Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fighting The Christmas Blues With Lots Of Old Junk

When I was a kid, my dad had some sort of grad student position at this weird institute at the University of Arizona. Sometimes we went with him to work. I remember a lot of big gray machines with colorful wires, metal shelves filled with iron pyrate (i.e. Fool's Gold), an old tank from Vietnam and a vat of liquid nitrogen. If we begged him hard enough, he would put some object into the liquid nitrogen; a piece of plastic pipe or, one time, even a rose; and then show us how it had turned to ice.

My brother was crazy about going to my dad's work but, although I liked it too, I remember getting bored pretty quickly. Somehow I had the feeling it was more for boys. Plus, I started having nightmares that my hand got dipped into liquid nitrogen and then melted. Because of this, his job (and science in general) didn't really win any brownie points with me.

I think it was these memories that stopped me from going to the Deutsches Technikmuseum for so long. I'm always looking for ways to escape the mommydom drone of playgrounds and ice cream parlors and the museum is actually within walking distance (well, sort of...) from our apartment but, I don't know. A technical museum? The place had too much of a whiff of boys and dirty socks. If someone had told me it's actually Ye Olde Junk Shoppe, I would have gone a lot sooner.

We went today and found lots of old machines and phonographs and televisions and printing presses. Cool, decrepit vintage treasures that the girls-all three of us- really got into (the picture above this one shows Lilly a few seconds before she got chewed out by the security guard because she just couldn't resist those oh-so-shiny typewriter buttons....)

The building is also really amazing; the old part is all red brick with warm wooden floors and antique, hand-painted signs. From what I could gather, it used to be a gigantic stable for a large part of the city's horses. Apparently there is also a windmill and giant park, though we'll have to wait til spring to check that part out.

They also had a lot of dioramas. Dioramas. Why did they ever fall out of fashion? Even the name is cool. Speaking of which, I have this one for sale in my shop right now. Hope to find more later. Mia definitely agrees with me on this one. She told me she thinks all museums should have some of those little houses.

We ended the day with two greasy schnitzels at the museum's restaurant. Nothing like deep fried pork and crinkle fries on a foggy Christmas Eve Eve. Santa would be proud I think.

Merry Christmas everyone. Hope you survived the holiday stress and are going to take it nice and easy wherever you are. See you again Zwischen den Jahren (the German saying for the time between Christmas and New Year's, literally "Between the years.") :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

White Christmas

A true-blue native Berliner, my ex-husband's mother used to complain about just about anything. One of her favorite complaints every year was our lack of a White Christmas. "Na, typisch. Schon wieder kein Schnee zu Weihnachten. So is' det Leben."

One Christmas Eve we woke up to find the garden covered with a blanket of snow. But my ex-mother in law still found a way to complain about it. "Tja, endlich!" It's about time....

I've lived in Berlin for almost 11 years, but except for last year, that was my only White Christmas. Most other years it rarely snowed and, when it did, the snow only stayed on the ground for a couple of days.

But last year there was such a crazy amount of snow for so long and this year seems to be going in the same direction. I took a jaunt through the local graveyard again today on my way to the U-Bahn to get Jasper a frame for his Christmas present (Shhh...Don't tell!)

It's the same graveyard from the post a couple of weeks ago, so you can see how much snow has fallen since then. You might be expecting me to complain, since I've definitely been vocal about how much I hate winter. But actually, I'm loving it and this although my back is constantly aching because of all the buggy pushing/sleigh pulling through the sludge (oh how German of me to complain about such things!)

Gl├╝hwein, sledding, icicles, oh my! ;)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Computers Are Of The Devil

When I was a child in Arizona we went to a store-front hippie church called The Vineyard. I'm a little vague on the details, but I remember at some point this holy roller gave a special sermon on all things that are of the devil. On that list were electric guitars, barbie dolls and telephones, though telephones might just have been a rumor spread by some of the girls in my Sunday school class. I'm not sure what ever happened to that holy roller, or even what his name was, but if he has since added computers to his list of Satan's little helpers, I most definitely would agree with him. My computer seems to have come down with a bug making it crash at any given minute (though it has the hardest time with e-mail and facebook....) Just writing this post is an act of courage and no, I don't dare add a picture to it. A tech guy is coming (hopefully) sometime next week, but until then things will be pretty slow for me in blog-, e-mail- and etsy- land. Merry Christmas everyone, and say your prayers for me to Saint Clive, patron saint of the computer chip. ;)


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