#TeamTrees

I know this site is pretty new and lacking of content, but I wanted to put a message on here about Team Trees. This is an initiative to plant 20 million trees around the globe in 2020. Because I could only contribute what seemed like a drop in the bucket, I looked for other ways to help.

CookPad is donating $1 for every recipe shared on their site. Finding this out just as I was going to make my morning smoothie, I decided to write a recipe for that to share. As cooking is my love and was once my profession, I figured sharing an abundance of recipes is something I can do to help.

If you’re curious, here’s the recipe. I will be posting them here as I share them.

 

Hairs

I haven’t had my hair done in a really long time.

Not because I don’t have the money, my finances are just fine. It’s just that I don’t trust the salons here. I had a few bad experiences, and those compelled me to wait until I go home this year to get my wig busted.

One experience, while I was fortunate to have left before any damage could be done, was quite possibly the most unacceptable service-wise. It took place at a salon near the Altstadt, and I should have taken the emptiness of the place as a bad omen, but I patiently waited to be seen anyway. Waited for what, I’m not quite sure, as I said there was no one in there. Finally, a girl, hunched over her phone at the counter, looked up at me. Clearly annoyed, she led me over to a chair. I sat down, and she told me to wait a moment. In the mirror, I saw her sit down in the corner, play with her own hair, then proceed to Skype with her boyfriend.

I stared at her in the mirror in disbelief, then grabbed my coat and ran for my life before something crazy happened to my head.

The other time shortly after the first one, the older woman doing my hair was certainly nice enough and offered me wine and beer. However, when spun around for the big reveal I found myself face-to-face with Peg Bundy. I should have known with all the weird teasing I felt her doing, but I was too polite to say anything.

Since then, I’ve relied on boxed hair dye and cutting my own bangs, and even that level of maintenance has waned as I’m not very good at it. Now I’m left wishing I had the kind of money where I would just fly to my favorite hair stylist and that would be that. My bangs have gotten long and straggly.The boxed dye, as it does, has faded back to my natural, boring medium brown. I look like I’ve given up on it all and started knitting sweaters for neighborhood stray cats. Pictures make me look disheveled and homeless. Friends have stopped asking me to hang out. Party invitations have vanished. People on the street try to give me their change.

Okay I’m (kind of) exaggerating. But you get the point.

Anyway, as I’m getting close to making my yearly Christmas trip back to Cleveland, Ohio, I am in search of a stylist with mad skills. I want fun colors again, cool bangs, and to stop looking like an understudy for a Zoloft commercial.

A few years ago, I had hair like this and it made me happy:

 

So I was thinking along those lines, something like this:

or this:

but with bangs like this:

Or bangs like this:

 

Any opinions/suggestions are welcome. 🙂

 

 

 

Things

 

Bear with me, as it has been a very long time since I’ve written anything resembling a journal entry.

Sidenote: How I miss the Livejournal days of yore when I could pour my heart out on a daily basis to a group of friends who were, in turn, pouring out theirs. I’m grateful to have maintained the friendships I have from that era. You know who you are.

Anyway, how have I been? Where have I been? Alright, let’s do this.

  • How Have I Been?

After being diagnosed with MS back in May and completely terrified, I began a strict regimen of yoga, weight training, and replacing Germany’s superb bread and chocolate with ingesting every antioxidant I could stuff into my body. I was doing well with this for awhile until another relapse temporarily blurred my eyesight. I got back on the wagon for the most part, but obstacles such as A.) having energy to do things, B.) remembering to do said things, and C.) fighting random bouts of depression, mood swings, bizarre headaches and severe light sensitivity have thrown a wrench into getting back into that routine full throttle. But this will change. In case you’re new here, I’m one stubborn, resilient, badass motherfucker of a human being who lets out an earth-shattering battle cry in the face of adversity, and refuses to accept defeat no matter how high the odds are stacked against me.

Making a nice green smoothie every day has helped, too.

Taking certain fruits, vegetables and herbs I have researched (spinach, kale, ginger root, tumeric root, carrots, and many more), I cram them into my blender until I have to hold the lid closed and hit “puree”. While it hasn’t done anything good for my bank account, it has done wonders for my energy level and, most importantly, my eyesight.

I may need a new blender soon, though.

In other news, I’m back to getting my book published. After an eternity of rewriting, omitting, editing, and all that fun stuff that one does when they feel something is *almost* perfect, I had to take a break. There was a point when the book became more of an emotionally taxing job than a labor of love.

In order to keep my mind going and writing an active part of my life, I started a creative writing group back in July. Every other Wednesday, between 8-12 of us meet at a coffee shop or the library and have fun with different writing prompts. I love that I get to meet so many funny, talented, and creative people and have the privilege of listening to everyone’s unique writing style.

On Halloween, in public, I read a story I wrote at the International English Library for their Spooky Short Story contest. I won first place and took home a box of Wychwood Brewery craft beers. I’m not much of a beer drinker, but the bottles are cool, and I enjoyed sharing them with Carlos.

Speaking of the most important part of my life here, there’s Carlos and his family. What a lovely people to have in my life! Even though I can only communicate with his parents in either my broken German or even more broken Spanish, we have wonderful conversations and they are the warmest and kindest people I have ever met. Carlos’s very polite and thoughtful teenage son, Leo, is the kind of kid who would fool me into having a kid, making me think having kids would be easy because they would turn out just like him.

As for Carlos himself, he’s so much more than just my handsome Spaniard. He’s my best friend. My rock. My person. He’s the best man who has ever entered my life. I would be in a much darker place without him. There have been times when he was the one person keeping me from packing up my stuff and booking a one-way flight back to Cleveland. Well, flightS, since there’s no such thing as just one flight to Cleveland. But I digress. However, this is a good segue into my next topic.

  • Where Have I Been?

For our anniversary, we went to Amsterdam, which is one of my favorite cities to visit. The people are friendly and cool, the architecture is a mixture of old and new, and the vibe is light and fun. If I ever need some cheering up or just be around people who actually smile, I go to the Netherlands. Carlos and I did a nighttime canal tour, went to the wax museum, and just ventured around marveling at everything. A rainstorm did trap us inside a novelty condom store. I guess not everyone can say that.

For my birthday in October, we packed up the car and took a road trip to Paris. I fell in love with the city, tried (and failed) to convince Carlos that we should just not leave and live there forever, and learned a fair amount of French in a very short time. I especially had a hard time leaving our adorable Air BnB, because it was like a little French fairy tale – a room in a charming century home complete with a chandelier and a balcony looking over our host’s beautiful garden. They even had a cute, chunky cat.

 

Last night, Carlos and I attended the Lacuna Coil show in Oberhausen, a town roughly 30 minutes away from Düsseldorf. Every band that played was amazing – and what made them even more awesome was the fact that each one had female vocalists! As a lifelong metal fan, I love seeing more women taking part in a very male-dominated genre. Infected Rain opened and KILLED it. I admit I had never heard of them before last night, but you’d better believe I’ll have already bought their music before I publish this post. They were followed by Lacuna Coil, who I have followed since discovering their album “Comalies” in 2005. Their set included “Nothing Stands in Our Way”, “Layers of Time”, “Our Truth”, and their cover of “Enjoy The Silence”. The band has always had great stage presence, and Cristina Scabbia’s voice was a force to be reckoned with last night. The headlining act was Eluveitie, a metal band from Switzerland. They mostly spoke German to the crowd, and their accent made it harder for me to understand everything they said. But that didn’t matter, because their performance made me happily throw horns in the air, dance, and bang my head, and that’s all I came to do.

I also had a bit of a fan girl moment later on, when I was able to find Carlos and me in Lacuna Coil’s stage selfie. 🙂

In December, I’ll be making my yearly sojourn to spend Christmas in Cleveland, bearing suitcases stuffed with gifts of German beer, bread and chocolate for all my loved ones. Think of me as a modern-day Santa Claus with jet-lag.

That’s about it. If you think of any other topics I haven’t covered here, write them in the comments and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability.