Thursday, April 28, 2005

Nat's April Books

Well - I have to admit, there was not much time this month

Adam Langer Crossing California ****/*****
Jeffrey Eugenides Air Mail ***/*****
Wolfgang Koeppen
Das Treibhaus/The Hothouse: A Novel ***/*****

Monday, April 25, 2005

Pimp My Flat - Volume VI

After some serious thinking about where to put walls, electricity, heaters etc we finally had a new appointment at the apartment.

Once again it was unbelievable how much changed since last month. (It amazes me when I look at the first pictures and compare those to the last ones).

They started putting up the initial framing for the walls, and some walls have the first layer of wallboard. Coming into the hallway it finally begins looking like an apartment.

The entrance is to the right on this photo, to the left is the entrance to the bedroom and straight ahead you see the entrance to Nat's room.

The framing for the walls is made of metal 2x4s. The walls are to have two layers of wallboard throughout the apartment. Right now there are piles of sheet rock in every room, as in Nat's room.

In the middle of the above photo you see the entrance to the living room. They will put in double doors there.

The inside of the walls will be stuffed with fiberglass insolation, which is piled up to the roof in Jim's room.

His room looks actually pretty big as there is something in it - the other rooms came across as if they are very small, which they aren't.

The dormers are put in with full-functioning windows and all. Here is the dormer in the bedroom.

After they put in the second skylight it is obvious now how light the kitchen, dining room and living room area is going to be. The below picture was taken standing in the livingroom looking toward the kitchen.

The window to the left is going to be bricked over soon though, but right now it is the only way to get to the roof, where our terrace is going to be.

They started working on the rooftop deck too:

It was a beautiful spring day today and we could see a lot of the city from the roof.

The only other roof terrace nearby is from our neighbors but it is much lower than ours - I guess they are going to hate us :-)

This is it for a while now. We can't wait anymore - we really want to move in. Thinking that it will take another three months until we are able to do so really sucks.

Keep your fingers crossed that everything goes well and that time will go by fast for us.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Gaudeamus - Habemus Papam or The Pope is dead - Long live the Pope

The worst of the worst happened - Ratzinger is the new Pope.

I also learned what is worse than Germany being the winner of the World Soccer Championship - it is a German - no hold on, that is not exact enought - a Bavarian Pope being elected. The German biggest daily newspaper (yes, big does not equal good!) "Bild" stated - "We are Pope". Wow - that means I'm Pope. Or - Nat papa est - gaudeamus - the church changed - woman can attend the club, but it is still an exclusive club - only German Women.

Sorry, I'm just so overwhelmed by this great news.

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Pope is dead or Nat and the Catholic Church

So, the pope is dead and the TV is making a big business out of it. See him from all angles, show people crying and griefing about the loss, and telling over and over again what a great man he was.

I was a bit touched when he died but not because he is gone, more because somebody is gone whose organisation formed my opinions, formed me. I know that sounds weird and it is hard to explain, but I'll try.

As many of you know my father was Italian and he died only 20 days after my birth. Though my mother is protestant and does not believe in God, she deceided to have me baptised in Italy around my father's family. The result is that I'm a catholic.

My only contact with religion in my early years was when I visited my relatives in Italy. I do remember my excitement when we went to church and though the mass lasted forever I was fascinated by the ordinance of the mass, the old women wearing black and praying the rosary over and over intensely and the huge dressed holy figures in their corners. I remember sneaking into my aunt and uncle's bedroom and touching the old wooden rosary which hang over the bedpost.

I went to a Catholic Elementary School in Düsseldorf and I got interested more and more in religion. When the time came that the whole class of mine was dued to go to take lessons for the communion, my mother asked me if I want to go too. I did. I went to the communion lessons for a year, I loved it. I loved being with the people, I loved the young priest who used to do little excursions with us, excursions to places I have never been to before like a game park or the dome in Cologne. And I started reading the bible from the beginning to the end and I loved the message in there. I joined the church choir and when I had communion and I had to go to confession right beforehand, I was soooooo relieved that I had confessed that I had stolen sweets from my mothers drawer. I was pure now and God forgave all my sins.

Then we moved to a little village in Hessia. Though 90% of the people living in Hessia are protestants there was a little Catholic Church in the village. I was astonished the first time I went to the mass. The priest was old and grumpy. He was angry, very angry - but I never found out why.

When I was 14 the time came for the confirmation and of course the confirmation lessons started about a year before. So once a week I went there and the angry priest was telling us about the hell and the purgatory. And he assured us that we all would have to spent a long time in purgatory before God would be able to decide whether we are good enough to enter the gates to heaven or end up straight in hell. I never heard of the purgatory in the Catholic community in Düsseldorf (I later learned that most of the Catholics think that this is nuisance anyway) and I astonished asked how it comes that God puts us into purgatory and crucify us as he knows who is good or bad - at least that was what I believed in.

He was totally mad with me and I could tell he did not like the fact I was there. The next lesson he talked about Adam and Eve and the sins - and as we had Evolution right at that time in school, I asked (and I assure you it was an innocent question) how it come together that we learn in school that the human beeings are basicly descend from Apes while the Church tells us that Adam and Eve were made by God. That was it.

He started yelling at me. He called me Doubting Thomas, told me that I would have been the one who wouldn't believed that it was Jesus though he was showing his wounds after he revived and that I'm a not a Christian. He told me to go and that I am not worthy to administer the sacrament of confirmation.

I ran home and I cried and I was so miserable. My mother went to the living room and she called him and through the closed door I could hear my mother's very loud and very angry voice. She came out and said: "If you want, you can go to the confirmation but the priest does not want you to come to the lessons anymore!"

I went to the confirmation - that was the last time I have been to a Catholic mass! The suffragan bishop did not allow any of my relatives beeing the ones to put their hand on my shoulder (they do that during the procedure) as they are not Catholic so I did had to ask somebody from the village whom I didn't like at all (a grumpy catholic grandfather of a school friend).

Coming home I questioned the Catholic Church and I do ever since. I started reading the Bible again with a different perception and I found so many things that contravene with the Catholic Churches teachings or the "Real" Life teachings.

And the pope was acting in opposition to the pure teachings of the Bible too: Treating women second quality, telling people in the poorer countries in the times of AIDs that they should not take any contraceptives as celibacy is the best prevention for pregnancy and furthermore AIDs (yeah, finally they found a sin which castigates itself), telling the Bosnian women who were raped by Serbs that they can't abort the children, calling catholic lawyers and judges to not participate in divorces and a lot more.

Now that he died, the broadcasters are talking about the pope and how good he was with young people and that he attached young people to the church. I can say that this is not true for me. He formed my opinions or manifested them, but they are mostly all of what he and the Catholic Church dislike.


Saturday, April 02, 2005

A package arrived - Yeah!

What a really cool day! This Friday was a wonderful spring day. The sun was shining, it was quite warm, and all the grumpy Germans were smiling and joking. And there he was: the mailman with a package from the States - from Barbara, Karen and Bill!

Wow - what a great stuff! Barbara knit a beautiful poncho for me. Thanks soooooo much - that is one of the most beautiful and best presents ever. I was really touched that Barbara did that for me. Getting a present which somebody made espiacially for you with so much effort and work is something really outstanding.

I'm wearing it all the time and right now!

The colors are much brighter than you can see on the picture. Since I usually wear black clothes, it's a very good varition for me and complements my wardrobe nicely.

But wait...there is more! All of us got something. Karen and Bill included also a Spongebob Squarepants which placed in water grows in about 72 hours to six times his original size. He is growing right now and is already two times bigger.

On top of that, we received two Weekly World News. We love to read them - there is nothing funnier than that paper. The "Two-Headed Space Alien Shot By Farmer" headline promises a good laugh!

Also included were treats for Niles and as you can see on the pic he loves them...he says they are puriffic.

Thank you so much Barbara, Karen and Bill - that was really a great suprise package! I can't wait to hug you and squeeze you in person.