dumpster find of the week: another bundle of blankets

I’ve mentioned the phenomenon before, but I’ll explain in a word for anyone who hasn’t been around for that long: bundles of blankets.  At least once every three months I would find one in the trash across the street from Haus Mainusch.  My theory has always been that international students who are moving out were the ones throwing them away.  Why else would you wrap all your bedding in a fitted sheet and toss in in the trash?  If the bedding had been defiled in some way I might understand.  But we’re talking sheets smelling of detergent.  And the universe continues in its absurdity.

Either way, the phenomenon has resulted in an excess of bedding in my life.  These are the latest finds, hung out to dry after a thorough washing.  Coincidentally, many of them were exactly the same color that I have just painted my Wagen.  I’m going to miss that trash corral, now that we’re in Frankfurt.

Wednesday September 26th 2012, 9:00 am 6 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,dumpster diving,dumpster finds,freegan


dies the fire and the emberverse by s.m. stirling

George R.R. Martin and S.M. Stirling walk into a bar.  It sounds like a joke, but I’m pretty sure that it has happened, and as I was reading Dies the Fire, The Protector’s War, and A Meeting at Corvallis I often imagined the two men, both round-faced and balding, sitting in a dark-wood-paneled pub and discussing their respective universes.  “Westeros, blah blah blah” says George R.R. Martin.  He tells a joke.  The men laugh.  “Portland, Oregon blah blah blah,” says S.M. Stirling.  George R.R. makes fun of him for being too lazy to invent a new universe in which to set his stories.  S.M. Stirling feels jealous of George R.R.’s HBO series.  They drink frothy dark beers.

I had been hearing about Stirling’s post-apocalyptic book Dies the Fire for a long time.  It was on every post-apocalypse (PA) book list.  I liked the title.  When I discovered a vein of English language books being sold in Germany online that included the trilogy sometimes referred to as the Emberverse series, but called the Change Series on Stirling’s own website (consisting of Dies the Fire, The Protector’s War, and A Meeting at Corvallis), I placed an order.  It was high time that I was initiated.

In Stirling’s “alternate history” (though it feels more accurate to call it “potential future”) the electricity has gone out.  There is a flash of light and POM! nothing electrical works anymore anywhere in the world.  Gunpowder no longer burns at a rate that would make firearms possible either.  Why this happens is not explained in this trilogy, though the characters whimsically muse that it must have been the “Alien Space Bats,” as they can conceive of no logical human-caused explanation.  What I wish I had never found out was that the Change is caused by a freak incident that occurs in another one of Stirling’s books, a book in which Nantucket gets sucked back thousands of years in time.  Aliens may or may not have been involved, and, damn it, the series would have been better without that bit of absolute ridiculousness.  I want to be able to actually believe that this world is possible you fool! Either way, taking guns out of the equation really stirs things up, and the result is a lot of scavenged, piece-meal armour, sword fighting, and archery.

Though the premise may be ludicrous, the resulting PA tale is really fun, addictive, and worth a read if you fulfill one of the following requirements:

1. You are in the SCA.  (A reenactment group that features largely in the story.)

2. You are a fan of Tolkien.  (Whose books also feature largely in the story and the world post-Change.)

3. You love post-apocalyptic fiction.

4. You love archery and sword fighting and war logistic geekery.

5. You like reading and the characters get under your skin (in the good way) before you have time to realize that you are reading the book equivalent of a half ton of lollipops.  Some might even call it trash.

But I should explain.  Stirling’s books aren’t trash in the way that, say, Nora Roberts’ books are trash.  They are however, not anything you could consider literature, and there is nothing breathtaking about the writing.  (In fact there are some very troubling issues with chronology and sudden stops in the middle of the action, though they are easy to read around.)  This doesn’t mean that Stirling isn’t talented.  He is a fantastic storyteller, and he creates characters that are easy to fall for, stories that you want to find out the end of.  But it is important to differentiate between great storytellers and great writers.  Vladamir Nabokov is a great writer.  Stephen King is a great storyteller.  And so is S.M. Stirling.  If the world ever does come to an end, I wouldn’t mind having him sitting around my fire to tell a tale.

tell us about the damn books already

So.  Dies the Fire.  Great.  The excrement hits the air conditioning, and we get to watch it scatter.  People in cities think the power is out.  People in air planes fall from the sky. Millions of people have trouble wrapping their heads around what has happened and the fact that it is permanent. This results in their deaths. Those who survive have a good run of luck, a few important skills, and the ability to accept that what has happened is going to completely change their paradigm forever and to act on that knowledge.  There is a lot of what-the-fuck!? scrambling, and the luckiest, most resourceful folks come out of it alive.

It doesn’t take (the book) long to have the two main surviving groups of characters—the Bearkillers and the MacKenzies—put together working, if incredibly small, tribes through resourceful moves (like stealing old-school farm equipment from museums), charity (taking in all the survivors they can), and a hell of a lot of luck, particularly when it comes to age and injury (the post-Change world does not house many over 50).  The amount of sweat and labor needed to harvest a field of wheat sounds exhausting, and I found myself wondering why there isn’t more scavenging—beyond hunting, particularly as the wild boar and deer populations explode in the decade following the Change—going on.  In The Protector’s War and A Meeting at Corvallis, Stirling jumps ahead nine years to show us how these two groups are continuing to function, and how they deal with the problems posed by the medeival dictatorship that Norman Arminger has set up in Portland.

What I really love about Stirling—and apparently he does this in most of his books—is that he doesn’t limit his characters to hetereo-normativity, or any normativity for that matter.  There are homosexual characters, for one, and the trilogy directly addresses the way that homosexuality is accepted in certain communities post-change and ridiculed in others (ehem, those who hold onto the teachings of the Catholic church).  You would think that including something that is totally normal in everyday life wouldn’t be a big thang, but shit, take a look at the books on a shelf of best sellers (or any shelf really) and count how many homosexual characters get face and name time.  For two, one of the main surviving groups, the MacKenzies, are Wiccans, and the religion plays a huge role in the book because of it.

In an effort to keep what could very easily become a thirty-page discussion to a blog-able length, I’ll say this: the books are so expansive, so epic, so rich in well-thought-out detail that despite their lollipop-like nutritional content, they do offer quite a lot of fodder for thought.  I was particularly fond of the handling of the issue of how ordinary events become legends and how children of the Change are so different than those born before it.  Though Stirling doesn’t mention the fact that more child-bearing women and babies are dying than modern folks were used to, he does have the forethought to mention the return of wet nurses, the renewed danger of childhood diseases, and, rather randomly, a few characters’ laments that in a few years there will no longer be any more stretch fabric for sports bras.

emberverse, the change, sunrise lands, and montival, OR: why write a trilogy when you can keep writing books in your series forever?, OR: how s.m. stirling took a page from george r.r.r.r.r.r.r martin

Once I became addicted—to the Dies the Fire universe, to the characters, to the story arcs of the Bearkillers and the MacKenzies (two groups of Change survivors)—I was happy that Stirling had stretched the tale into a trilogy. Once the second book brought that addiction to a level of obsession, I was ecstatic that he hadn’t stopped at three, but had written six more books in the same universe.  The Sunrise Lands, The Sword of the Lady, and The Scourge of God comprise the Sunrise Lands series, while The Tears of the Sun, The High King of Montival, and Lord of Mountains comprise the Montival series.  All of them take place a generation after the Change.  Same characters, same universe, same addiction.  Looks like I am going to be reading a lot of sweets this winter.

Monday September 24th 2012, 9:00 am 8 Comments
Filed under: books,conspiracies


nostalgia and other surprises

I am familiar with the pang of nostalgia and the ping-ping-ping of missing a person.  (Or many people, as you will when you move 4,000 miles away.)   But I have never missed a place.  I have always waited to move until I felt like I could leave without having to look back with that heavy feeling at the bottom of my stomach.

And now here I am, and I am missing Mainz—a city I never even noticed that I liked.  It’s not that I hated Mainz or even disliked it.  It is just that I never found much of interest there.  Or so I thought  There are no bars I like to go to.  The restaurants I enjoy are more of a fast food lark than a passionate enjoyment.  (And my favorite cheap-o Asian place turned into a white-plastic-walled bubble tea shop just before we left.  Poop.)  Most of the buildings aren’t even pleasant to look at.  (Thanks World War II.)  When did this fondness crop up?  I can’t say for sure, but here it is and here I am, no longer living there.  Whoops.

It probably started with the stand at the Wochenmarkt (weekly vegetable market) where I bought my raw milk.  Then the flea markets, who I would leave with bags of booty every single week.  I developed routines.  My friends didn’t live far away.  I knew where I could get a free cup of coffee or buy fresh fish or pants that actually fit.  I could walk right into the center of town in 25 minutes.  There was and is nothing spectacular about the city, but it had become home as it wove tiny bits of itself into my days.  I can’t believe I never noticed.

Friday September 21st 2012, 9:00 am 2 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,daily life


speaking of tiny kitchens

While I am on the subject of tiny kitchens… This is the cute teeny tiny little kitchen the Beard and I were using before we left Mainz. Glad I thought to document it before we blew off on the wind. How to do a kitchen when you only have three by two meters.

Thursday September 20th 2012, 9:00 am Leave a Comment
Filed under: conspiracies,daily life,tiny house livin',wagenplatz


new and improved tiny kitchen for three

I am head over heels. I have been using my Wagen as a kitchen since I finished building back in twenty ten. But it was always complicated. The Beard and I had very different visions of the perfect kitchen, and I jumped ship on ours. He loves communal kitchens, full of people and chaos. And while I like eating with people, I don’t really like cooking with people or cleaning up with people. Better said: I don’t like dealing with other people’s chaos.  (And I’m just as sure that most other people don’t like dealing with mine, or with my anal retentiveness on the subject of wandering utensils.)  There is a good reason why kitchens tend to be a conflict point in every communal project ever.  When it becomes too much for me I stop cooking and start eating really poorly/not at all in an attempt to avoid the headache completely.  No fun at all.

(A Johnny Hobo/Pat the Bunny/Wingnut Dishwashers Union song called Jesus Does the Dishes comes to mind. “But have we made it anywhere at all if the dishes are never done? If we can’t live without dishwashers, how can we live without cops? And so you’re asking me, who does the dishes after the revolution? Well, I do my own dishes now I’ll do my own dishes then. You know it is always the ones who don’t who ask that fucking question.” Oh Johnny Hobo, always spot on brilliant I heart you forever. You can listen to the song here.)

Once upon a time we were in a kitchen group with five(ish) people, called die Hölle (hell.)  One by one everybody jumped ship, putting tiny kitchens in their Wägen until only the Beard was left.  These days, somebody lives in the Wagen that once housed our dirty dishes and bags of noodles.

Not wanting to be in a kitchen without a group, the Beard moved into a kitchen called the Spiesser kitchen (Spiesser is a slang-y word for a conservative person, someone who might be a bit anal retentive, but it isn’t a nice word for any of that).  It was the same kitchen where the refrigerator lived where I kept my milk products.  I didn’t want to join the kitchen group, it was practically empty anyway, its owner being in Switzerland for most of the year.  Then suddenly it wasn’t empty anymore, and three people had reanimated it.  But then there was all my stuff in the fridge, disappearing and not being replaced as if I was.  And there was the Beard, cooking almost all of our meals.  The Beard took over almost all kitchen duties around my third month of pregnancy, and I was slowly sucked into the group, like it or not.  Not!

I like having a kitchen all to myself.  I like knowing that everything in my kitchen is something I find beautiful, something lovely pulled from the trash or bought at the flea market or, in very rare cases, carried from America in a suitcase.  (This is how I have been able to stop hating doing dishes.)  I don’t like it when things from my kitchen disappear into other kitchens, never to return.  I don’t like it when I have to carry things back and forth between my kitchen and another kitchen in order to cook a meal.  I like having a fully stocked pantry, and I sometimes sit and stare at my rows of glass jars, filled with beans and lentils and noodles and raisins and flour, and feel content.  I don’t like it when I buy something nice and it disappears and is either never replaced or replaced with something that didn’t cost as much and doesn’t taste as good.  As I write this I am discovering that my kitchen is the calm little center that I need in order to face the world.  Without it things fall apart.  Starting with my eating habits.

Well.  Well!  Once Baby Pickles entered the picture, I started wishing we could have a kitchen, the three of us.  Then all of our food and our utensils would live in one place.  They wouldn’t disappear because there would be nowhere for them to disappear to.  Things from the fridge would only disappear into the mouths of someone I love.  For obvious subjective reasons, I can stand it when those people eat the last of everything and never replace it.  Then it doesn’t bother me at all.  But it isn’t enough for me to just like someone.  Then they need to replace things!  Sometimes I wish this didn’t bother me, but ho-hum, so it goes.

AND NOW MY DREAM HAS COME TRUE!  Ha!  Ha I say!  How often can you write that sentence and mean it?  Not every single day, of that I am sure.  Which brings us back to me being head over heels.  For our new kitchen!  We moved to Frankfurt, my Wagen became our kitchen, and I have been in an amazing mood ever since.  I have cooked every single day.  I have stocked the shelves with gleeful abandon.  I have sighed in happy contentment.  I have been unable to shut up about how happy our new kitchen situation makes me.  So here I am: kitchen blah blah blah blah kitchen kitchen kitchen!

Which, at long last, brings me to the entire point of this post.  Pictures of the kitchen!  Look at her go!

In the picture at the top you can see that we now have a fridge (annoying when it comes to electrictiy usage, though practical now that I eat meat and a lot of dairy), and that we still don’t have a stove. Our future stove is currently in Karlsruhe, waiting to hitch a ride to Frankfurt. In the meantime, we’re still cooking on the biggest electricity waster of all, a single electric stove plate. Here’s a second perspective:

This is me cooking breakfast on the electricity waster. Leftovers from last night’s dinner (red quinoa and roasted vegetables) with eggs. Mmm. Quinoa makes me really happy. So do baked sweet potatoes. Who needs a flat screen tv or a billion dollars when you can get so much pleasure out of a 3 euro bag of grains and a root vegetable?

My book shelf, which doesn’t have much to do with the kitchen-ness of my kitchen, but which I love a lot. Yey.

In transforming my Wagen into an exclusive kitchen Wagen (as opposed to an all-purpose, bed, work, and cook Wagen) I also added these shelves. My table/desk used to occup the same space. Once I remove the bed, a table and chairs will be joining us as well, at the very back.

Pickle is now old enough that I can sit her in her chair, and she’ll play contentedly while I cook. This makes me almost as happy as the kitchen does. Eggplant!

Wednesday September 19th 2012, 9:00 am 8 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,tiny house livin',wagenplatz


settling: after the move

In every battle of the wills so far, my new space phone has won. At the moment it is winning at preventing me from removing photos and videos of our move and putting them on my computer. My computer pretends that nothing is connected to it when I attach space phone’s usb cord. This is why I have been silent on the matter of moving, the one thing I absolutely can’t wait to tell you about. Go figure. But look at that! Those are our two Wägen in their new spots in Frankfurt! So green! So far apart! So many far better pictures soon to come!

It has been ten days since we arrived, most of which the Beard spent working aka I have spent alone with Baby Pickles aka not so much settling has happened just yet.  The Beard has jacked up the red Wagen, and he also built some lovely steps while I was away one evening, as a surprise.  Pre-new steps we were vaulting into the Wagen on a very wobbly construction that threatened, emptily as it turned out, to toss me on my face every time I climbed them carrying Baby Pickles.  Our midwife, who never liked the steps we had on either of our Wägen before, would be very happy.

The to-do list remains, though its contents have changed.  1.  Finish painting my Wagen.  (The unpainted spot was blocked by a tree in Mainz.)  2.  Put my Wagen up on blocks.  (Walking into the Wagen is walking down hill, currently.)  3.  Put in a stone walkway between Wägen.  (The muddy season is coming.)  4.  Build a new shed.  (Big enough to house our baby bike trailer, baby carriage, and all the tools we’ve accumulated, particularly in the last three weeks.)  The little things aren’t even worth listing until those items are checked off.  The thought of just one day when I could do things involving both hands and no baby sounds like winning the lottery.  But I don’t harbor any illusions about winning the lottery either.  So, stolen five minutes by stolen five minutes, it will come.

Who wants to come over and babysit Pickles while I work?  (And then who wants to invent a teleporter so that I can have fun company and babysitters from all over the world all the time?)

Tuesday September 18th 2012, 11:11 am 9 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,daily life,tiny house livin',wagenplatz


200 grimm years

When I was a little kid I was subject to a number of strange devices divined by those of the orthodontic profession.  Braces wouldn’t do the trick, and so I wore strange headgear at night that pulled my upper jaw away from my head with tiny rubber bands and a small metal plate between my upper teeth that expanded with each turn of a small key.

At the end of this long procession of modern torture devices was an oral surgeon.  My upper jaw was simply too small, the orthodontist had said.  We could cut a piece out of my lower jaw and put it into my upper jaw, he said.  We went to see a jaw surgeon who described the surgery (purely aesthetic) and the month following during which I would have my mouth wired shut.  I refused, went home, and smashed my pink plastic retainer with a hammer in the driveway.  That man’s name was Doctor Grimm.

This is neither here nor there, though today, writing about the 200-year anniversary of publication of the Grimm Brothers’ first collection of fairy tales for work, I remembered that other Grimm and clicked my jaw a few times in his honor.  All the headgear ever managed to do was slightly dislocate my jaw, making it click whenever I move it from side to side.  It’s as good a reason as any not to rely on modern medicine any more than you have to.

As for the Grimm Brothers, I have my qualms with them as well.  They collected the folk tales of many, preserving their visions of brutal murder, arranged marriage, and devilry for those of the following centuries.  A noble historical pursuit, and who gets all the credit?  None of the actual authors’ names have become household currency, worthy of celebrating and creating kitschy internet quizzes over (though the Grimms did pen a few of the tales themselves—I do not know which).  And have you ever read the original Snow White?  Did you know that “the good guys” make the wicked witch dance to death on hot coals at the end?  Perhaps the bearers of that name are simply drawn to the darkness of violence and torture.  Click click click click.

 

 

Thursday September 13th 2012, 12:46 pm 7 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies


goodbye, hello

A month after we had announced our summer departure—trading in our beloved Mainz Wagenplatz for new turf in Frankfurt—another group announced that they would be doing the same.  People love to grumble.  People seem to really love to grumble when they live in intentional communities.  Maybe there is more to grumble about.  Maybe we had more problems then most.  Either way, that grumbling had turned into action and a group of six, including four of ours, had decided to start a new Wagenplatz in the region.

You’ll hear people talking about wanting to start new Wagen communities a lot.  Thing is, it is more difficult than it sounds.  First you need to find the land, and on this side of the country, land is not cheap.  Then you need to make peace with the neighbors and the regulations that you are more than likely ignoring in living in a Bauwagen community on said land.  When I first moved to Mainz, a group of people were actively pursuing it, and eventually gave up in frustration (or possibly for other reasons I don’t know about, I wasn’t close with any of them).  So I can imagine that when this group of people stumbled across the oppurtunity to turn a cute little plot of land with a house in a quiet area in the region, I bet they sort of felt like they had won the lottery.

I really hope that I can document their adventure here.  Hint hint, if any of you are reading.  But until I get permission on that, we’ll have to leave it at this: four people decided to move out.  And they all did so within the last two weeks.  Shabam!

What that means is that there is suddenly a lot of echoingly empty space.  It feels strange.  There aren’t as many people around to sit chatting to during the day.  I had sort of hoped we’d be gone before them, just so I wouldn’t have to watch the Wagenplatz empty, wouldn’t have to remember it this way, instead of at its peak.  At the same time it is incredibly exciting that there is now a new Wagenplatz in the region, and incredibly interesting to think about what direction this spot will take as new residents take the place of all those who are leaving.  Talleyho!

Pictures: One of the first empty spaces to appear, the first two Wägen to go, and a close-up of the bit o’ metal that makes all this moving around possible.

Wednesday September 05th 2012, 9:00 am Leave a Comment
Filed under: conspiracies,daily life,wagenplatz


to breed or not to breed

To reproduce or not to reproduce, that is the question.  Many decide for and many decide against and many have the decision taken out of their hands entirely, one way or another, and somehow it manages to be difficult no matter which road you’re on.  Since bringing Baby Pickles into the world, a number of friends have asked me questions about what it’s really like living with a baby to help them with their own decisions.  In writing an email on the subject recently, it occured to me that many of the thoughts were ones I would like to share here.  So I’ve taken some of my emails on the subject and edited them for your eyes.  I would love to hear if any of you with kids experience any of this in the same way or what those thinking about having or not having them are taking into account.

*

Babies! Having kids is a totally insane/amazing mixture of the absolute best of times and the absolute worst of times. It’s absolutely awesome—and the good times make the bad times totally irrelevant and forgotten—but still. I don’t like to gloss over the fact that it’s not all rainbows and kittens and lollipops. That being said I think just about everybody can handle way more than they ever imagined, and that is another of the fantastic amazing fuck-yeah parts about having kids. You get to find out what a superhero you secretly were all along.

So. To have ‘em or not to have ‘em?  I know part of my own wanting kids is this sad twinge I get when I think about growing old without kids directly in my life.  On my dad’s side we have this awesome family group, not too big and not too small, and I really just love the whole family dynamic and family thing. Living so far away from them all, I figured that if I wanted a family thing in my life, I would have to make my own.  DIY!  Hahaha.

What I fucking love, and what takes up the majority of the baby time now is just how frickin fascinating this little person is. Yesterday I had one of those moments—and I have them quite often—when I look at her and just can’t believe that she could possibly be real.  And I said to her, “Hey look Pickle, you’re a little person! How did you do that?” Kids just fill your life with constant magic. I’m convinced that they are still capable of the magic that we all could do if civilization wasn’t filling us up with other thoughts and aspirations, with computer skills and insurance bills and retirement plans, and it is so wonderful and beautiful and fulfilling to be allowed to spend just about every minute of every day in the presence of that magic.  I feel like it brings some of my own magic back to me.

I would love to tell you its totally easy and all, and it has been mostly with Pickles, and it totally can be. But I don’t want to say that, not really, since everything will depend on who your baby is. Mine happens to be pretty low key, and she fits easily into our lives.  But I have friends with high-needs babies who are a lot different than Pickles, so I don’t want to be all like all babies are easy! Some babies are easy, and I think babies in general aren’t hard in the way that mainstream culture likes to act like they are—as if they ruin your life and trap you and make you boring or all the sitcom stereotypes.  Babies who are “hard” just tend to need a lot, and as the fulfiller of those needs, you need more too.  And then you discover that your well of patience actually goes way deeper than you ever imagined, or you hand your baby off to a partner or friend and are warmly, happily reminded of the beauty and neccessity of community.

The day to day taking care of a baby (though I can only speak up to six months) isn’t hard at all, just a new pattern to get used to.  Diaper changes, feedings, and always planning for your tiny and constant companion.  I personally felt really ready for kids in that I felt like my life had already come round to a place where the things I wanted to do were all things that were possible with a baby and the things that I didn’t want to do were the things that don’t fit so well with having a baby. But traveling and making art and music? Perfect kid stuff.  All the stuff that isn’t so easy with kids is kind of lame anyway. Like drinking a lot all the time and then being hungover the next day. Fuck that.

Right now I’m sitting on one side of the Wagen typing, and the Beard and Baby Pickles are on the bed playing banjo.  We trade Pickles back in forth in rhythm with each of our creativities. The Beard plays the babe music while I sit and type and so on.  I do find it really hard to get time to write however, so far, and I think (hope) this will change with age.  You just become so interruptible, particularly when you are still exclusively breast feeding, and I tend to need time to get into the flow of the words.  A lot of times I will sit down to write and get interrupted before I find that flow or just after.

At the same time i feel like having Baby Pickles has just made my priorities so much easier to sort out, which in turn creates more space for my art.  When I have time I really get shit done, and when she needs me I just ignore everything else and enjoy being with her. Whenever things feel hard I just think about how short this time of her life is and how fucking cute she is even when she’s inconsolable (though that happens rarely with her, luckily). Making music is a lot easier, and I envy the Beard a bit for being able to do his passion with Pickles.  It is pretty boring to sit and watch someone type.

You asked if it changed our relationship: Oh hell yeah, but in all sorts of really good ways. Also totally not like the stereotype of mainstream kidness you hear about.  We have been way more lovey dove since. It is really fucking amazing to watch your partner be a parent, and it totally makes you all crush on each other all over again.  Bringing a baby into the world feels like doing magic, and casting a spell that complex and amazing can bind you together tighter than you ever imagined was possible.

Tuesday September 04th 2012, 2:17 pm 6 Comments
Filed under: conspiracies,daily life,gorilla parent (year one)


internet faux pas, moving, dumpster diving, and archery

The weather is perfect.  I love the start of fall.  The outdoors are a’calling (as are a bajillion things that I need to do to my Wagen before winter), and I find little time for blogging.  Perhaps I should take a page from the speed dating book.  A few updates in fifteen minutes or less…

Umm, sorry about that hiccup where the website was suddenly gone.  Whoops. If you tried to come by Click Clack Gorilla the past two days and found scary ugly nothingness, I apologize.  I was a day late paying the renewal fees for my domain name.  This is the second time I have let this happen (though the first time I was traveling, and it took me a long time to notice and an even longer time to get things fixed), and thank frickin cod that nobody seems to be lurking around waiting to scoop up www.clickclackgorilla.com because I renewed and now things are working again.  Having to give that up would be incredibly sad.  Anyway.

We are finally fucking moving.  Like maybe tomorrow.  I had become completely unmotivated again, in all things related to the move.  Then this morning the Beard gets this text message: “We could move both Wägen tomorrow, the baby Wagen Thursday.”  Holy shit!  I felt like springing into action.  “Let’s do it!”  That was me.  “No frickin’ way!”  That was the Beard.  We are hoping to be able to settle on this weekend, if our moving guy can do it then too.  Could be that the next time I write to you, our wheels are settled firmly on Hessen soil.  Fucking finally.  This waiting and preparing has dragged on far too long already for my taste.

Baby Pickles just discovered that she has hair.  Now she is no longer limited to pulling on my hair or the Beard’s beard.  Stroke, grab, pull, stroke, grab, pull.  However, she doesn’t seem to mind when she pulls her own hair out, so I guess this won’t be a lesson in why not to pull my hair.  She also can sit pretty well.  And eat like eating is the same as sloppily putting on make-up.  Peach face! Peaches are by far her favorite.  Soon we’re going to need to get another sack of clothes.  Banana baby!

I did my first dumpster dive with baby!  I felt so proud.  On a walk to get Pickles settled one evening I happened upon a pile of wood that would be lovely for some trim I need to do on my Wagen exterior, and for building stairs.  The following evening I strapped Pickles on, put a little seat for her in a bike trailer, and walked over to get it.  While I pulled useful boards out of the pile, Pickles sat in her chair in the shade and watched.  The boards were a bit long for the trailer, which prevented me from taking as many as I could have used, but damn was I happy to get some decent scavenging done with the baby in tow. I’m going to be even happier to put them to use.

I finally read Dies the Fire. Which other PA (that’s “post-apocalypse” folks) lit fans have been recommending all over the internet for ages. While it is not literature, not even close, it is a great story, and I am obsessed.  Maybe even OBSESSED.  Good thing S.M. Stirling made it a trilogy, and then wrote a six book series in the same world that takes place a generation later. It is making me both want to write a really long review (coming once I finish the trilogy) and to take up archery. Oh my.

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