August 22, 2001

"Entschuldigung." I say this about a dozen times day when I'm out among the Germans. It's "Excuse me". It sounds like "ehnt SHOOL di ging". Well, that's what it's supposed to sound like, I think. I butcher it with a Southern U.S.A. accent.

I'm becoming a shoe whore -- Erica said I would fall in love with shoes over here, and I told her that I have never liked shoes, nor shoe shopping, and Europe wouldn't change that after 35 years of feeling this way. Wrongo. I have bought more shoes in the last six months than I bought in the four years I was in Austin.

Yes, that's right, I've been here six months. In that time, I have played 3003 games of solitare on my iBook. And I estimate that I have ridden at least 700 kilometers, or 434 miles.

My friends in the U.S.A. How they mock me. Erica in Austin wrote:

oh look at on a Monday morn, listening to the new Oxford American music CD and reading the writings of an eclectic collection of folks including Bob Dylan and William F Buckley Jr.... What's that you say? This is *your* CD...yeah, yeah... you'll get it when I'm done with it baby!
On another occassion:
rebecca will be here soon! can't wait to see her. I'm going to make 40 cloves garlic baked chicken with garlic bread and salad.
Insert sounds of me wimpering here.

Jerald in Austin wrote:

We talked about you the other night at Jovita's. Junior's band, Fear and Whiskey, played and we hung out with Erica and saw some of her pictures of Germany and my kids danced to the band and it was one of those great Austin nights even though I was home by 10:30.
Sigh. Probably because of all this, plus lack of live Twang, I got so homesick in a big way one night. I wanted to be in Austin drinking a Shiner and watching people at the Broken Spoke or the Carousel or the Continental and hearing the shuffle of feet on a dance floor soooooooooo baaaaaaaaaaaad.... and then the next day, a videotape arrived from my friend Slim in Atlanta. Performances from Austin City Limits, and Dale Watson on the Grand Ole' Opry.

Anyway... I got better. Particularly when Mary in Austin wrote:

It's frigging hot here.
Oh, yeah, that I don't miss.

Got a moment of inspiration on August 21 and wrote the following. It's copyright 2001 by ME:

a poem about big toes

I'm being political. Get it?

There are cats everywhere lately. There are three cats in one corner apartment, one of whom just lays there as we pass and Buster lunges at the end of his leash frantically -- the cat remains calm and cool and ready to kick Boo's ass, as needed. There are two cats in the apartment across from that, who stare out with wide eyes as the dogs pass, as though indignant and mortified at what is living in their neighborhood. And there's a cat that sits on the balcony that overlooks the front door, and she likes to eye the dogs from her high perch. There's even two cats that walk with their humans to the park and sit along side them on a park bench.

And there're still hedgehogs everywhere, ofcourse. There were two in the back yard the other night making an uber ruckus, breathing and grunting loud. Maybe they were mating? The dogs were not amused.

My usually oh-so-reserved Nigerian co-worker came in one Monday positively giddy. "Joseph is very happy today" -- he talks about himself in the third person. I asked him why. "Oh, Jayne, I don't know if you will understand. Nigeria is in the World Cup. I could not sleep at all Saturday night waiting for the match." Oh, my brother Joseph, I do understand. You see, I am from Kentucky. And we are as wacko about college basketball as Nigerians are about football. "Really?" Oh, yes, during a Kentucky basketball game, all over the state, the restaurants are empty, the stores practically close, people on life support hold on for a few more minutes in order to hear the final score... "Oh, yes, this *is* like Nigeria."

We're just not too far apart, Africa and Kentucky.

Downloaded the University of Kentucky Men's basketball schedule. No exhibition games in German. DANG!!! Most games begin at 2 in the morning my time. The only games that begin at reasonable times for me are Lexington State and Georgia, so I may go in to work to listen to them via the 'Net. As for the infamous game against Louisville and yet-another-man-who-betrayed me... well, I just haven't decided what I'm going to do about that -- go into work at 10 at night and try not to cause such a commotion that security gets scared, or, log in from home every 30 minutes to catch up on the score and then worry myself silly between logins, or run off to Sweden and just not even think about it.

I haven't been up to much lately, outside of work, can you tell? But I have come across some cool things on the Internet, including a really great item about Germany during the War that I never knew about -- Die Weiße Rose. This was a small anti-Nazi group in Munich lead by two university students, a sister and brother, Sophie and Hans Scholl. Another good site about Die Weiße Rose. Could I be this brave? Could you?

Here's something that brightened my day recently: a Berke Breathed Interview in The Onion. I miss Bloom County so much. Set Phasers on Kill...

The dialectizer remains one of my favorite toys. Visit it, type in, and choose "Elmer Fudd."

And remember, on your next vacation, why not visit beautiful La Verkin, Utah?

More later . . .

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