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Mein schmerzliches Herz

Sunday, May 08, 2011


It started with a mug.

Maybe it didn't actually start with the mug, but the mug was the first tangible part. If the mug wasn't the beginning, the pre-mug era was made of only thoughts, dreams, memories and longing.

About this mug. It's a black mug. It has a picture of Karl Marx on it, and it said "Karl-Marx Universitaet Trier." It was a gift from a friend from Uni-Trier that came to visit almost four years ago. He brought me lots of Trier presents, but the mug is the only one I used regularly. I put my tea in it at work. I brought it home to wash on Friday.

Somewhere between my cubicle and the kitchen sink, it broke. That made me sad, but my first thought was probably the first thought of most people under forty and maybe the second or third thought for most people older than that: I'll go online and try to find another one.

I couldn't FIND another one. I found a ton of Karl Marx mugs, mostly ones making fun of our president (note: I'm not actually a big fan of Karl Marx, but he was born in Trier, so he's kind of a big deal around those parts). I didn't WANT one with Barack Obama on it. I wanted a black mug, with Karl Marx's face on it, that said, "Karl-Marx Universitaet Trier." But I couldn't find one.

I was really sad, and I felt really stupid for feeling so sad over a mug, but it wasn't just the mug.

In my search, I saw pictures of Uni-Trier, and Trier. Porta Nigra. Tarforst. Kleeburger Weg. I saw the vineyards. I read about the different Fachbereiche (subject areas) at the Uni. I went on Facebook and told my friend he had to come back and bring me another mug, and I saw HIS mug on his Facebook profile, and by the time I was done, I still didn't have a mug. I had a giant, crushing dose of Heimweh.

Last week, I also went to a luncheon for my German exchange student's program. All the talk about German education hit me a little, too. Then, today, I was watching soccer. Spanish soccer, but it took me back. But not literally, and that's what I want. I want to literally go back.

But I don't know how. I don't know how to navigate finding a job or a life over there. I don't know what my non-German-speaking husband would do there. I don't know what I'd do with my house, or if I could buy a house there. It's something I've mentioned to my husband before, but it's too overwhelming to contemplate. But right now--today, at least--it's kind of all I want.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEATLETOT 5/9/2011 11:58AM

    I'm not German. Sadly.

I'm American, but I studied and lived in Germany for a little bit in 2006, and it was like coming home for the first time. It was weird. Like, okay, I don't want my sisters to think I'm being stupid or saying that I didn't also feel at home at home with our parents and in my life there, but when I was there, it was like everything fit, and I didn't know things could fit that way until I was there.

I'm actually really jealous of you, Hope, because you were able to make a life for yourself outside of your homeland. I spent the morning before work began looking for jobs in Germany, but that is a near impossibility due to the laws they made in 1973 about hiring foreigners. But only a "near" impossibility. Not a total one. So we'll see.

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HOPESINGH 5/9/2011 11:44AM

    Hey, I didn't know you were German! Now I'm even more jealous of you (for being a person living outside of her homeland).
I haven't spent more than one year away from my homeland (unfortunately), but I do know how Heimweh feels. emoticon
How do you feel with the language thing? I mean, speaking a foreign language all day long, even if I'm good at it, feels so artificial and unreal to me. Especially when your language has wonderful words that I've never found in other languages, like "erledigen" (is that just my perversion to love this word?). Or the extremely long Komposita.

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 5/8/2011 11:36PM

    My parents lived in Germany in the late 70's... they were in the US army but lived in "citizen housing" off base and loved it. My brother was even born there. I would love to visit one day! I hope your dreams can come true one day emoticon

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GO-LOEW 5/8/2011 11:30PM

    I didn't realize that you are from Deutschland. My husband and I have spent many wonderful days in Trier and when you were mentioning all of those places, I could picture them in my mind. I think one of my most favorite places on earth is the area between Wasserbillig and Cochem.

I can understand your deep desire to go back there. I love the orderliness of Germany and the German people, and their sparkling clean windows.

My mother-in-law is from GelsenKirchen-Horst and came to this country with her American husband after the war. I love to see my husband in Germany, speaking German. He seems to somehow belong there, although he was raised in this country.

I hope that you can find a way to calm the unrest that you are feeling as you think of these places where you want to be. Perhaps if you dream of it and decided that you really want to go, your mind will help you find a way.


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CARLYG8 5/8/2011 9:34PM

    I'm sorry...I wish I knew what to say to make you feel better, but I don' think words would help right now. Sometimes there just isn't anything anyone can say to ease the "ache", but just know that we are thinking about you, and praying that you find some peace...and another mug (smiles).

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RUTHXG 5/8/2011 5:15PM

    Well, deep desires have to be listened to, even if they don't seem practical. Who knows how this might be fulfilled in the long term? For now, I'd say keep German in your life in various ways.

I maintain the goal "keep Spanish in my life" on my list over at, & I fulfill it by keeping Spanish-language movies in my Netflix mix, making regular time to meet with Colombian friends, chatting online with my friend in Bolivia, listening to Latino music, etc.). I'm thinking pretty seriously of retiring there! Social security will go a lot further there, if things continue more or less as they are.

So coddle your German & keep your heart & eyes open. You just never know!


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Streaking By!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

I'm working with streaks right now. I'm on Day 5 of both of my streaks.

The first streak is staying within my calorie range. It's been all right. Today, I thought I went over by 15 calories, but then it turned out that I had had a half serving of something I put in as one serving, so that was good.

On Cinco de Mayo, even though I didn't originally plan on doing anything, all the talk of Cinco de Mayo made me really cravey for Mexican food. I had a bit over 700 calories left for the day, so I thought, well, I can't hit a Mexican restaurant. I could have done a Chipotle salad, hold the guacamole and sour cream, but I didn't want to spend the money on fast food. It's a bit pricey, you know?

So I went to the store and bought the ingredients for a Mexican feast at home! Ready-to-expire steaks, whole wheat tortillas, taco and fajita seasonings, and so on.

After dinner, I put my food in, and I was within two calories of my limit! Hooray!

The only problem was that one of the purchases was tortilla chips. I should have bought baked, but I skipped the part of the story where my husband had just happened to be at that same grocery store and had already put most of the stuff, including the tortilla chips, in a basket when I joined him (after going to the gym!). So it's day one of the 5% Challenge, and I'm already eating chips. But I'm within my calorie range for the last five days, and that's a good thing.

My second streak has been following the daily challenges from The Knees group. So far, I've flossed, burned 300 calories, done arm exercises, and eaten protein. I love the leader of this group! She comes up with challenges every weekday, and I've noticed in the past that often no one will post on the challenge threads, so she couldn't see if people were doing the challenges or even seeing them! But she's kept on posting them, and now I'm going to make sure I post that I've done them. I've noticed that when one of us posts on it, others do, too, so that's cool. I don't want her to think that we take her for granted. L*I*T*A, we love you!!!

So cover your eyes, folks! I'm streaking by! It ain't so pretty right now, but if I keep streaking, it will look better and better! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENBELLE 5/8/2011 6:09PM

    Great job with the streaking, lady! Keep up the great work- mmmmm your fajitas made me hungry!

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HOPESINGH 5/8/2011 3:07PM

    Way to go! I'm really bad at streaks, and it actually puts me down. But I'm glad it works for you, and that you've been able to do it - it looks like a double challenge.
And as for LITA, well - she's really wonderful. I try to post on the challenge thread when I manage to meet the goal, and always get an encouraging reply emoticon
emoticon emoticon

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BEATLETOT 5/8/2011 9:23AM

    Good morning, Ruth! I think it's a hot spring. I did a Google image search on 'spring wallpaper,' and saw the requisite flowers and sunshine and stuff, and picked this one, even though it was the 'spring' I was going for. It is pretty cool, no!

Happy Mother's Day!!!

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JECKIE 5/8/2011 9:03AM


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SEAWAVE 5/8/2011 5:59AM

    For some reason, streaking has never worked for me. Half the time, I would forget to log in my other goals when I did them. I'm glad it's working for you, though -- whatever helps us reach our goals is great!

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RUTHXG 5/8/2011 12:19AM

    P.S. What is your cool background picture??

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RUTHXG 5/8/2011 12:18AM

    Great job! You actually let us see you streaking, you know--you DESCRIBED the streaks to us. Heehee. Keeping inside your calories--fabulous. That means you are also tracking your food. I need to get back to that.

So happy to be emoticon with you again!

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CASAM1985 5/7/2011 11:56PM

    I am jealous of your Mexican feast! I spent Cinco de Mayo watching the Voice with Kim, and going to be at 10, which was awesome. I love A days where I don't have to plan for the day before! Great job, sister, on your streaks!

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 5/7/2011 11:03PM

    LOL I love streaking but I used to get a little obsessed adn then totally crushed when the streak ended!
Great job making the mexican feast fit within your cals... the chips... those can be tough, but if you can keep your portions in check and fit within your limits, not so bad.
Go Starfish!

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DRAKON9 5/7/2011 10:18PM

    LOL. Keep on streaking!

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CARLYG8 5/7/2011 9:58PM

    emoticon You crack me up! Great job on the "streaking"!

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KIM--POSSIBLE 5/7/2011 9:48PM

    You are doing a great job meeting your goals! Kudos to you for also including treats and special meals with dh!!

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5% Challenge Trigger Food Blog

Thursday, April 28, 2011

List ALL your trigger foods.
1. Pizza emoticon
2. French Fries emoticon
3. Chips
4. Cookies emoticon
5. Mini-Chocolates

Snack food or part of a meal? 1-2 are part of a meal, 3 is both, 4-5 are snacks.

Are they sweet or salty? 1-3 are salty, 4-5 are sweet.

Hot, cold or room temperature? 1-2 are hot, 3-5 are room temperature.

Carbs, comfort foods? I think they're all pretty carby. 1 is also a comfort food. And it is also awesome.

What are the sources of the Triggers Foods?
1. Pizza: Delivery, my freezer, the grocery store deli
2. French Fries: Silver Diner, IHOP, fast food restaurants, Whitlow's
3. Chips: The grocery store, my cupboard, and the bag
4. Cookies: My coworkers, Giant
5. Minis: My boss keeps them out in the reception area and his office!

Describe the most common foods and or situations where you reach for the trigger foods or snacks. I reach for trigger foods usually because I'm craving them. Or I'm craving the feeling of being out and in a restaurant: the comraderie, the atmosphere, the conversation, and the FOOD. I really grab the minis whenever I get the candy bowl within my sights, which is probably anywhere from one to five times a day. This is new. I used to have them off-limits in my head, but once I grabbed one and saw that no one blamed me, judged me or said, "Those are for guests!" it was ALL OVER.

Sometimes I emotionally eat. That's usually chips, and I'm normally at home. I am getting better about knowing I'm doing it. I'll announce out loud, "I am going to go emotionally eat now." But I haven't gone the next step of saying, "Okay, I recognize what I'm doing, so I won't do that."

Are you eating it to feel better? Sure.

Are you rewarding yourself? Sometimes...I mean, that's if we go out. I have a hard time thinking of anything that would make a better reward or celebration than going out to dinner. Lots of the things people suggest don't interest me.

Soothing yourself? Yes.

Are you bored? Frequently.

By getting the food how does it make what you are doing better? No. But I do feel better. I mean, it doesn't solve the problem, but it tickles the pleasure centers in my brain and makes me happy. There's something to the whole comfort food notion, indeed.

What should you be doing at that time? Jeepers, who knows? I don't. I made a list of things that I need to get done that I never think of when I'm bored, but when I look at it, they all look boring, too. I could nap, or go to bed. I suppose I could read. Maybe do some strength training.

Write out your strategy to avoid the Triggers.

1. Pizza: I just can't have it. Fortunately, that is easy. I can just not order it and not buy it. If I crave it, I can put some string cheese on one of those sandwich thins. 10 seconds in the microwave, and it's lovely! Maybe I can buy a little jar of pizza sauce to add to it.

2. French fries: I anticipate one trip to Whitlow's during the Challenge, because I have a Groupon. And they have the best effing French fries in the history of life, so I will eat those. Knowing that I can have those will make it easier to get the house salad at Silver Diner, and at IHOP, I'll get the healthier 2x2x2.

3. Chips: This is a toughie, too, because I'm not sure I can eat chili without corn chips, and I love having chili as a filling, hearty, not-too-many-calories, protein-ful meal. But I'm just going to have to. I used to not need them. I can be that way again.

4. Cookies: Tell my friend not to be "food pusher" (thanks, Sassacaia!). She'll understand. Keep them out of my house! Even though, I can't believe how good they are--and for only 99 cents!

5. Minis: This is probably the hardest of all, not because I like them best--I actually like them least--but because of their AVAILABILITY! I'm going to allow myself one of the Milky Way Midnights per day. If I make that the "rule," instead of "one everytime I drop off a document for signature," then I'll follow it. Because that's what I do. Make rules to follow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

L*I*T*A* 5/1/2011 9:20AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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YOUDONTOWNME 4/28/2011 11:52PM


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KALISWALKER 4/28/2011 9:00PM

    I really enjoyed reading your blog and got some good ideas. I agree why don't I do something else when I am bored? At least go to another room - not the kitchen!

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RUTHXG 4/28/2011 7:42PM

    Sound like good strategies.

And do we have a challenge to blog about trigger foods?? I haven't been getting e-mails. I guess this is from the overall challenge community, from which I don't get e-mails (I got tired of the duplicates).

Happy eating of good food! emoticon

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Time to Reflect

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Knees Wednesday challenge is to write a blog. So I'm writing a blog.

The questions to answer for the blog were:
How has your year been so far?
Have you made progress in the areas you wanted to address?

To answer those questions, my year has been all right. I've really enjoyed the 5% challenges, I'm having fun, and though I'm not seeing much progress in my weight, I'm learning some things. I mean, this weight isn't a weight I haven't seen frequently over the last several years. I'd be sooo jazzed if I saw 134, which is only 3 pounds away. God, it takes so much to lose a pound at 4'10".

Have I made progress? Not really, from the weight perspective. But I've got a better workout routine that I like doing, and I'm doing cool things for me, like my voice lessons. So that's all good.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEATLETOT 4/20/2011 7:02PM

    TWO sisters! My other sister is joining for this challenge! But sorry, folks, I don't have any more sisters to recruit! I'm fresh out!

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RUTHXG 4/20/2011 6:52PM

    Having a new workout routine that you LIKE is pretty huge. That's going to really help you get those three pounds off.

And you know how I feel about your voice lessons! emoticon emoticon

And another achievement you forgot to list: getting your sister active on SP & the 5% team!

I am very glad you're here & working on your life. emoticon

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 4/20/2011 6:50PM

    emoticon Glad you can see progress in other realms of your life :)

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BUGSMOM211 4/20/2011 6:39PM

    Keep on Keeping On...

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Happiness Is Closure

Saturday, April 09, 2011

I think a recurring theme in my blogs has been how depressed I get on weekends. It happened again today. I have such a routine on weekends that it seems to me that feeling depressed is part of that routine! So I read the paper and clipped some coupons. I got up during commercials for "It's Me or the Dog!" and washed some dishes. I eyed the pile of mail on the kitchen table and the hall table and fantasized about picking up the coffee table, too. When there was nothing left on TV, I had the feeling that I should do something productive, but didn't have it in me to pick something and execute it. So I took a shower and lied down with the little dog, who, light and fancy-free, fell asleep immediately, while I looked on jealously.

I tried to figure out what makes me so DOWN on weekends. I mean, they are WEEKENDS! Like billions of other people, I spend the whole week waiting for them. Then, when they come, I can't wait for Monday. How dissatisfying, to want to be at work when I'm at home, and at home when I'm at work.

Then, I started thinking about closure. I'm reading this book, "Watercooler Wisdom," and it talks about getting closure on tasks. The argument is that a lot of the stress in our lives is caused by things that would take very little to complete, but we just don't. So, for example, you should make sure that your voicemail is checked before you go home on Friday, or it will gnaw at you over the weekend. Make sense?

And I SUCK at getting closure.

I kind of do it on purpose. I make rules for things, because I feel that the less control I have over what I do, the better. Which seems kind of silly, but let me explain. Say I am going to go to the gym. I might make a rule that says how long I have to stay...if there are two slow songs on my iPod in a row, I can go home, for example. Or until I finish my book. Or until I burn x number of calories. This keeps me at the gym longer than if I DECIDE, "10 minutes" or whatever. It's better for me to not have control, to not have to decide.

But I do it in other realms, too. Like, I get up to do the dishes just on commercials. I read the paper in the order it falls out of the newspaper bag. I clip coupons only as long as there's something on TV. And this habit has the capacity to leave a lot of things undone.

By then, Sammy was snoring, so I couldn't wake him up, but I promised myself when we got out of bed, I was going to get closure on the things I was working on when I lied down. I fell asleep and had two dreams, both of which involved getting closure and Sammy. I don't remember the shorter one, but the first one was that I had a calendar of all his health problems, and we went through them one-by-one and fixed them. When the calendar had been completely flipped-through, we were done. It felt good.

Then, I woke up and washed the dishes, and finished the coupons. That felt good, too. I read the mail. I didn't clean up like I should, but that's okay. In the book, it doesn't say you have to get everything done, but to finish what you started.

To get closure.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KJNLDE 4/12/2011 12:19PM

    This is SO true! I'm the same way. Weekends are great... but there is so much to do, that I feel I shouldn't do it and just take a break. But then I feel guilty about not getting anything done. The garden needs weeding, the deck needs a new coat, multiple things need to get fixed... but who wants to do work on the weekends? I hear you girl!

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JMCADE 4/11/2011 7:21PM

    I like the way you talked yourself through your issue. The question is now that you have confirmed the issue and know that you can get 'closure' will you continue to do it. Why not set a goal to get closure on what you start on Saturday and then reset that same goal for Sunday. maybe it will help you get moving on the weekend.

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JOHNTJ1 4/11/2011 1:52PM

    You are an amazingly insightful writer and I was sorta spell bound as I read your blog. Very good and BTW I often have the same feelings on weekends. It's as if I am marking time until Monday which arrives and then I find myself anticpating the weekend again.

There is a great line in a movie where a character sticks his head in an waiting room door and asks the people waiting for the doctor, "What if this is as good as it gets?'

I wonder

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 4/11/2011 12:33PM

    Hmmm... this blog is very interesting to me. I find myself being depressed on Sundays at times - mostly because I'm dreading the upcoming week and feeling like I should have gotten more accomplished during the weekend. The closure on tasks is really something I struggle with, too.


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MEL_UNRAU 4/10/2011 7:58AM

    Good for you. Its great when we figure out what we need, and the DO IT!!!!


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SBATES63 4/10/2011 7:08AM

    Good for you for making a start. I used to be depressed on weekends too, but I forced myself to get back into life. Bit by bit I did. And found out that a Sunday afternoon nap is a good thing.

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RUTHXG 4/10/2011 1:05AM

    Good self-analysis here! Way to figure out your pattern & when it's not working for you.

I remember how I used to get depressed on weekends too. For me it was because of loneliness mostly. I think my longings had more space to emerge then, when I wasn't obligatorily busy.


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