Tag Archives: People

A Normal Saturday

I think Saturdays are often similar, at least in the western world. A day of which at least half is sacrificed for all of those errands and shopping that one doesn’t have time for in the course of a normal work week.

Such was mine yesterday and in the course of the morning, I was able to help an elderly lady to navigate her walking frame over some coarse and bumpy rocks where the sidewalk had been torn up. We have a large assisted living facility here in town so we have our share of elderly, and I had the impression that she was a bit confused, as she didn’t want me to help her continue her journey until I was able to confirm that the fruit and vegetable store down the street was still in existence. It is, and so I got her past the bumpy bit, and continued on to the pharmacy.

Later on, when returning from the beverage market, I observed a man stealing a large rock. There is a large construction site across the street from us, it’s the usual story. A large property with a house on it, the old folks died, the children sold the property to a real estate firm, which tore down the original house to make room for  6 row units and 4 double units on said property. Sardine housing, you might call it – the old “how many housing units can be fit on a piece of land as to maximize profit.” And they’re selling for about half a million each. Go figure.

Anyhow, two of the houses are being built, and there is a large pile of earth from the excavation for the next house. I came home and parked the car and got out, and observed a car parked next to the huge mound of earth. A man bent down to pick up a very large rock, about a foot in length and placed it in the boot of his car. I stood and watched. He closed the boot and turned, obviously scanning the area to see if anyone had seen him. He startled a bit as he saw me looking at him. I continued to stare, innerly grinning as he was visibly flustered. Yes, I was being evil. He was embarrassed at having been “caught” and I stared at him on purpose. I couldn’t care less about the rock and I don’t think anyone from the construction site will miss it either, but he was obviously feeling guilty and quickly got in his car and drove off.

Saturday evening found me having dinner with my cousin A. and her husband in our favorite beer garden. Good company, good food and good beer, topped by perfect weather.

My Weekend

On Saturday, my house was desperately longing for some cleaning and vacuuming, as always. I interrupted cleaning as we had made arrangements to go and have a look at a garden shed which is for sale in a town near here (we need a garage for the motorbikes before winter).

We found the proper address quickly; it was a big house on a lovely piece of property, surrounded by a very tall and thick pine hedge. Approaching the house, we heard a percussion drill which presumably drowned out the doorbell we had rung, but after peeking our heads in an open window a woman greeted us and led us around the back of the house to view the garden shed. The woman, whose age I would guess at around 55 was very nice but a bit quirky; she asked us what we would be using the shed for an we told her, to which she replied “Oh, that’s fantastic. I want to ride a motorbike too – yes, I will do that too.” It was news to her that you need a special license to do so.

She left us to take our time looking at the garden shed. It has the perfect size, 3 x 3.6 meters and a wide double door. Only problem is, we will have to take it apart to transport it and put it back together again at home, but aside from taking some time, it should be no problem.

We returned to the house and found the woman in the living room, holding a paint roller. After a bit of small talk, we said our goodbyes and she asked, from which town we were. We told her and she asked “Do you have a house?” “Yes, we do.” “I must come see it sometime, I love looking at houses and at how they are decorated.” She beamed as she said this and had a sparkle in her eye.

We returned home and I continued cleaning. After lunch, I was overcome with such drowsiness and was so weary, that I called Gisi, whom I was supposed to meet for coffee in the afternoon and cancelled and hit the sofa. My bad conscience almost would not let me fall asleep; however, just as I was drifting off and felt sleep pulling me into its depths, the phone rang. Someone who had expressed interest in my car the day before by asking “Why is it so expensive? Is there something special about it?”. Idiot. It’s not expensive; I am selling it at 1.300 € under dealer’s list price. He asked if that was my absolute last price and I said yes; well then, he would be driving the two hours to a dealer in Dillingen who was selling a comparable car (with 15 less horsepower) costing a thousand euros more. Ok, fine. Have it your way. IDIOT.

I gave up on my nap, finished the scarf and in the evening, sat down and tackled my August bookkeeping. It took me longer than usual as the final balancing wasn’t working. I spent three quarters of an hour going through the various posts before I realized that I was trying to balance to the wrong date. Duh.

Sunday was quiet and uneventful and lovely and relaxing and I started a new WIP which I cannot photograph because there is someone sleeping on it:

First Impressions

don’t always count. As proven again last week, when we were down by the river with Tobi.

After his obligatory swim across the river and back, he bounded up the side of the dam, saw two dogs on a road on the other side of the field in front of us and took off running. I was a bit surprised because he usually does not take off.

We ran after him, he “said hello” to the two dogs which were being accompanied by a young woman on a bicycle. As one of the dogs was a female, a bit of jealousy ensued followed by Tobi and the other male dog growling at one another, as dogs tend to do.

By this time, the young woman was leaving and another man on a bicycle approached, stopped and said “you should have the dog on a leash out here”.

There isn’t a sentence in the world that makes my blood boil more quickly than that one.

If I am in town with Tobi, he is on a leash. Out in the boondocks, there is absolutely no reason to. He doesn’t run away, hasn’t a trace of a hunting instinct and is generally well-behaved.

I asked the man why he thought so. His reply was that the farmers were surely not happy about the fact that dogs were running loose out there and pooping in their fields. I explained to him that not only is Tobi not allowed to go into the fields (and he knows this and stays on the dirt roads), but that when Tobi needs to “go”, he does so on the very edge of the grass.

His reply was along the lines of “when you speak to dog owners, their dogs are always well-behaved”. He glanced at us with a mixture of doubt and slight distaste. And proceeded to let us know that he was from the Government Nature Conservation Agency.

That got our ears up. Finally a chance to talk to someone about some of the rare birds we have seen. We told him about the red kite which flew over our town some time ago (see this post); he told us there were 3-4 breeding couples in the area along the river. He explained about various types of eagles which, inspite of not being native to the area, are sometimes sighted nevertheless. We spoke about the tragic disappearance of ravens since the 1930’s and he told us with much delight that meanwhile there was an entire colony near Murnau, a picturesque town some 30 km from here.

It was a wonderful conversation, in the course of which, his impression of us did a 180° turn. By the time we finished talking about various renaturation efforts and their results and said our goodbyes, he smiled a big, friendly smile and rode off.

Square-Eyed Sleepy Head

I called my mom yesterday and fessed up the motorcycle thing, and suprisingly, I think she was o.k. with it. I had to reassure her that I do not drive like a maniac and that I have absolutely appropriate clothing with protective devices and I think she was calm. I hope so.

Sleepy and square-eyed because I spent most of the weekend doing paperwork and because I have driven a triple lesson this morning and have spent the last five hours studying for the written test which I am taking tomorrow at 8.00 a.m. I have now managed to answer all 135 test combinations consisting of 810 possible questions correctly, but will work through the remaining 100 or so questions which I have marked as “difficult” tomorrow morning just to be sure.

Quote of the Day:

(after I had driven for three hours at temperatures hovering around 38F, the last half hour of which, I was told to drive up and down a mountain in pouring sleet and snow/rain.)

My instructor, getting out of his car after the lesson:

“Geez, it’s good to get out of the car. I couldn’t have stood the warmth of that seat heating system for much longer, you know.”

I tried to hit him, but was frozen stiff and too slow. He ducked.

22°F, Winds at 11 mph, Feels like 13°F

There was an icy wind down by the river this afternoon, making me wonder at what temperature the skin on my face might begin to get frost damage. Though I would love to always have the teint which I have at the moment, which my digicam regrettably fails to capture:

And check out that growing double chin…aaarrrgghhhh.

But seriously, tomorrow morning we are getting out the skis and are going to ski a bit down by the river. Tobi will like that because we will be moving more at his pace than usual.

While walking with him yesterday, I bumped into an elderly woman who walked with us a bit and who was terribly impressed with how well Tobi understood anything I said to him. We were approaching an intersection of two country roads, when I called to Tobi “were going to go with the leash from here on” and when he stopped in his tracks an waited she was just amazed. I explained to her that my theory on this is that we have always talked to the dog – lots – ever since we got him at 8 weeks of age. He does seem to understand an awful lot, and I think that he often lies in front of the oven pretending to be asleep while actually parsing conversation for key words such as “leash”, “go”, “cookie”, “river”, “meat”, “shopping”, “ball”, “pig’s ears”, etc.

Yesterday, he fooled me. I was outside in the yard playing with him with his big (frozen solid) soccer ball. At some point he stopped in his tracks, whined, and held up his right front paw. I immediately went over to him, inspected his paw (found nothing) and petted him. He gave me this “I have a really bad injury here” look, so I suggested we go inside and he lie down next to the wood burning stove.

He galloped to the front door without any sign of a limp.

Newsbits

t r u t h o u t – Paul Rockwell | MLK, More Than a Dreamer:

“In 1986, Jesse Jackson wrote an essay on how Americans can protect the legacy of Dr. King. Jackson’s essay on the trivialization, distortion and emasculation of King’s memory is one of the clearest, most relevant appreciations in print of Dr. King’s work. Jackson wrote: ‘We must resist this the media’s weak and anemic memory of a great man. To think of Dr. King only as a dreamer is to do injustice to his memory and to the dream itself. Why is it that so many politicians today want to emphasize that King was a dreamer? Is it because they want us to believe that his dreams have become reality, and that therefore, we should celebrate rather than continue to fight? There is a struggle today to preserve the substance and the integrity of Dr. King’s legacy.'”

Interesting

Dear World: Sorry About Bush / No, seriously. Very, very sorry. How sorry? Well, let America show you … in pictures:

(…) “And if a picture’s worth a thousand words, then sorryeverybody.com is exploding with a few million very ardent expressions indeed, all echoing the same simple but heartbreaking sentiment and all, presumably, posted in the hope that the message will be somehow reach the eyeballs of the world, the countries so very and rightfully appalled and revolted by our apparent lack of vision.

It seems to be working. Pictures are apparently flooding into the site from around the world, full of messages of ‘It’s OK’ and ‘Thanks for trying’ and ‘Just don’t let it happen again’ and it’s even spawned a European response page called apologies accepted.com and this is when it hits you: this little gag site, unexpectedly, wonderfully, with its beautifully simple concept, might have actually stumbled on a way to do the impossible: it might just help heal our decimated international relationships and, quite possibly, do more for world diplomacy that Bush ever could, or ever will.”

(…)

The Quiet and Steady Disappearance of

the “little shops around the corner” is one of those sad signs of modern life. I am a loyal shopper to some small stores – those I frequent often such as the little yarn store located in the building where I used to work. I think the store is about 20 x 20 feet in size, chock full of yarns, wools, embroidery thread, buttons and the like. The owner is a very nice and funny woman who is never reluctant to give a discount on larger purchases or to have a longer chat about this wool and that yarn and this pattern.

Then, there is the pet shop located in the same town. Run by a robust woman with a hardy laugh – sometimes her little daughter operates the cash register during school vacation times. Never reluctant to special order something, provide advice about flea and tick collars, exchange experiences as to why the dog eats pig’s ears but not cow ears, and so on and so on.

As I paid for the dog bisquits I bought for Tobi (because pig’s ears are out – won’t have them in again until Thursday), she told me there would soon be a Fressnapf opening in Starnberg. Fressnapf is a large chain of huge pet shops – there are already ones in Weilheim and Landsberg, the two next larger towns.

She is not sure how things will turn out. She is hoping that her regular customers will keep coming to her, preventing her from having to close the store – I really, really hope so.

When the entire landscape ends up just dotted with chain stores – the same from one town to the next – where is the charm? When chain stores elbow out their family store competitors, where does that leave the “community”?

One giant step to a much more impersonal world.