Welcome to my little world! My name is Donna and I'm the mother of one very spoiled kitty named Clarice. I was a banker for over 20 years but now I'm a SAHM and loving every minute of it. I'm a super, huge Bon Jovi fan and an avid cross stitcher. I love decorating my home with flea market finds, primitive style items and vintage items. My hubby says if the last three generations threw it out as trash it'll end up in our house as a decoration.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Slow, Lazy Sundays from Abroad

Mark and I started a couple of years ago having Silent Sundays about once a month or so.  On SS days we didn't turn on the tv, ipod or do anything to make noise and we just recharged ourselves to get ready to face the week ahead.  I loved those days when I could read, stitch or whatever and he would be sitting beside me reading or surfing the web.  It was just a peaceful time listening to the sounds of the house, kids playing outside, birds chirping, Clarice snoring or whatever.  Now that we have moved to Germany, it is always silent sundays because no stores including grocery stores are open, no vacuum, laundry or dishwasher is allowed to be run per our rental contract and there is absolutely nothing done that might make noise and disturb your neighbors.  I love it!  I just sit here now still wearing my flannel sock monkey jammies, watching Clarice sleep in the sun and dreaming about my next stitching project.  The first few weeks we lived here I cursed the fact that stores weren't open because there was never enough time for us to get things done with Mark working and me not having a car.  But now that the basics are done, I can sit back and relax wishing everyone could experience this "world stopping for a moment" time.   Come on over for a visit so I can share it with you.

Mark left yesterday for home on business and I must admit that I really did want to go with him but the timing just wasn't right.  We are finally settling into our apartment but Clarice is experiencing some major separation anxiety when Mark leaves so I couldn't leave her too.  She actually started this before our move when he was traveling a lot and she would carry her stuffed kitcat around the house to comfort herself.  It's really cute but at the same time distressing because you know she's upset when she does it.  Here is an older picture that Mark took while he was packing one day....she gave him her lovey to take with him so how sweet is that?
And people don't think animals are smart!
And now to share with you a picture my momma sent me yesterday of Hubert and her relaxing in the afternoon.  He's healing but will require another surgery to repair his back leg in a few weeks.  He's just a big loving guy and now he's a house cat!  The grandkids call my momma Ninny so this is Ninny and her grandcat doing what they both love to do best.  Yes, she has horrible allergies to cats but she's taking medicine to help that and she just adores this grumpy old guy.  Daddy is taking a bit longer to warm up but that's just because he doesn't like animals in the house period!!!!!  Never has and never will but his grandcats are determined to win him over.  Gizmo is coming home at night to eat and my daddy waits up every night to make sure he sees him before he goes to bed.  This winter I'm sure Gizzy will hang around more but right now his world is still topsy turvy so he's just found him a safe place to stay during the day but he knows where the food source is so that's good. 
Well I'm off to figure out what I'm going to start stitching next because I finished Seaside Retreat from the Blackbird Designs Stitchers Retreat book this morning.  It was an enjoyable stitch that shouldn't have taken me 8 weeks to finish but hey, I did have a good excuse.   I started it on the plane trip over and until this weekend hadn't stitched more than a couple of rows in a day.  I'm only 7 projects behind now on my challenge for 2012 with the Blackbird Stitchers group.  Why did I ever agree to stitching 12 projects in one year?  I used to only finish about 1 or maybe 2 a year until I became obsessed with all things blackbird and got brave enough to start stitching on linen.  BTW, I love it and wish I had been brave enough to try it sooner. I made some changes in the pattern-imagine that-but I'm really happy with how it turned out.  I put the "PP" there so remind us of our great Maine vacation of 2010 to Popple Point which belongs to our friend's Rich and Karen Stover.  Look back on the blog for September 2010 to see pictures of that amazing vacation.
I hope you find some time today to just turn off the outside world and enjoy a wonderful fall day!

Friday, September 14, 2012


Doesn't mean as much to me now as it did just 4 months ago but it still means another week has ended without tv...again!!!!! I swear if we don't get everything sorted out soon, I'm going to be reduced to one of those "guys" that stands around in the electronic stores watching tv. First, the signal was too weak so we had to wait on a guy to run new wiring, then the actual connectors weren't large enough to split the signal to all the apartments, then it was the TV was bad so we dragged it back to the store to exchange (and it worked fine so no exchange) then finally the signal is too strong for internal tv tuner so we bought an external one. Now the guy is back and he's just not sure what to do. OMG, it'll be another month at this rate before we have tv. It's not that I'll even be able to understand most channels but at least it would be some noise in the background. Since there is no noise, the voices in my head are much louder (lol) Ok so now to what I have learned this week boys and girls. I have learned that Mark can hold his temper even when the electronic guys act like he's an idiot which we all know is the farthest thing from the truth when it comes to anything electronic. They really tested his self control that night.

  I also learned that when you are paying in cash for a meal that you must tell the waitress how much money you want back not leave the tip on the table. I was treated very rudely after I handed her a $50 for a $45 meal and didn't tell her that I didn't want any money back. Tipping is not done here unless you are in a very nice place and it's never done by leaving cash on the table!!!!! How was I to know that? So now I consider myself schooled on that subject and won't be handing out tips any longer to anyone! LOL!

 The last thing I learned this week is that I can and have now walked the 3 miles one way to the "WalMart" type store. Didn't really set out planning to do that but I shopped the local stores for the above referenced tuner and no one carried it. Then I realized I was about half way to the store so I might as well just go there because I knew they had some. It was a pleasant, crisp fall day so I enjoyed my walk over even though I had to cross the on and off ramps to the autobahn twice but coming home was another story. I was still feeling very self-sufficient and kinda smug that Mark would be shocked to know I did this until the rain started. It sprinkled and I thought ok this is no biggie just walk alittle faster and that continued for about the first 2 miles then the bottom fell out. I was soaked all the way up to my knees, my hair was dripping water and fogging up my glasses, my shoes squished with every step but there was nothing I could do except press on. It was quite a comical sight I'm sure because I had not taken a jacket or an umbrella and let's face it, I'm a larger gal so I didn't look like a drowned rat more like a drowned opossum by the time I got home. But hey, live and learn so the next time I'll drop an umbrella into my shopping bag before I leave the house.

Also we finally met one of the couples that live in our building. They stopped by Wednesday evening with a beautiful orchid. I know nothing about taking care of one but learning on line. They are a young couple, have lived here 4 years, she's a middle/high school teacher and he's an engineer. They stayed about an hour and a half while we sipped wine Mark brought back from France and really had a nice visit. They speak english fluently, have visited the US and are really a nice couple. They explained a lot of the workings of trash services (yes all the cardboard is still in the guestroom the neighbors, how the laundry drying room schedule was worked out, where to eat and where not to eat, plus just a lot of great info on things to do and see. I think we'll have them over again even if they are at least 15 years younger than us. He and Mark started speaking "engineer language" and both of us girls just looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders then started laughing. Geek Talk applies in all cultures and needs no translation!

Well the cable guy wants to talk to me so keep your fingers crossed that it means I finally have tv!!!!! Have a great weekend and enjoy the fall weather no matter where you live.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What's in a name?

To quote Juliet
"What's in a name, that which we call a rose
 By any other name would smell as sweet"

and btw, that is one of my favorite Shakespeare books.  Heck one of my favorite books of all times!  I studied Shakespeare in HS and that was my favorite class ever.  I even remember the teacher some 30 plus years later because she made the works come alive!

Oh sorry, I got sidetracked by the reason for this post.  Karen over at My Colonial Home is celebrating her 4 year blogging anniversary and also her 49th wedding anniversary with a special giveaway as so many wonderful bloggers do.  I have to say the blogging community is the most caring, giving group of people that I have ever encountered.  I have never met so many men and women who are so encouraging, helpful and quick to offer a shoulder to cry on or send up prayers to lift you up if needed.  Karen's blog was one of my first discoveries and I have followed her since then.   I remember people talking about blogging and I thought what a bunch of hooie that is because why would anyone want to know about what you are doing in your every day life but then I read a couple and was hooked.  I "lurked" for a long time before I actually signed up and started following people.  Now I can happily say that I not only love reading about everyone's daily life but I enjoy sharing mine with everyone.  I started in January 2010 right before we made our trip to China and looking back over the last few years, I was amazed to see how much our lives have changed.  There was a long, long spell where I didn't blog because life just overwhelmed me and I fell into a deep depression.  When I look at all those empty months and remember the pain I was going thru, it makes me very happy to be where I am today! Life is a journey and baby, I'm on the fast train it seems like all the time.  My momma told me as a kid that life flies by so quit wishing your life away but what did I know then?  Nothing because as most advice my momma gave me, I see the wisdom in it now.

Anyhoo, Karen wanted to know where our blogging names came from so I'm pleased to tell that story.  I have been best friends with Dana and Kathie since we all met way back in junior high which was over 30 years ago now.  We have always been there for each other thru marriages, divorces, kids, losing loved ones, kids growing up, ect.....Time and Distance haven't changed our friendship!!!!!  We started a tradition about 16 or 17 years ago that we would make time out of our lives for a Girl's Weekend atleast once a year and we have continued that tradition even though I missed the last 2 years...see above about depression and life....On the occasion of one of our trips, we decided that we needed a "group name" and Kathie suggested Dirty Martini Queens since that was our drink of choice when we were all together and it just fit!!!!!  We celebrate our  queenship with wearing crowns every chance we get, exchanging martini and queen type items and just generally being us!  We are the life at every party, the crazy gals dancing on the tabletops or bars if given a chance and the ones that laugh the most and loudest no matter where we are.  We are truly are best friends in the truest sense of the word.  If I got a call in the dead of the night, I'd be right there by thier side to semi quote Bon Jovi lyrics (imagine that).  These are the gals that watched me grow up to become the woman I am today and they still love me anyway.  Now I'm getting all misty eyed because I miss my DMQ's!!!!

So now you guys all know the story behind Dirty Martini Queen's Musings and have an insight to a my friends who are amazing women!  Be sure to check out Karen's blog http://mycolonialhome.blogspot.de
because she posts some amazing pictures of her home and crafty ideas plus amazing things she creates to sell. Her work is inspiring

Monday, September 10, 2012

Another day, another dollar or euro

Let's see if I can bring y'all up to date since last week.  Hubert was attacked by Ninny's neighbor's pit bull that managed to get thru the privacy fence but he's healing under Ninny's loving touch.  Gizmo has disappeared and not been seen since the dog attack which is troubling to us all but he's very high strung so he's probably sneaking in at night when all is quiet.  Mark loved his desk that I built and hung the light fixture so that was a win/win for us both.  I thought he would but never can be too sure since all things chippy, rusty and crusty don't always appear to be the treasures I think they are to him.  He's off to France until Wednesday then here for a couple of days then off to Atlanta on Saturday.  Wish I was going with him but just not feasible right now.  I have to watch my pennies or euro cents so I can afford that month long trip home for the holidays that we are planning. 

I have been walking Clarice almost daily in the park and we even climbed a tree last week. 
and did a little dirt rolling
No longer a black kitty now just a dusty grey kitty
But all in all a great afternoon just strolling thru the park, getting pets from all the old people, laughs from the younger set but those are really directed more at me, The Crazy Cat Lady than at her.
I finally learned how to watch movies on the computer so after Mark left yesterday I snuggled down for some chick flicks, stitching and nutrious dinner of candy.  Hey a girl's gotta have a vice and right now mine is peanut M&M german style.  Trust me these will melt in your hands  if you hold on to them too long so I never do that just keep popping 'em in my mouth quickly. 
I cleaned house today and it took me all of 3 hours which included mopping all the floors and wiping down the baseboards.  Gee keeping the windows open 24/7 here really causes a lot of dustbunnies and that's not even talking about the dust that Clarice drags back in after her dirt rolling adventures.  This is the part that I hate about not having carpet because you see all the dustbunnies under the furniture and that just will never do!  I admit that I am a neatfreak to a certain point but really walking into the bedroom and seeing those bunnies under the bed sent me over the edge....yucky! So a good scrubbing today, then a great dinner that I fixed for myself and finally a nice bath will just about finish my day off perfectly.  Hope y'all have a great Monday!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Blunders and Bloopers from afar

I'm not an international guru or anything but I can certainly say this has been quite an experience for a simple, little country mouse like me.  I have learned a few words in German but not enough to really make sense and we still have no TV so it's not like I can pick up the accent stuff from that....but no TV after 6 weeks is driving me bonkers...ok I got sidetracked.  My "Pig Latin" version of German isn't pretty but I can usually make what I'm trying to say understood in a round about sort of way.  Well add in American Slang and Southern Accent then just chuckle away because you feel very sorry for the poor German people in dealing with me.  I got the letter concerning my German Integration Classes and it's 600 hours long.  OMG and just the first orientation session is 60 lesson hours long!  It also states and I quote "If you have no income of your own, the person who is obliged to pay for your maintenance must pay your contribution to the costs" which frankly I think is just plumb knee slapping funny. 

You think you know things have progressed since the 1950's with all the pretty, little ladies not having to worry their pretty little heads about anything except housework.  Well not so over hear ladies!  They are very much stuck in the 50's and a true example was when the cable guys came last week to get us set up for tv.  The guy actually tried, decided the signal wasn't strong enough so they would need to run new wiring and they'd call My Man to set that up.  Wait a doggone minute, what is this Call My Man crap!!!!  Am I not an intelligent, capable person that can schedule appointments and understand what the hell you are saying?  I was hopping mad and they still haven't called back to reschedule that appointment yet.  I think maybe, just maybe they are hoping the crazy american lady will disappear or at least go back across the pond.

Now onto the enjoying part of our blunders:  Since we can't read German menus yet it's an adventure whenever we go out to eat.  Just last week we went to an Italian place and decided that we'd have the "specials of the evening".  Mine was a lemon almost picciata pasta and Mark's was a deep tasting mushroom pasta or so we thought....after about the 6th or 7th bite, he realized it was liver!  Yucky so he ate part of mine instead.  We have discovered what is really the only form of fast food here in this area of Germany and it's called a Doner which is really a turkish food like a gyro.  There is a doner place about every block and I have really enjoyed eating at all of them to find just the perfect one.

Grocery shopping is a different beast over here as one would imagine.  I'm learning not to stockpile food and shop for just a couple of days at a time but dang that's harder than I thought it would be. I did a huge, really huge first shopping trip last week and I was at the store for almost 3 hours.  I was exhausted and could barely push the cart because they've all got those crazy wheels that roll all directions so I was struggling....all of a sudden I realize that I'm singing along to the muzak to Keep The Faith so once again my Bon Jovi men gave me the strength to carry on.  Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.  It was simply the struggling to understand what packages of food are like instant mashed potatoes or cream of mushroom soup or anything else for that matter.  What people might not know about us is that we love us some pancakes( or PamBakes as Rachel used to call them) every weekend and Mark makes the best ones ever.  I brought a lot of pancake mix but didn't bring syrup because I thought surely they'd have it here....well actually no they don't....they have a very expensive Canadian maple syrup which we didn't like so I was thrilled to discover an International Section in the grocery store.  Guess what I found in the American section?  Griffins (right there from Oklahoma) Pancake syrup so all is good again in our little world.  I also found Poptarts, Campbells Cream of Tomato Soup, Oreos and other misc junk foods.  I actually stood there cradling the syrup while trying to decide if $4.50 Euros is too much to pay for Poptarts and BTW, it is and I left them at the store. I'm on a strict budget of $28 Euros per day for expenses and expensive junk food ain't in that budget.

I'm also minding my budget by ironing Mark's shirts at home.  Well I have never been a person that enjoys ironing and just ask my brother Jeff for proof.  When we were teenagers and I was forced by the slave driver AKA Mother to iron, I'd gripe and complain until she'd finally just do it herself.  Well one Saturday I was being punished for something that I don't even remember now but probably had to do with breaking curfew or having a smart mouth; anyway I was ironing away and Jeff was laying on the couch making fun of me.  He kept kicking the ironing board and being...well just Jeff so after I told him several times to leave me alone and he ignored my requests; I picked up his foot and stuck the hot iron to the bottom of it.  OMG, did I ever get beat for that but hey he didn't do it again!  And I have hated ironing ever since so this is a huge thing that I'm going to iron Mark's shirts.  I took 2 of his suits and 4 pairs of dress pants to the cleaners on Monday and that bill was $52 Euros which you had to pay up front.  OMG, I just about passed out from sticker shock so I can't imagine what it would cost us to have his shirts laundered.

Well that's all for now but stay tuned 'cause I've set US and German Relations back a few years with all my mistakes.  I'm off now to cook some fresh green beans, new potatoes and Wiener Schnitzel which is just another name for fried porkchops...yummo!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What isn't she gonna re-purpose you ask

While the Mr. Cat is away in Switzerland for meetings, Clarice and I have been playing a lot.  Mark took the train yesterday for Switzerland and was so very kind enough to leave me the car while he is gone.  I needed to do "something" for him and decided finally getting his home office in order was just that something!!!!  Poor guy has been using a cardboard box box (and not even a large one at that) for a desk and sitting in the floor so it was time to get that guy fixed up.  So I went shopping at a couple of the local furniture stores looking at desks and I must say that I was underwhelmed with the selections. He doesn't need much just a work space that he can call his own and oh yea, an overhead light fixture.  We have the room off the bedroom that I had originally thought I'd make into a dining room but let's face it, I ain't gonna be giving any dinner parties while we are here likely.  We have a small table in the kitchen so did we really "need" a dining room.....no!  So after being utterly discouraged with the whole desk selection I came back to the apartment to ponder what I was going to do.  Then a lightbulb moment happened and I thought what if I got some cool white cubes from Ikea to use as a base....then added an old door that could be his desktop or a dining room table if ever needed and I was off and running.  Ok maybe I was off and driving to Ikea but I got the cubes, desk chair, light and other must have office organizational items.  I was up for an all niter dragging this stuff into the apartment and getting is assembled which is huge for me because Mark always does that part for me but I got it done this morning.  I finally discovered that if you don't have the upper body strength to pull and hold something in place while you screw it together that if you turn it and park your fat ass on it that will work to hold it in place.  Don't laugh because it really works.  Then I headed to the lighting store for a chandelier type fixture and to the antik store to find a suitable door.  I know crazy huh?  I did all that work without actually having a door that I could use but hey, it turned out fine.  Have I mentioned that I love this store?  The lady was so excited to see me and after several prices being thrown out there, we finally agreed on one and then I realized that I didn't have enough cash with me.  OMG!!!!!!  She was so wonderful and just told me to bring her the $25 on my next trip.  How great is that lady!!!!!  Then she helped me very, very carefully wedge this huge door into the back of the rental station wagon car.  Don't tell Mark because he will stroke out but it worked out perfectly.  I just had to drive slower so no autobahn for me and I had to move my seats up as close as I could get them to the dash but it worked out fine.  Until I get home and realize that I now have to carry this huge door upstairs by myself.  Ok here's the really crazy part, I did it!  I'm already hurting because I got thrown off balance and stumbled back down the first set of stairs.  Thank goodness there is a pony wall there or I'd have really hurt myself.  I'm just stiff and sore right now but I'm sure I'll have some dandy bruises in the morning.  Oh well, we all must suffer for our art. so now let me show you what I did:
Anyone need a dental cleaning? Oops guess I should have studied the instructions more
That's better and if you look closely you can see his existing desk back behind there with the telephone sitting on it
Clarice approved
And This
Plus This
Make This!!!!!
I decided to leave the hardware on the door because it's just too prim perfect.
Well I'm off now my friends to find me some aspirin and crawl into a warmish bathtub to soak my poor tired old bones.  Mark comes home tomorrow and I think he'll be pleasantly surprised.  The only thing I did not get completed in my makeover was hanging the light fixture because I don't do electrical work.  Long story but getting shocked and knocked off my step stool were enough to show me that I lacked the needed skills to ever wire anything.  Mark thinks it's so freaking funny because I cringe everytime I screw in a new lightbulb even so he will have to hang his own light in the office but that's it.  I'm so proud that I thunk up the idea and everything fell into place just as I had envisioned.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saturday Evening Delight

I finally finished Old Crow by LaDa and couldn't decide if I wanted to frame it or finally step outside my comfort zone and try something new.  Everyone is always posting these wonderful ways to display their needlework so I just leaped off the edge and tried something different.  I had brought this quited table square from home in muted yellows and green and it sets off the Old Crow perfectly.  I just tacked it on, added some old buttons and hung it on the wall.  I love it and that quilt square almost covers the ugly fuse box in the entry way so it was a double win for me!

Oh the fun I've had the last couple of days and the adventures I've tackled.  I mentioned in my last post that I went shopping again and it was a good day so let me show what I got:
Look at this sweet, well loved kitty and she's an older Steiff with no button. Best of all I paid $5E for her. 
Got a new sidetable for the living room because Mark decided the stool was too small
Some Yellow ware for the kitchen
Grain sifters hung in kitchen.  I'm looking for a very small clock to nestle in the larger one
An old sewing box just full of smalls
Mirror for entryway but now I need to grubby up some tapers for the sconces
Coffee Table-not as much prim as just too cool.  Mark really likes it a lot
And Clarice does too
Now for the best story ever!!!!!  Today Mark decided that we needed to go to the media store to get him a computer monitor for work.  I really didn't want to go but did because he's done a lot that he didn't want to do for me over the years, I went along.  Oh man, I'm glad he wanted to go because I got a curbside freebie!  It's exactly what I was thinking about buying for the entry way but just hadn't gotten around to it yet.  We headed towards the shopping area when I spot this pile of misc stuff sitting on the curb.  I immediately focus on the cabinet and I'm telling Mark what a great looking item it is and that I've been reading online about people putting items they no longer want or need on the curb in hopes that someone will pick it up. He just looks at me and says "Let me guess you want to circle the block and check it out"....well duh!!!!  It was a huge block and not as easily done as I'd first thought but it was still sitting there when we got around.  I had my seat belt off before the car even came to a complete stop and was hopping out the door while he's trying to get it in park. I could see right away that it was an old pine piece and very solid.  Mark gets out of the car and asks if it was worth stopping for.  Of course it was but now we had a real issue.....would it fit in the back of the car and was it really a curbside freebie?  I pulled out my handy keyring tape measure and it's 41 1/2 inches across which Mark states firmly will not fit in the back of the car.  I run around to the back, flip that hatchback up and say "It's 42 1/2 inches wide back here" so then he starts the "what if someone just left it for a minute and we're stealing it" which I do admit that thought had occurred to me as well.  Then this guy walks out of the building right there so we're thinking ok it belongs to him.  So Mark asks him what's going on with this cabinet and the guy said it's been sitting here a couple of days so take it.  I immediately started doing the happy dance while Mark figured out how exactly to get it in the car.  I didn't care if I had to ride on the roof but that cabinet was coming home with me. We wrestled it into the car and up 2 flights of steps to make it's new home in the entrance way.  I love it and all it cost me was $1.18E for some sandpaper and beeswax polish.  I think it's a beauty and the price was amazing!  I cleaned it up, quickly sanded the top because it had white wax build up on it, quick polish with beeswax and I was ready to decorate. What do you think?
And here she is afterward: