manchmal haben die besten fragen die meisten antworten

Sometimes the best questions have the most answers.

I am using the excuse that I want to keep up my German in order to live out a second childhood. I recently discovered "Die Sendung mit der Maus" ("The Show with the Mouse"). It reminds me a bit of "Sesame Street" and has been around for about as long (since 1971). They have a lot of animated shorts, often featuring narration by children. The one that follows is my favorite so far. Below it is my rough translation.

I dedicate this post to my brother, who at the tender age of 4 or so, asked at a family gathering, "Why are we here?" When a cousin explained that we were spending time together and enjoying some good food, he clarified, "No, why are we on the earth?"

"The Big Question"

Why am I on the earth?
You are on the earth to celebrate birthdays.
You are on the earth to purr...and at most, also to catch mice.
You're there to sing a song.
You're on the earth to have patience.
Naturally you're on the earth so that I can spoil you!
I believe we are on the earth to bark...and from time to time, to howl at the moon.
You are on the earth to cruise the sea, of course!
You're on the earth to trust.
You're there to wake up early.
Because Mama and I love each other.
I have no idea at all.
You're on the earth to love life.
You are there to be there.
You're there to kiss the clouds.
You're on the earth to love yourself.
You are there to fight.
You are there, because I love you.



one man's trash is another man's treasure

Lesson 4 is certainly not an original thought of mine. Nor is it a recent discovery. It is, however, newly affirmed by my first visit to Urban Renewals... "a Family Thrift Center for the city dweller." I fell in love with this place as soon as I walked in the door. It is huge! I always worry about the competitive nature of buying used; that is, you really have to search for the gems, and a lot of that depends on timing and luck. But Urban Renewals is so big, that it is almost impossible not to find something. I picked up a few gems, and I'm sure I passed over many more.

The store is sorted by color and clothing type and all seems to be very clean (though I still stand by washing everything before wearing). Various household goods, toys, and linens line the walls. And there is a separate room for furniture and more household goods. There is a donation "pile" in store.

There are a few uncomfortable aspects of this store. There are no dressing rooms, so people tend to crowd by the mirrors and awkwardly try clothes over their outfits. The furniture room has a smell kind of like a wet garage. And on the Saturday morning that I went, there were a lot of moms hauling around a few very loud children.

But if you are a true thrift fan, those aspects of the atmosphere are to be expected, and the deals are worth it. I plan to make many more trips here. Unfortunately, moving into a new apartment made me acutely aware of how much stuff I have, and I made a promise to myself and J, that every time I bring new things into this place, I will get rid of some old things as well.

So it's out with the old...

And in with the... old...

I bought two t-shirts, a pair of shorts, a long sweater, a book, and a pair of gold earrings. My total? $16.38. If you do the math, that's an average of $2.73 an item!

Urban Renewals
122 Brighton Avenue
Allston, MA 02134


the sweetest rewards are well-earned

So J went away on a boys' camping trip this weekend, and even though I hope he's having a blast, I have to admit that I was less than thrilled to be spending the weekend alone. Without a real circle of friends in the area, and limited familiarity with the local haunts, I was sadly expecting a weekend of boredom and lots of reality tv.

Well, the reality tv part turned out to be true. But the boredom? Not so much. After J left yesterday afternoon, I became a cleaning machine. By evening our place was shining, and the lonelies were beginning to creep up. So when I woke up this morning, I decided I deserved a few treats to help me enjoy my solitary weekend.

Reward 1
How I earned it: I went to the gym regularly, ate healthily, and made other healthy changes in the past month (full update coming).
What I earned: A day off from the gym. I was tired when I woke up this morning. And though I don't ever like to skip planned days at the gym (it too easily becomes a habit), I felt I earned this one. So I took a day, slept in a bit, and it felt good.

Reward 2
How I earned it: I bravely faced a weekend alone. Ok, I didn't really earn this one. J was going away whether I wanted him to or not. But I somehow felt the universe owed me one, so I took things into my own hands, and gave myself the reward.
What I earned: A shopping trip. True, we've been investing a lot in our new place, but this was a very "thrifty" trip. I'll post details later.

Reward 3
How I earned it: Well, I went on a big shopping trip.
What I earned: Chicken Saag from Indian Dhaba on Brighton Ave.

I love this place for a few reasons. Firstly, it's called the "Indian Dhaba Roadside Diner." This is awesome. Secondly, they keep a large supply of lassis and gulab jamun in the refrigerator next to the cash register. It's super easy to go in and grab a few packages. Thirdly, the prices are amazing. I'm talking about a $4.95 lunch special on a Saturday. Why would anyone want McDonald's?! Fourthly, it's very casual, so you get the convenience and atmosphere of a pizza place, but the spice and aroma of an Indian place. The next time I go, I'm going to get something spicy, and if it's hot enough, this place officially passes the test.

Indian Dhaba
180 Brighton Avenue
Allston, MA 02134


when it comes to boston weather, "overprepared" is not an applicable adjective

Since my move to Boston, the weather has been blessedly beautiful. We've had sunny skies and warm days, if not a little too warm. In fact, I was itching for a taste of some weather that might make me shiver a little and hunker down in our cozy place. On Sunday, my wish started to come true...

We entered a few days of rain, sometimes wretchedly heavy and at other times, hardly a drizzle. I ventured out in it on Tuesday, reminding myself that I needed to be prepared for a commute that will always involve lots of walking outdoors, and often involve some miserable weather. I knew I needed to break myself in. But it was...wonderful. The rain was light, and after spending a few hours away, I came home with damp jeans and made myself some hot soup. It felt good to need socks.

So yesterday I went out again, this time to the gym. I thought about bringing my fantastic Tretorn galoshes, and changing into my sneakers in the locker room. But then I realized how silly that would be of me, considering how light the rain had been on Tuesday.

As I was walking out the door with two bags of garbage and saw the rain I thought, "Well, I'll pretend I'm on a quest in Middle Earth and have a cozy hobbit hole waiting for me at the end." (I typically use whatever fictional bent I'm on to keep my spirits up on bad days.) When I missed a train by seconds and had to hop over a huge puddle, I thought, "Well, I'll pretend I'm on a walkabout in Lost and I'm embracing the rain." After waiting at the T-stop for a few minutes, trying to make myself as small as possible under my umbrella, I thought:
  • I'm going to have to work out with wet, itchy feet.
  • I'm going to get athlete's foot.
  • My feet are going to stink.
  • My shoes are still going to be wet tomorrow.
  • My calves are wet and cold.
  • I hate the MBTA.
After spending 15 minutes in the locker room trying to inconspicuously dry my socks and shoes with a hair dryer, I decided never to underestimate the weather here again. I will never leave my galoshes when it might be rainy. I will never wear a light jacket when I think it might be cold. I will never leave my hair down on a day when it might be windy. Then I'm sure I'll always look like this:


even blogs deserve a makeover

I was sitting in my new apartment, surrounded by a lot of new things, across from my new (best) roommate, and thinking about my new future. And then I realized...my blog deserves a makeover. I'm in a fresh place, and while I treasure the journey of my thoughts from the past year, the old just didn't seem to meld with the new as well as I'd hoped. Don't worry; the other posts haven't gone anywhere. I've just hidden them very sneakily.

The transformation proved more difficult than I expected, but ultimately, I ended up with three main goals:


I don't think my blog gets read by too many people who don't already know where I am and what I'm doing. My blog was originally created as a sort of newsletter to keep loved ones up-to-date, and while I'd be totally happy if it stayed that way, I'm also realizing how much more it means to me. Whether or not anyone ever reads it, my blog is that place I go to where I always have an imaginary audience. Here I can hash out the stuff that makes me excited, angry, inspired. And so, I'd like to imbibe it with a bit more of my identity, and let it speak for me as a person, not just what I'm up to.


This goal was largely inspired by T's blog, which she magically transforms every so often. I love reading her posts not only for her fantastic recipes and cute stories, but just to see what sort of great pictures she's posted and what great web design she's done. While I can't promise to be as diligent about giving my blog its deserved makeovers, I think we're off to a better start this time around.

A Unifying Theme

At first, this one seemed impossible to me. Considering all the blogs I've kept in my life, my topics have included travel, environmentalism, teaching, urban life, home, and more. I have a lot to say about a lot of things, but not enough to keep up a blog for each area. Then I thought about what I really get from blogging. I am a think-aloud person. I like developing ideas by bouncing them around with other people (just ask J...he never knows if he's actually obligated to respond to what I'm saying at any given time). Blogging is a way for me to do that. I get my thoughts down somewhere and get to believe that other people are along for the ride. Thanks for sticking with me so far! Through this process, I actually learn a lot about myself and about the world around me. And that is the theme of my blog. Each post, in its content, writing, or rereading, is a little life lesson for me.

As a teacher, I learned that a lesson is just no good without a unifying theme or objective. I'm hoping this format will help me keep things a little clearer, and write out my lessons with real meaning. I hope that it will make me more aware of all the little things I learn every day. And I also hope it encourages me to post more often.

and just one more thing...the lowercase letters in the title? through my listography site, i've figured out that it's good for me to go into my discomfort zone and avoid capitalization a bit. i'm convinced it helps the thinking process.

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