you been to Amsterdam? What's your favorite place there?

Have a lovely Saturday!