Home / 2007 / August

“Treat my body like its the only one I’ve got.”

Sarah, my running partner, just introduced me to a fellow runner’s blog, A Marathon Leap, which incidentally quoted Sarah’s blog on Marathon Spectating Dos and Don’ts the other day. I’ve signed up to read the RSS feed, and today, lifestudent wrote that she is promising to “treat her body like it’s the only one she’s got.” I think she kind of meant it as a joke and as an inspiration to really get and stay serious about her training until her marathon which is a few weeks away. When I read that, it really hit me.

Just getting older makes our bodies break down, and let’s not even think about the setbacks we get genetically–I’m more at risk for breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, and blood problems just because of my DNA. Liz got serious about her diet and exercise regimen when her father was diagnosed with diabetes, and she looks the healthiest I’ve ever seen her. Am I really going to wait around for a family member’s diagnosis to spur me to get really serious about eating right and exercising? This actually is the only body I’ve got, and the power to get it healthy and keep it that way lies with me and only with me.

If I am going to do that, it will include giving up Dr. Pepper (my weakness) and actually getting serious about changing my eating habits. I’ve dabbled in it before, and running always helps me cut down my soda consumption, but I have a hard time avoiding unhealthy food and controlling the amount of food I eat in the long term. I don’t believe in “dieting”; I’d rather commit to a “lifestyle change.” “Diet” sounds like something temporary, something that you commit to until you fit into that dress from freshman year. “Lifestyle change” sounds so much more permanent.

I’ve been saying that “I’m trying to make a lifestyle change,” and what I need to say is “I am making a lifestyle change.” What was it that little guy from Star Wars always said?

*This is my 100th post!

Have you ever wondered…

…how your Gmail arrives in your Inbox? If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you know that I think Google Rocks! And they can have fun with themselves too. While making millions of dollars and providing and improving many free, highly functional Web apps, like Gmail, Google Docs, PicasaWeb, Blogger, and plain ol’ Google searching (or iGoogle, your personalized search page).

Oh, so back to the video. Google invited users to record a clip showing a part of how a Gmail email goes from the sender’s inbox to yours. Check it out! Personally, I wish Sarah and I had thought of and recorded the relay race clip. Oh well. :)

P.S. Thanks, Sarah, for helping me get this video in my blog!

Day 26: Stressing

The countdown to our flight leaving for Germany has hit 26 days. And we still don’t know where we will be living when we arrive. We have two simple goals.

  1. No long-term contract. Since we won’t be able to check out the place before we move in, we don’t want to be committed to an apartment or location that we hate. Fortunately, most of the cheaper places don’t have contracts and require only three months’ notice to move out. One place that my boss’s secretary keeps pushing is 595 EUR a month and has a year contract (Vertrag “Fair-trahk”). It’s in a really nice part of town, has two bedrooms and two balconies, and it’s fairly new. But it’s frickin’ expensive! The other place she’s pushing is a room–yes, only a room–in someone else’s apartment. That would be fine if I were single, but we want our privacy. It’s cheap and temporary, but not worth it.
  2. Nothing over 500 EUR. This place is supposed to give us a roof over our heads until we actually physically look at and find “the perfect apartment.” The cheaper the better, because we won’t be wasting as much on this temporary place. I’m hoping to find a cute little studio for around 300 EUR, but so far, every time we find one we like, it’s taken by the time we get in contact with the leasing agent.

Facts About Renting an Apartment in Germany That Americans Might Find Interesting.

  • Most landlords require a “Kaution” (cow-zee-own) or deposit that is usually equal to two or three months rent. As much as it sucks, it makes more sense to me from a business point of view than the deposits we pay here. I mean seriously, after carpet cleaning, patching holes in the wall from pictures or fights (this is SW Missouri, after all), repainting the walls, and covering the random middle-of-the-night broken things, the $350 deposit is gone pretty quickly. At the place we were most seriously considering at the moment, that means 1050 EUR, plus the first month’s rent and an agent fee of 700 EUR. It would be almost 2000 EUR right off the bat, and only half of that would we ever see back. Now we aren’t seriously considering it anymore. :)
  • German apartments are B-A-R-E. As in you have to bring your own kitchen cabinets, sink, refrigerator, and closet. So you want to look for a place that has “EBK,” or “Einbauküche” (ein-bow-ku-shuh), or built-in kitchen, at least. Weird, huh?
  • A “three room apartment” means a living room, kitchen, and bedroom.

So that’s what I’m stressing about on the German side of things this week. What about here Stateside? The Pathfinder and the couches. We were able to sell the washer and dryer quickly, but now the two biggest items are still hanging around, with nary a bite. Yesterday, an engaged couple stopped by, test drove the Pathfinder and seem very interested. They just need to see what they can get for his truck and if they’ll be able to get enough for the Pathfinder. We should hear back from them on Monday. *wipes the sweat off her brow*

Couches… hmmm. We had two potential buyers before I even left for Germany, but I think they weren’t expecting us to ask so much. We’re asking $1,500. The couches are high back (your head and neck are supported when you lean back), all sections recline (no one is stuck with out the comfy recliner), and despite a few cat scratches (“NAVEED!!!”), are in excellent condition, not even two years old yet. And they are nice leather. We paid almost twice our asking price when we bought them new, so we don’t feel like we’re trying to make a ton off them. I think part of the problem might be that people have very specific taste in furniture, and it will just take a while to find someone with the same taste. Hopefully it won’t take more than 26 days!

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I <3 Space

When I was in third grade, I wanted to be an astronaut. I wanted to go to the Moon, to Mars… I even had a very realistic dream where Sarah McFarland and I had to survive on the Moon for 6 months. It was pretty frickin’ awesome for a dream.

So this evening is a total lunar eclipse that is actually visible where I’m at. All day I went back and forth between going to bed early and just staying up. Those of you who know what a night owl I am probably could have guessed what I would end up doing, and you’d be right. :) At about 1:40, Rob jokingly suggested that I should just get the 3.5 mile run that is scheduled for 6:45 in the morning over with now, so that I can just go to sleep when the eclipse ended. I thought it was a pretty good idea, and when he agreed to come with me to protect me, we laced up and hit the road (42 minutes, which is exactly a 12:00 min/mile pace).

04:02; Moon: 25% in the penumbral shadow. Now, I’m sitting on the stairs outside my apartment, watching as the black shadow of the Earth slowly falls onto the Moon. Wow. The dark side of the Moon is very cold, so does the part of the Moon in the Earth’s shadow get cold? How long does it take to cool down, and how cold does it get?

I’ve got my binoculars (you’d be surprised how well a decent pair works for viewing the Moon) and my camera, and even though my point-and-shoot won’t take any pictures that’ll win prizes, maybe I’ll get something that looks kind of neat. The binoculars help you to see a 3D Moon, instead of the flatness we see with our eyes. Pretty cool!

:( It’s 11a in Giessen, and I just received an email from my boss’s secretary. The studio we were very hopeful about renting is no longer available. Which means I have that icky nervous feeling in my stomach again. I had been feeling great all day, because the studio is perfect for what we were wanting to start out in. Now, the only option is a rented room (which means NO PRIVACY) or a beautiful but expensive apartment with a long-term contract. :(

04:25; Moon: about 40% in the penumbral shadow. Wow. That’s pretty sweet. Unfortunately, I just read that we might not get to see it the best here in the Mid-West. I guess I misunderstood what I read earlier today.

04:28; Moon: 50% shaddowed. (I guess my last estimate must have been a little off.) Awww!!! There is the slightest hint of deep red in the upper right quadrant of the moon now, just barely. If you were just glancing up at the Moon quickly, you might not even notice it. That redness is the beginning of totality. It is much more obvious through the binoculars, and the difference between the partial shadow (which is grayish) and the total shadow (reddish) is also more obvious.

04:35; Moon: about 75% shaddowed. The red still isn’t very obvious to the naked eye. But I sure am having fun sitting out here blogging about it. Except for the mosquitoes nipping at my salty legs. Ick.

It’s starting to look more blood red now. I remember watching only one lunar eclipse before. It was at the Oak Cliff house, and I think Dad must have been on call in the emergency room that night, because Mom and I were going in and out of their room onto their balcony watching it. The Moon and shadow weren’t as crisp as they are now, or at least that’s how I remember it. :P I bet it was pretty much the same.

04:43; Moon: a sliver! I just saw a falling star! And I want to watch, watch, watch and try to notice when the Earth’s shadow completely takes over the Moon. It’s a good thing I can type without looking at the keys.

04:52; Moon: completely in shadow. I think I know now why I don’t remember the shadow being as crisp as it is now. Once it gets really close to being totally behind our shadow, the crispness disappears, and part is in a gray shadow and part in the reddish shadow. Now the Moon in completely reddish. Well, almost completely. There is a little sliver on the lower left quadrant that looks a little white compared to the red, but other than that tiny sliver, it’s red. As I type this, though, the red is becoming blacker. Totality?

04:56; Moon: darker and darker. Man, it must be totality! It just keeps getting darker! I bet it doesn’t take very long for the surface of the Moon to get cold cold in our shadow…

05:02; Moon: upper 10% very black. We are about 30 minutes away from the middle of totality now, and with my bare eyes, it is difficult to make out the top boundary of the Moon.

05:18; Moon: no white or gray, upper right quadrant very dark. I finally feel like I have something new to say, but it still includes the word “dark.” Sorry. :P It is very difficult to find the Moon in binoculars now. Earlier, when part of the moon was still not covered by shadow, the bright sunlight reflecting off of it helped me to find it. Now, there isn’t anything bright to draw my eyes to the Moon. It’s just dark. It’s kind of like there isa black disc inside an orange one now. The black disc is probably about forty percent of the moon, in the upper right quadrant. This is because the Moon isn’t passing directly through the center of the Earth’s shadow, but kind of uner the center of our shadow. ‘m typing now with the laptop monitor mostly closed (just enough room for my hands!), because the brightness of the monitor ruins my eye’s sensitivity to the subtle light on the Moon. Sorry for mistakes, then, because I doubt I’m going to want to proof this before I go to bed. I think now is the first time I can say that there is truly no more white.

5:24; Moon: Mostly blackish, with about 25% reddish. Almost to totality. I was about ready to go to bed, but there are only a few minutes left to total eclips time, and I don’t want to have come so far, only to go to sleep just before “totality.” I’m staying up. But I think that I will cut out after that. I is gettin’ tye-erd.

Totality: pretty frickin’ sweet. Wow.

Blog Changes: Open Blog

Well, with the goal of allowing people to read this more easily, I’ve changed this blog from “Invite Only” to “Anyone is Allowed.” I had to go back and unpublish a few posts, but I’m okay with that. I’m ready to forget those things anyway.

So if you’re reading this for the first time, welcome! I’ll be posting pretty frequently, especially in light of our big, upcoming move.

If you’d like to have easy access to all the blogs of your friends, check into getting an RSS reader. They are free and they “aggregate” all of the blogs you want to read into one place. I use Google Reader (because Google rocks!), but there are a ton out there. If you want help, let me know. “Feed readers,” as they are sometimes called, are an invention that makes eLife easier. :)

Will Miss from America/Will Love about Germany

I think this is going to be an on-going feature here at the RL in DE blog… :)

I Will Miss…
Dr. Pepper!
Free refills. You pay for each glass you drink of soda over there. NO FREEBIES.

I am Looking Forward To…
Taking the train everywhere. I think I’ll love getting on the train or bus, reading a few pages of whichever book I’m into, not having to look for a parking place or pay for parking.
Improving my German! The current bets are that it’ll be perfect in 3 or 6 months. I think those might be a little optimistic, but I appreciate the optimism. :)
Good Soccer on TV. Soccer was the first sport I played, and it’s one of my favorite sports to watch. Even before marrying a German guy.

We’re Moving!

As some of you may know, I had a job interview at Justus-Liebig-Universität in Geißen, Germany on August 7. The job I applied for was a full-time tenured position to teach future English teachers English and how to teach it. They did not offer me that job, but gave it to the other applicant instead.

They did, however, say that I impressed them and that they wanted me to teach for them still. They offered me a two year position teaching English language courses and immediate admission to their PhD program for free! And we accepted! The position starts on October 1st, so we will be moving rather quickly (i.e. stay posted for an email listing all the housewares/furniture/cars we will be selling–everything’s got to go!). I just received an email today and it looks like I’ll be teaching some writing courses, which is right down my alley: I’ve been teaching writing at Missouri State since I started working on my master’s degree.

We are really excited about moving to Germany, but we are definitely very sad to leave all of our friends and family here. Come visit any time!

Want to see Giessen on a map? (It’s just left of the “G” in “Germany.”)