Friday, February 28, 2014

Growing Up

Janine's Confessions of A Mommyaholic

What is the best way to ring in the weekend? A nap in bed with Lily while cuddling my favorite 6-year old to sleep. And now, I bet, I won't be able to sleep until 2am. Too good there's a re-run of Game of Thrones Season 3 - or is it? It's in German, and they felt the need to translate the names; it sounds so, so weird!!  And so we arrive at this week's cue for Finish The Sentence Friday:

The most unexpected part of being a grownup is...

... that it's not all as it looked from 6-year old me perspective. There's always money in the wallet, just by magic. Adults could do whatever they wanted and no-one ever told them no. How grand it will be!

Now, that I'm somewhat adult-ish, I generally always have money in my wallet (as long as I remember to get some from the ATM before I run out), but unfortunately it doesn't just magically appear there. Yes, theoretically no-one's really ever telling me no, except my reason, and the fact that despite being an adult, I still need an indecent amount of sleep to truly function. So I still go to bed early (at least I try), take an afternoon nap (if I have the chance), eat my veggies (which I like nowadays), shower every day (can't imagine not to any more), and behave in general like a very good kid.

Except that I now have the responsibility to take care of two actual kids, earn money, pay the bills, make decisions that have actual consequences, etc.  Hey, that was NOT part of the deal, or was it??

Thank you so much for hosting, Janine!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Best Decade

Today, I met one of my co-workers on the hallway. She stopped to wish me a happy birthday, welcoming me to a new decade.  She shared, that years and years ago, her sister-in-law called the 30s the best age decade of her life. For herself, the 30s were great, but so were her 40s, and as far as she can say, the 50s are great, too.

Having just crossed the threshold into what may or may not be the best decade of my life, I started to contemplate what the three decades of my life mean to me so far:

1st decade: I don’t remember much. My fate was mostly decided by others and my self-confidence barely being rudimentary.

2nd decade: my teens, let’s not talk about it. Definitely filled with a good share of the usual angst, amateur self-finding attempts, rebellions, eating disorders, therapies.

3rd decade: Definitely the decade that changed me the most. The years I worked to find my place in life, when I studied and earned degrees, when I married and had two beautiful girls, when I moved there, even further, and back again.
At the beginning of my 4th decade, I finally feel as if I have arrived. I have grown confident and mature enough to admit that I will never be the adult I thought I wanted to be; that I am way too much child to really care whether my hands are manicured or my outfit looks perfect and put-together.  I have put down a good foundation for a career; I have a job that I love and where I’m appreciated. We have friends who I did not meet in the clubs while drinking and partying. I have found new hobbies and decided that others were not for me. I am calm, I am confident, and I may finally have an idea who I am.
What was your favorite decade of life so far?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Annoyed!

Feeling pretty annoyed:
- First day back at work. ok!
- 6-hour meeting. Really???
- Having to deal with an instructor with major small-guy-complex. Aaaaarrrrrrrggggghhhhhhhh!!!
- Getting home way too late. Need cuddles!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Questions To Free Your Mind 41 - 50

It's just a few hours until I cross the threshold into a new decade of my life. Doesn't that sound dramatic? Right now, I'm carefully anticipating it, somehow knowing that not much is going to change anyways. To finish something off my list, let's finish the last of the 50 Questions to Free Your Mind. Again, thank you very much for letting me steal this, Jenni!!

41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
No-one. I'd spend it at home with my family, most likely in bed, getting as much cuddling time in as possible.

42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
No, that sounds very shallow to me, sorry. I would reduce it for good health, for example...

43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
Being alive means your heart beats, your breathe, you go through your day (maybe). Truly living is having dreams and goals, to have people you love and who love you, to feel, to laugh, to cry.

44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
When over-thinking leads to a total block of productivity. Then it's definitely time to let go and things go it's course where your feeling take you. Definitely learned that lesson in the process of getting this house built.

45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
Because no-one likes to make mistakes. Because it's disheartening, maybe even embarrassing. Because it's scary.

46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
Probably pick up more, be more at the kids to keep their rooms picked up. It's sometimes chaotic in our house, and you may step on the one or the other toy on the floor, but honestly, most days I'd rather play a game with the girls than whipping them to do chores.

47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
Probably on Saturday during the run.

48. What do you love? Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
I love to knit, and to make the girls smile. I found some left-over wool today and made a quick headband for Violet's doll. Her smile was priceless, when she put it on her doll. Tomorrow it's going to be a scarf for Lily's bunny!

49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday? What about the day before that? Or the day before that?
To be honest, probably not. The last days were very laid-back, nothing big happened. I may remember the first day Lily and I went for a run (that was the day before yesterday).

50. Decisions are being made right now. The question is: Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?
In the current situation, it's actually both. Tomorrow, we'll have a general meeting with a number of people to discuss how to get water to our house asap. I hope for a good outcome despite some people being really stuck on their position. So they are hopefully giving us some more feasable options from which we make the final decision on how to proceed. Keep your fingers crossed, everyone!

I'll be out tomorrow, hopefully enjoying a good dinner with hubby and the girls. I know what I want for dinner already  :-)  Oh, and please visit Jenni's blog Flying on a Rainbow to check out her answers to the above questions.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (36)

Ten Things of Thankful

Today was a great day. Unfortunately, half the weekend is over already. The kids, totally exhausted from our trip to the grandparents on Friday let us "sleep in" until 7:30 and were just so extremely sweet all day long, it was great. The weather was perfect, and I really start to wonder if we're hit with our very own Polar Vortex in the end of March.  Besides all of last week, being off and getting tons of stuff done so far, I am especially thankful for:

1. Getting to watch Violet's hand while cuddling and watching TV this week. It sounds weird, but was the sweetest thing to watch how her fingers and hand moved as she went through moments of excitement and relaxation.

2. Going running with Lily today. On Wednesday, I finally made good on my promise to buy her running shoes and we got a perfect steal on a pair of Asics. She was so proud, and today she finally got to put them on and go for a run. She ran about a mile right there (1.5 km), and totally amazed me as she was almost constantly talking all the way. Even on the way back, the remaining 1.1km, she ran most of the way after a short break.

3. Getting to go on a run by myself afterward as well. I didn't do as well as I hoped, but it felt great to run again. I noticed that my thighs are almost touching again, so it's definitely time to work out again!!

4. Steam Sale, which makes for a very happy hubby.

5. A happy hubby, who's trying even harder than usual to make me happy. He found this awesome recipe blog and made the recipe that I raved about for dinner even though he had planned for burritos. He's the best!! Let me tell you, the Italian Wonderpot is out of this world!!  I bet Christine will love this page, as the recipes are oftentimes for 6 - 10 servings (to freeze some or feed a large family!).

6. Our building site manager. He doesn't have an easy life with us, but is always supportive and understanding for the situation. Still we're going to have a crisis meeting on Tuesday...

7. Naps, glorious, glorious naps.

8. A great visit at my parents house. My aunt stopped by as well and I learned that there's going to be a real baby boom in our family. Not only my cousin will be a dad again in just a few weeks, but two of my cousins will have their babies in summer as well. Potentially, there will be three babies in the course of a month!!

9. Lily's teacher speaking so well about her. She said that she has rarely had such a friendly and helpful girls in her class and she's impressed with Lily's language skills. Remember, that's the teacher who has suggested special ed schooling for Lily for behavioral issues and learning deficiancies just 18 months ago!!

10. Watching funny YouTube videos with the hubby. Don't ask me why nut-shots are still so funny!!

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the weekend and great start into the new week!

Friday, February 21, 2014

It's Hidden

Janine's Confessions of A Mommyaholic

After skipping for two weeks in a row (sorry Janine!!), I'm back for Finish The Sentence Friday. Yes, my time off work is almost over, Wednesday is my first day back, and I have taken advantage of the time. Daytime naps are glorious!!

This week's prompt for the link-up:

One of my hidden talents is...

... still a hidden talent, that's the nature of "hidden talents" (philosophical answer brought to you by the hubby)

The conversation:
Me: Can you name one of my hidden talents? I need to write about it and don't know what to write.
Hubby: Well, I need to think about that..
Me: Can you tell me in about 10 minutes???
Hubby: If it's a hidden talent, I wouldn't know, because it's a hidden talent, that's somehow the nature of those things.
Me:  *kiss*

Some formerly hidden talents:

- cooking and baking. This surprised many people who knew me as notoriously bad in the kitchen. Well, as long as I could avoid work by letting my mom cook and bake for me, I didn't really have to try. But since I've been married, I have found that cooking and baking is not only necessary but also fun!
- amateur crafting. I'll never be etsy-perfect, but I can knit a very nice scarf or purse, make give-aways for Lily's birthday, and thread a wodden bead necklace that I get compliments for from Lily  :-)
- things I'm not allowed to say..
- preparing a really good cup of tea. No, it's not just pouring hot water over a tea bag, for a really good cup of tea, a lot of variables have to be taken into consideration.
- being a pain in the rear for people who are not good business partners. And believe me, I can be SO annoying!

Thank you for this challenge, Ladies! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Questions To Free Your Mind 31 - 40

Continuing stealing from the wonderful Jenni my journey to enlightenment with no. 31 to 40 of the 50 questions to free my mind. I definitely enjoy learning things about me and be challenged to look beyond the surface.

31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
Probably teaching the class at work back in January. This feeling between being absolutely nervous, hoping not to collapse in front of everyone, but truly excited about the interaction and the whole experience.

32. If not now, then when?
Well, depends.. Project baby no. 3 has been approached earlier rather than later. More travelling will happen once the kids are older; we can't wait looking at architecture with them, exploring museums, a lot of things they are not interested or simply too small at this point. All in all, I'm really happy where we are in life right now, so not very many things to postpone..

33. If you haven't achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
Well, thinking about coaxing little kids through museums or big cities doesn't really sound appealing to me, so fun and truly enjoying myself is what I have to lose. But in the meantime, we enjoy ourselves going to zoos or doing other child-appropriate activities, which are fun as well.

34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
There are definitely people who don't need much words. That's been always the case with hubby and me, we don't always need words to know exactly what the other thinks, feels, and needs.

35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
I guess they believe that their religion is the only true one and therefore their message must be brought to others, and if they don't appreciate it, force them to feel the love. Honestly, I don't understand it either. Not the crusades from back in the days, nor the hatred against other religions, or people who are different in general. The legislation about to be passed in Arizona that allows religious people to refuse service to others who are not living according to their standards is just another step up the latter. It is not in line with the Christian religion, and if the politicians in questions would ever open the bible at the right places, they'd know.  I think that it's probably people's own intolerance and bigotry disguised as religion is what's causing the  conflicts.

36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
I think this goes hand in hand with the question about the truth from the last set of questions. Good and evil are not absolute, but depend on individual moral and ethical standards, society, age, and many other variables. Most people will agree that murder is evil. But what about assisting a dying person to end their suffering? Some people go even so far as to justify killing people of other religions (see above) as the will of their deity and therefore a good deed. I know what is good or evil in my eyes, but even these are not always set in stone.

37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
Honestly, no. I like my job. I would certainly cut hours considerably, but wouldn't give up my routine all together.

38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
I have tons of work I enjoy, but honestly, sometimes I'd like to have a little less on my plate these days, as I could work 50 or more hours a week and not be done.

39. Do you feel like you've lived this day a hundred times before?
Not right now, because I'm on vacation, but once I'm really back in the routine, yes, most of my days are structured the same, which again is ok. I like routine, to be honest.

40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in? 
That was about three and a half years ago, when we packed up all of our stuff that we could take, got rid of everything else and moved to Germany. We knew that this was the right thing to do for our family, but there was nothing planned out at that point. We knew that we had a place to stay and a little bit of income from the child benefits and parental benefits that everyone receives in Germany. It was a jump into cold water, but two months after that, we were once again on our feet, and things have been getting better and better ever since. We could have failed miserably, but we had the right attitude and simply knew that it will be alright.

To know what Jenni thought about these questions, visit her blog Flying on a Rainbow!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Playing The Waiting Game

 Can't believe that I'll have to wait until fall for more Doctor Who!! Can we "Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Forward"??

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Questions To Free Your Mind 21 - 30

Tackling the next set of questions that I have shamelessly stolen from the fabulous Jenni blogging over at Flying on a Rainbow. Thank you for still being my friend  :-)

21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
That's hard to say. Would the genius be happy, too? I think I'd rather be the genius, because I'm a very, very impatient person. And I'm seriously annoyed by my mommy-brain sometimes if I realize how slow I am.

22. Why are you, you?

Because my passport says so? Because there's this pretty weird mix of interests, neuroses, and even a few strenths that answers to my name.

23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
I have to admit, I'm sometimes phony. I promise things that I end up not owning up to (mostly about visits, because all-too often, life happens). But if it's important, my friends can always count on me. In general, I try to be the friend to others that I wish for myselves.

24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
Why would I loose touch with a friend that lives nearby? I know that I don't see my friends as often as I would like to, because I work full-time, I have a family, and on the weekends, there are all-too-often errands to run. But there are always evening phone calls, long emails, and somtimes even overnight visits to catch up.  But back to the question: since I have already had good friends moving away and the contact still continuing, I'd say that losing touch wich a friend who lives nearby is worse.

25. What are you most grateful for?
My family and friends, the people close to me, my job, health, and many, many more things that money can't buy.

26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
That's very difficult. I think I'd rather lose all my old memories. Thinking about my past and the memories I have made, my life only became really, really good after I had met hubby and even better after having children. My (high-) school time was mostly hell, and college was not the best either. So I'd rather keep making new memories with the people I love most.

27. Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
I'd go so far as to suggest that something like "the truth" hardly ever exists, at least in life. Ask 10 people about a situation they have witnessed  and you will most likely hear 10 different stories. In science, new theories definitely always have to be challenged and tested before being proven, disproven, or accepted as probably true.

28. Has your greatest fear ever come true?
Luckily not, and hopefully never will. My greatest fear is losing my family, and since I still have everyone here, I'm save for now  :-)

29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Does it really matter now?
Well, 5 years ago I was pretty content. But there was a situation about that time, 9 months earlier that upset me to the extreme. Everything got figured out and it SO does not matter now! But I sometimes have the feeling that extreme situations like that require me freaking out completely in order to be all fine at the end  :-)

30. What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special?
That's really hard to say. I'd like to say my fondest childhood memory is growing up with extended family, cousins, all the big family gatherings a couple of times a year and my grandparents' home. I'm a little sad that the girls won't have this experience that way, but they are certainly growing up with a lot of people around them, who may not necessarily be family, but who love them just the same.

For Jenni's answers, please visit her blog Flying on a Rainbow!

Monday, February 17, 2014

House Update - On The Dry

Yet another house update, you may think, but actually, this is a rant. I am fed up and tired to be sent in a circle by people who are incompetent, unwilling, or simply not interested. We are exhausted, and approaching the end of our patience and nerves. It could be so easy, if people were willing to take just a step off their own standpoint and focus on reaching a solution. Today, I've spent my morning talking on the phone to the person, who's managing the internal development, the town representative, and the person responsible for providing water. Here are the standpoints:

Water guy: Everything's ready, I'm just waiting for the promised common hook-up room to be built and I'll install the common meter. This is a homeowner's association, not 10 individual home owners, except that one guy who paid me 10k and got his private hook-ups.

Town representative: The water development is not under our responsibility. If you want to buy something at Target you don't call WalMart either to find out if Target has it on stock, right? And the person who's knee-deep into the entire matter is on leave until Monday to begin with, you I can't tell you anything.

Internal developer: There is no homeowners association, that would require a whole legal procedure managing who will be responsible what, and building this "common room" will cost about 2 - 3k each, and then they can't just treat one "unit" differently than everyone else by providing them with their own hook-ups. It's either all units or all individual homes.

And here we are dead-locked and we don't have water. Since the water isn't in yet, we're not getting gas, and thus no running heater, which means we cannot continue on the house.

I have now managed to get a round-table appointment for all parties scheduled, as it happens it will be on my birthday. I hope for a decision, a decision in our sense. I hope for everyone's willingness to talk and find a solution, and I hope to finally be able to call our building site manager and tell him water will be provided on *insert date*. Keep your fingers crossed for the present of water for my birthday!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Questions To Free Your Mind 11 - 20

Last week, I started this totally stolen (thank you, Jenni!!) 5-part journey to mentally prepare myself to the inevitable 1st anniversary of my 29th birthday (no, in truth, I am actually a little excited for this new decade of my life). Today, I am tackling part two (questions 11 through 20); if you have missed questions 1 through 10, you can find them here.

11. You're having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?
I would definitely stand up for my friend. I am that sort of people, I'll do everything for my friends and won't have it if others speak badly about them. And honestly, it would definitely decrease my esteem for the three people I'm talking to, because I can't stand people who talk badly about others behind their backs.

12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Never lose your confidence in the good.

13. Would you break the law to save a loved one?
I would break every law necessary to save the life or health of my loved ones. If they have simply brought themselves into a tricky situation because of stupidity, negligence, or even on purpose, I might help them enough to still ensure a learning effect, depending on who it is and what they have done, but I probably won't get myself into troubles.

14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
Probably Monty Python. When I first watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I was about 12 or 13, I did not get it at all; I remember I thought "What the f***" for the entire movie. Today, I think The Montys are geniuses!

15. What's something you know you do differently than most people?
 Not sure, I'm pretty boring. I have a pretty distinct way I brush my teeth, but I'm not sure that this is truly unique. Maybe it's more OCD.

16. How come the things that make you happy don't make everyone happy?
Because I am me, and not everyone. I am happy with what we have, and don't constantly yearn for more. Some people don't understand that, but coming from a life where we really struggled, we consider ourselves incredibly happy.

17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do? What's holding you back?
Travel more. Back when hubby and I were first married, the Army held us back. Now, with two little kids and part of the family being on another continent, we can't really do much city-hopping or spontaneous overnight-trips. But I know that once the kids are grown up, our time will come  :-)

18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
Way too many grudges. I know it, and I also know that they are not worth it holding on to, but somehow I'm not ready to let go. I just am a person who hardly ever forgets and oftentimes also has difficulties to forgive. Not small things, but if I'm really hurt, I will never forget.

19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
Scandinavia or Great Britain. GB because hubby speaks English and the countryside is beautiful. Scandinavia because the quality of life is equal or even a little better than in Germany and I love the wide, lonely countryside.

20. Do you push the elevator button more than once? Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
Depending on whether I'm in a hurry or not. If I'm in a hurry, I probably press the button more often, not because I believe tje elevater arrives faster, but because pressing the button keeps me occupied  :-)

If you're interested in Jenni's answer, please head over to her beautiful blog Flying on a Rainbow!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (35)

Ten Things of Thankful

I can't believe how fast last week passed. A lot happened, and I had to charge my phone twice, which rarely ever happens. But in between calling doctor's offices, town halls, developers, and water development offices, my phone needed some refreshment. Now, I need some refreshment as well, and since I still have too many vacation days left over from last year and a boss who's awesome, I'm off all next week and then some.

The ten things this week I am most thankful for:

1. Getting to see little baby again, and watching Lily and Violet seeing their new sibling. The two were so excited to get a picture at the end.

2. The great outpour of well-wishes when we announced the news on Facebook. I don't know why, but one of my favorite one was the Muslim blessing from a co-worker I met a few weeks ago during training week. And that from an Atheist. Yes, hormones are in full swing!

3. Not one but two movie dates with hubby on the couch. Star Wars sucked, but you never can go wrong with Life of Brian!!

4. Having a person on our side who knows the system and goes far beyond what he needed to do to help us finally getting water and gas into our house.

5. Getting good news from our doctor. The first trimester screening came back just fine.

6. Getting my vacation approved. I'm off until the 26th!

7. Having a dad who works for the health insurance and I know will find one way or the other to get the cost of the screening reimbursed to us.

8. Surviving the kiddy carnival party today!

9. Having the perfect Valentine's Day. Violet gave me a cute little flower she crafted in kindergarten, Lily made me a card, Richard gave me a rose someone gave to him at the store as part of their campaign (we have a don't spend money rule for V-Day), and I got Asian take-out for everyone, violating the V-Day rule but putting it on my "spend all of the first translation paycheck" list.

10. Receiving my first payment for the translations back in December! I still have €200 to spend, and parts of it will be shoes  :-)

Thank you so much for this link up, Lizzi!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

House Update - Going Green?

After a long time, a much overdue house update:

Well, we're almost done, so close to being finished and able to move in, but as in the last months, the house hook-ups have stopped the progress. Last week, we finally got power in the house (as to quote the hubby: all the cords are hooked up in the power box and it's humming in there). Little did I know that what we REALLY needed to progress is water and gas to be hooked up so the heaters can be powered to dry the insulating floor layer completely.

Wednesday, our building site manager calls us, asking when they can finally continue. So I called the guy who's managing the hook-ups for all the houses, who informs me that the gas is to hooked up as soon as the paperwork at the notary is completed, in about two weeks (yay). Leaving us with water. He refers me to the town's development office, since the people at the water development office, who are supposed to hook up the water are stalling and besides that models of incompetence. I call the town just to be told that they can't do anything and that I have to call the people at water development office. So I call there, just to be told that all the office is waiting for is the guy who manages the internal development to tell them where to put the main meter. And the circle closes itself. Today, I simply didn't have the strength to fight the weirdness and unwillingness of some people; tomorrow, the insanity shall continue.

As I came home today, I was presented with a choice of a more interesting kind: which power plan to use. Our town gives you the option to select green-only power (in our case water power) to come to your home. It is about 0.6 cents more expensive per kwh than conventional power, but definitely an option to do something for the environment. 

Would you choose green power (sun, wind, water) over conventional (coal, fossil fuel/gas, nuclear power) if you had the choice?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Being Late For The Movies - Captain Corelli's Mandoline

Since I'm not reviewing books this year, I thought up this little new column. As some may now, 2, soon to be 3 kids leave little time for movie dates, especially taking into consideration a very picky husband. So it sometimes takes a couple of years to watch a movie that most others have seen back when it was at the theater. So, here is my much belated opinion to blockbusters or smaller gems in "Being Late for the Movies". 

Starting out with this movie I came across at my work's library the other day:

Title: Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Year: 2001 (pathetic, isn't it?)
Director: John Madden
Starring: Penelope Cruz, John Hurt, Christian Bale, Nicolas Cage
based on a book by Louis de Bernières
During the time of the Second World War, young men are leaving the little Greek island of Cellaphonia to fight the Italian army on the mainland. Mandras, the finace of the Island's doctor's daughter Pelagia leaves, promising to marry her upon his return. After an initial victory, the Greek army is defeated by the Italians and Germans, and Madras is missing.  Soon, the first units of the Italian military arrive on the island, among them the artist unit of Captain Antonio Corelli, who is soon quartered in the doctor's house. While being hostile and sceptic towards the foreign military in the befinning, Pelagia soon starts to develop feelings for the foreign officer. As Madras returns, Pelagia helps him to flee again from being captured by the Italians. Soon, the Greek citizens get used to the presence of the Italians, and a certain normalcy returns until more and more German troops arrive. Meanwhile, the Greek militia forms to free the island, while more and more German troops arrive. When Italy surrenders to the allies, the Germans insist on disarming the Italian soldiers before sending them home. Instead, all of them are executed by their former ally; only Corelli survives by chance, being saved by Madras and brought to the doctor's house. Pelagia and the doctor save his life and restore him to health; however, once recovered, he has to flee the island to not fall into the hands of the Greek militia. During Corelli's recovery, Madras learns that he has lost Pelagia. As the war ends, she decides to train to be a doctor himself, not having heard a word from Corelli since helping him escape. Years later, after an earthquake has destroyed much of the town, Corelli finally returns to his love.

My opinion:
 I loved the movie, even though both male leads, Bale and Cage, do not fill the shoes of their roles in the beginning. To me, they simply do not incorporate the overflowing energy of young Greek or Italian men. Only later, when the characters mature through the horrors they encounter, they become credible. Definitely recommendable just for the scene when the town's mayor blows off the Italian invaders with a curt little note of "F*ck you"  (believe me, it looks so much nicer in Greek letters!!)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Birthday Party Recap

Saturday was Lily's big party with her friends. We had 8 little girls plus the two "big" girls from downstairs. It was loud, and stressful, but also so rewarding to help creating a fun birthday party for our Lily!

Shaun the Sheep birthday cake
The birthday table
Lily unwrapping her gifts
Playing musical chairs

Needless to say, I dedicated Sunday to watching the Olympics and getting off the couch as little as possible. Note to self: get ear plugs for next year!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Week In Review - Ten Things Of Thankful (34)

Ten Things of Thankful

This last week was hard; I don't know how I would have made it through without having an afternoon of sleeping on Wednesday. And while today was crazy busy again, I'm looking forward to a whole lot of nothing on the couch (the Winter Olympics have started after all).  But despite the stress, there were plenty of things to be thankful fordurng those past days.

1. Having survived a birthday party with a good handful of over-excited 5 to 6-year olds. It was loud, it was crazy, and wild, but everyone had a blast. And that's what counts.

2. Lily passing her school entrance examination. She did awesome, exclaiming at the end that is was so baby-easy. Little snotter  :-)

3. Hubby being so patient with me, being a hormonal, always at the edge of a tantrum mess.

4. Vegetable soup.

5. Having been able to follow through with my resolution for 2014 and shaved my legs every single day this year so far.

6. The potential for an unexpected time off in a week. Need to get rid of those 15 days of 2013 vacation somehow.

7. Hubby came home from airing out the house and announced that it finally, FINALLY seems as if we had power at our house!! All the cord are hooked up and he heard a humming from the power box. So I'll notify out building site manager and see where we'll go from there.

8. The idea of taking a short trip to the U.S. in spring, before the heat is getting really bad and Lily inevitably starting school in September. I may become spontaneous after all one day!

9. Lily announcing that she had gotten a main role at her class's musical, which will be performed on Violet's birthday. Lily told me that she wants the musical to be her birthday present for her little sister. Got to love this girl!!

10. A fun night of D&D yesterday. It's been way too long since we've played!

I hope you all had a great week and an even better weekend!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Questions To Free Your Mind 1 - 10

Last year, Jenni over at Flying on a Rainbow did this 5-part questionnaire in preparation of turning the big 3-0. Being just a couple of weeks away from this milestone myself, I cheekily went over to steal it. If you like this questionnaire, please head over to Jenni's blog and read her answers!

1. How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?
People usually guess me around 25, a little older when I tell them the ages of our girls. I sometimes feel like 8, being a worry-free child for an hour or so; sometimes I feel like 50, enjoying my weekends on the couch, going to classical concerts, etc. Mostly, I guess I feel about the age I am.

2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
Definitely never trying is worse. Yes, failing is not easy, and not fun, but it also can teach us so much. It can show us a way to achieve our goal on a second or third try. Not trying is giving up from the beginning.

3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don't like and like so many things we don't do?
Because life is life. Most people my age have responsibilities, bills to pay, and sometimes even other people to take care of. But I believe that doing the things I may not always fancy now (don't want to get up at 6 am tomorrow!!) will give us the freedom to do the things we like eventually.

4. When it's all said and done, will you have said more than you've done?
Always. I try to follow up with my promises, but I do admit that I sometimes do forget, or life simply happens.

5. What is the one thing you'd most like to change about the world?
Wars, hunger, pain. There is the potential for everyone to live happy, but they are not, and that is a very sad thing. Children dying from disease and malnutrition while their parents have no opportunity to help them. Things like that should not happen, and it breaks my heart knowing that they do.

6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
Translating books and spending much, much time with my family.

7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
Well, being a hippie at heart, working for a large international corporation, have a lucky guess. But I'm a realist, so I am happy with the job I have because it provides for the family and I actually enjoy my work.

8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
Would that mean I'd got to retire soon?? I would definitely not save as much for "later in life", therefore work less and spend more time with the family.

9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
Well, the things I could control, I did as best as I could (can you say control freak??). I persued my school and college. I earned a second degree, getting a job that fulfills me. And I am very lucky with the things I could not control, like love and having a family.

10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
Probably doing the right things. Especially with raising kids, it's so difficult to always know what's right. So we're going with what feels right.