OMG, Shelly, call me!!

Surprises this week in Germany:

  • The baby got cuter. (Surprising, right? We didn’t think it was possible, either.) Brother George came in for a two-week visit, during which time he taught her to waggle her eyebrows. It’s amazingly cute. Also, she’s officially crawling as of this morning, and the combination of ┬áher expression of pleased surprise when she makes it across the mat to her toy + an eyebrow waggle when she sees you watching = freaking adorable.
  • Tobias’ friend from the rowing team invited us over for brunch last week. Due to a scheduling miscommunication (is that what we call it when we read the email incorrectly?), we showed up half an hour early. They were totally prepared: table set, food ready, daughter playing quietly, and no sign of stress. In contrast, I routinely celebrate the first guest’s arrival with a cheerful, ‘Oh, great, you can help me chop vegetables/shell nuts/shake the salad dressing!’, and have been known, in the case of one habitually late guest, to head to the grocery at the appointed dinner hour. If a guest showed up 30 minutes early I wouldn’t hear the doorbell because I would be in the shower.
  • It is full-on strawberry season here, to the point that the weirder berries are arriving at the market. This week’s winner: white strawberries that taste like pineapple!
  • While celebrating Tobias’ mother’s birthday in Southern Germany at the kind of restaurant that features seared goose liver, blackberry salad dressing, micro greens, and a crystal bottle stopper so that your fizzy water doesn’t unfizz, we were treated to a piped-in over-loud cover of ‘Me and Bobby McGee’ as sung by none other than the great Dolly Parton. Turned out they played the entire album, which also featured Dolly singing ‘Crimson and Clover’. (Personal message to Tobias: I take it back. Germans ARE funny.)
  • There is a German kind of molasses made from beet sugar. It is spread on toast for children’s breakfast, and also mixed with magnesium chloride for use as a de-icing agent. (Personal message to Wikipedia: You’re awesome!)
  • Here is the dessert that we made for the get-to-know-you dinner when brother George’s new girlfriend came to Hamburg from Prague for the weekend. Individual pavlovas garnished with a sweet/sour/crunchy fresh flower that I wish I remember the name of:

Four kinds of berries? Yeah, I might have been a little excited.














(Personal message to anyone reading this who does not know George: my inability to remember the name of a flower is not the surprising thing about the dessert comment above.)

Black Bread

I find that, most days, the adage that ‘you learn something every day’ is true. It’s certainly true that I learn something every week. This week, I learned that:

  • It’s easier to clean up boiled-over rhubarb compote than boiled-over rice pudding
  • That lump of frozen red cabbage with attached mystery brown glob, recently removed from the depths of the freezer, is leftover Christmas Goose and Stuffing. Score!
  • It’s difficult to open and apply superglue with one hand
  • It’s nearly impossible to superglue closed a cut that’s still bleeding
  • It’s beyond the realm of reason to expect to superglue a cut on your finger without supergluing tiny bits of bloody paper towel to the cut, the non-affected hand, the counter, the sink, and the lid of the trash can
  • It doesn’t take many repetitions to make the word ‘superglue’ feel heavy in your mouth when you say it
  • Frida’s new little laugh is joyous and yet sounds a bit like a sick donkey. Hilarious.
  • There are many delicious sandwiches to be made with black bread (recipe here,) but one loaf is plenty (warning: the recipe makes two.)

Sandwiches include:

  • Roast pork/mayo/apple/swiss
  • Butter/radish/scallion
  • Pastrami/mustard/lightly pickled cabbage slaw
  • Cherry jam/cream cheese

I’m packing them up for a picnic, and I expect that we’ll be thoroughly sick of black bread by the time we’re finished.

To recap: laughing baby, time to cook, and a picnic with a friend. Life is sweet.


Spargel Freak

In Germany, when someone is especially interested in something they are called a _______-freak. A fellow who has an extensive collection of Native American Indian posters, who has studied the Cherokee language, and who has taken to wearing a hawk feather in his longish ponytail is called an IndianFreak. Tobias, after the third meal in a row of the not-really-ready new crop of German asparagus, can safely be deemed a SpargelFreak.

Let’s play…

What Kind of Freak?!

how to play: review the pictures below, then fill in the blank in the phrase, ‘That baby is a _________-freak!’

Why is this baby so happy?

not because of this

or this

because of THIS!

Crawling Freak!!!










































She’s not quite there yet, but she is obsessed with crawling. Freak on, little Frida, freak on…