Monday, March 28, 2005

Pimp My Flat - Volume V

So, we rented a car on Saturday before Easter to do some errands outside of the city.

First, we bought some big grocery items at the Wal Mart near our house. We don't usually buy that much at once since there are small grocery stores all around in our street. Had a large cart filled with 40 liters of cat litter and boxes of tomato sauce and stuff like that. A stop at the big discount beer store on the way back was also in the plan.

After that we went to the big home improvement store (like Home Depot) south of Hamburg to pick out tile for the backsplash in the kitchen. Tiles are butt expensive, man! 50 EUR per square meter or more. Luckily we'll only need a few square meters.

Then we headed up to IKEA to pick up several things we'll be needing for the new apartment. We were both real hungry when we got there, so we scarfed down some Swedish meatballs before shopping. Nothing like wandering through the cavernous IKEA halls with a belly full of Kött Büllar. (This sounds like "Kotzbälle" in German, meaning "puke balls." That's an old joke though.)

On the shopping list were: lamps, a hood for the stove, two comfy chairs, a coat rack, and a new kitchen table (pictured below).

Nat made a table cloth and some place mats already for the table. Looks good and makes our current kitchen look 1000 times better. Should be great in the new flat. We finally have some grown-up funiture.

Get this: IKEA in Germany doesn't take credit cards. There we are standing with hundreds of Euros of wares in our two huge carts and we couldn't use a Visa card. OK, Germans have this thing called an EC, which is like an ATM card, and we were able to use that. But still, this is the 21st century, isn't it?

Pictured on the table above is a bowl of Grüne Soße, a Hessian dish traditional served around Eastertime. It has eggs in, so it's a good way to use up all the hard boiled eggs we had from Easter. Also has lots of fresh herbs and things: dill, parsley, cress, and chives. Add a little mustard and sour cream and you got yourself some German Green Sauce.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Nat's March Books

Cees Nooteboom, Allerseelen/All Souls Day ***/*****
Harry Mulisch,
Das Attentat/The Assault ****/*****
William Somerset Maugham,
Der Magier/The Magician ***/*****
Franz Kafka, Amerika **/*****
Andrzej Szczypiorski, Die schöne Frau Seidenman/The beautiful Mrs Seidenman ****/*****
Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life ***/*****

Friday, March 11, 2005

Pimp My Flat - Volume IV

Jim and I were already ill and had fever when we went to another appointment in our new appartment.

They put the big 5.5 foot x 5.5 foot big skylight with a crane into the ceiling. It is huge. That is where the spiral case to the roof terrace is going to be. The skylight will slide with a motor beneath the roof terrace.

Two other skylights are going to be built in. One in the livingroom and a small one in the bathroom.

Other than that all the walls are attached to the roof again, all windows are built in, the dormers are finished and they started the floorwork.

We are getting there.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Nat in Bawstin (Boston)

Jim had to go to Montreal for a conference, so I went to MA to visit Marina and Karsten. I have been to Boston in October 2001 but getting there at this time of the year was quite a challenge - it was very very cold! For the days I stayed there I had nose bleeding, felt like Cosmo Kramer, though I didn't go to Mom and Pops shoe shop.

Marina and Kasi live in a wonderful area of Somerville. I liked it a lot there. Great neighborhood, very European, everything in walking distance and only ten minutes to the City of Boston.

The first day I went with Marina to MIT and spent some time in the libary. All those smart people around me - wow I had so many One-Million-Dollar-Ideas while sitting there, but somehow forgot them as soon as I was outside to take care of my nose bleeding.

After that we visited the Cambridge Brewing Co. which is just awesome - all beers are above average and I had a great time there chatting with Marina and eating a big bowl of housemade nachos.

Later that evening the three of us had nice dinner in a Tibetian restaurant.

Saturday started with a long and good breakfast. We went to Boston and walked half of the Freedom Trail.

It was really fun and interesting, and I found it even better the second time around, as I had the feeling I recognized a lot of other stuff I missed the last time. For example the explanation how it comes that the Republicans use the Elephant as their symbol and the Democrats the Donkey. Marina made sure that the Donkey run - yeah, man, THINK BLUE - go little Donkey, go!

After visiting the Paul Revere House we went to the John Harvard Brewing Co. and had a sample there. After that we rested for an hour before we made our way to Redbones. Redbones is a great Bar and Restaurant. The food is good, the beers on tap rock - at that time they had 26 Beers from all over the country and ...Jever from North Germany, on tap. We met Hector and Mark from Ratebeer - which was really nice.

It was really interesting as we were all very different, people couldn't be any more different in life style, experience and political opinions. But the great thing was, that we all were able to have a civilized and highly interesting controversial conversation. I really enjoyed that evening a lot - Marina and I also enjoyed the beers that evening a lot.
We weren't doing too good the next morning - heh, but at the end of the evening, the alcohol gave us a great thick Bawstin accent and we pahked ourselfes in the behd.

Thanks Marina and Kasi for having me! It was great!!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Beer a-gogo

Monday evening after a nice dinner with Mom and Dad we made our way to JoeVee and Shelly and their cats Barley and Hops. You gotta love people who name their cats Barley and Hops!

Shelly was sick but she was an Eager Beaver and stayed with us. We cracked several bottles of beers open this evening and rated them. Joe's beerfridge is just awesome and it is unbelievable that he is always so generous to hold great beers till we come and share them with us.
The best beer we had this evening was Pizza Port Mo Betta Bretta, at least in my opinion.
The next morning we took off for a little road trip. We went to New York State, Poughkeepsie where we bought a lot of beer at Halftime. This Shop carries a fantastic selection of beers. The owner came by and chatted a long time with Joe and a little bit with us and at the end we all got some great presents - beers and glasses.
After this stop we drove to New Paltz were we went to a brewpub named Gilded Otter. It was nice there and we drunk a sampler and ate lunch.
In the evening we went to New York City where we met Emily at DavidCopperfield's Cask Festival. The Highlight-Beer there was Southampton Imerperial Russian Stout.
Coming home from NYC we drunk another beer and as you might assume, after that we were out-beered. Enough beer!
Hope to see you soon, Joe and Shell!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Snow, French Toast, Winter Wonderland

Living North of Germany - Snow is not an often sight for me. If it snows it is gone pretty fast and the only times I saw big masses of snow were skiing. So I did not know why everybody was so excited about the snow storm which was expected on Monday. Jim even rescheduled a lot of our plans and we made preparations to sleep over at Bill and Karen's instead of driving back from where they live, out in the sticks.

We drove with Bill to their house early afternoon on Monday where it already started snowing nice medium flakes. We had a great time at Bill and Karen's house. We saw their new addition of the house which turned out great. Karen bought a new hybrid car and I'm wondering why this is not a big thing in Germany. I have to get more info on that.

While we were eating, drinking and making fun of Jim as always, it snowed. It snowed the whole night. The next morning I woke up at 5 a.m again and looking outside made me totally excited. Winter Wonderland. I hopped under the shower and at 6 a.m I was the only one awake with my camera alone in the snow, greeting the day and enjoying the wonderful atmosphere and landscape.

I was in the snow nearly to my knees. What fun!

Later Bill was snowblowing while we all enjoyed a hearty and great Breakfast - thanks Barbara - your French toast is delicious!!!

We miss you guys - Thanks a lot for your "hostility" :-) and all the wonderful presents. Love ya!