time for a trim

I’ve held out admirably, in my humble opinion, but last night after dinner at Exil, I noticed a hair salon (hard to find a straight-up barber around here — even without the four-part harmony) offering walk-in men’s haircuts for €9,50 on Tuesdays.

I’ll report back later.

For now, here are some “BEFORE” shots I took this morning using the tripod I bought a couple weeks ago.

(Beef + Broccoli) × 2 ≠ Chinese

Being awake at 6:15 in the morning on a Saturday(!) yields weird thoughts.

I just realized I had beef and broccoli twice on Thursday. Once at lunch in the cantine at work, with some kind of balsamic sauce and a big, heavy Knödel and then that same evening again at home with Sarah and Matthias over for dinner. She used our crockpot to slow-cook a Tafelspitz (closest thing we can find to a brisket) for like 7 hours in a mixture of Gates and water. It was so easy to shred apart after cooking that long. And then we ate it on big ol’ American style hamburger buns (you can tell they’re authentic because of the red, white, and blue packaging) with more barbecue sauce — the aforementioned Gates and a new variety: Famous Dave’s. Special thanks to Susie for restocking us in the sauce and Tex-Mex departments.

Unpleasant transit passenger processing? Hostages taken and/or killed? Yeah, that’s us!

Tell me about it. I know you will.

I posted earlier today about a lovely evening we had yesterday with our current and former housemates. Upon reflection later today however, a couple of points in the conversation have raised my dander. Two different people we met for the very first time last night learned we are Americans and immediately commented on international political topics.

Situation number one:

Oh, you’re from America? That’s nice. I was just in the U.S. for the first time earlier this year. Can you believe I had to go through immigration and reclaim my luggage and re-check in to my flight to continue on my itinerary to Panama? It was a major pain!

Situation number two:

Do I detect a bit of an accent? American perhaps? Yes, I thought so. You know they killed those German hostages in Afghanistan. It’s been confirmed.

For reference, Mr. #2 was talking about this story. I had only a vague recollection of the issue; I’m not sure how well informed I am compared to other Americans living overseas. Has this story made news in the USA at all?

Fortunately after the awkwardness that initially followed both situations, I didn’t feel attacked or otherwise singled out, and the rest of the evening was quite enjoyable (to give you an idea, I slept in until almost 10 a.m., and I’m always out of bed by 7:30 — even on Sundays!). I just wish that when we identify our nationality, the first association people make would change from war and terrorism and President Bush and energy consumption to something

  • I’d rather talk about, and
  • that doesn’t make me feel like I’m supposed to offer an explanation or apology.

Sometimes I want to turn around and ask them if they knew anyone who’d ever been trapped aboard a hijacked plane or right in the middle of enjoying a nice morning cup of coffee (admittedly, the coffee’s better here) when one of said planes makes an unscheduled stop. Or if they could imagine what it’s like to represent a country whose leader was not their choice and whose actions had a deep and lasting impact on their national reputation. How about it, deutsche Freunde? Wouldn’t that be a bitter pill to swallow?

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Basic chili powder/tomato based enchilada sauce. I make a half recipe, which is still a little more than I need for one 9×13 pan of enchiladas (12-16). If you have freezer space, go ahead and make a whole batch.

4 T butter
1/2 c chili powder
1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp oregano
5 c chicken or vegetable broth
1 can (400 g) tomato sauce

In a large, deep saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Combine all dry ingredients, stir well and add gradually to melted butter. Stir frequently until mixture is crumbly. Add chicken broth a little at a time and stir constantly, until all broth is added and there are no lumps. Keep stirring, add tomato sauce and bring to a gentle boil or until sauce is slightly thickened.

Hausfest

Yesterday we got to meet (most of) our neighbors for the first time. After having lived here for 3+ years, that sounds weird, doesn’t it?

We still don’t know who organized it, but we are glad they did. Over the past two weeks, a notice has hung on the wall in our building’s entry way encouraging people to commit to attending and bringing a dish to pass. We brought home-made salsa and chips (OK, the chips were from Kaufland) and Sarah’s ever-famouser enchiladas.

There was way too much food there in general, but it was all good. We got a good turnout and despite sitting out in the Hof next to the composters, it didn’t stink. The only bummer was the rain that rolled in late, but even that was surmountable — we just moved upstairs to Hausmeister Wolfgang and Trini’s kitchen.

It was a very nice evening.

night of the baronette claxophone

dinner at a Greek restaurant still there, finishing off the drinks facing west facing east

Took these this evening from Stadt am Hof in the closing hours of this weekend’s jazzfest. Mostly I was trying to see if I could do night scenes properly with this camera. I took them all either with the camera resting on our sidewalk dinner table or from the rail of the bridge. I think if I cough up another €30 or so and buy a tripod (Zacharias is showing two models at that price in their windows) I’ll be in good shape, equipment-wise for our cruise this fall. I am also interested to compare photos taken with the camera’s “night scene” automatic settings with my own tweakings of ISO equivalency, shutterspeed, white balance, etc.

That’s all well and good, you might say, but what the heck does “baronette claxophone” mean? Wish I knew. Like so many phrases which escape my mouth without my permission, this one might have been influenced by any or all of the following factors:

  • It’s been awfully hot here this weekend.
  • I was really hungry this evening.
  • The beer really hit the spot.
  • Up the road a bit from where we were sitting, we heard some klezmer-esque music being performed out in the street.

chess fest y el fin de semana de los pantalones blancos

Every summer Regensburg is home to countless festivals. This is not news. I imagine someone somewhere — probably an American and his native colleagues — is having this discussion.

Random Coworker, Neigbor, Etc.: “Are you going to the chess fest?”
Ami: “Mmm, probably not.”
RCNE: “Oh, that’s too bad. It will be hard to avoid; it’s happening all over town.”
Ami: “Wow, that’s some commitment. My great-grandfather tried to teach me to play once, but I quickly lost interest.”
RCNE: “But you can still appreciate it just by listening to it!”
Ami (thinking): Holy cow, I’d rather watch golf on TV than listen to that!
RCNE, reading eyebrows raised in alarm: “Ja, I never miss it. Especially the sax soloists — they’re my favorite.”

And with a nearly audible click, the light bulb goes on.

I freely admit it; the above exchange never happened to me personally. But I have had countless similar exchanges, even ones in German, that get derailed by pronunciation. I’m pleased to say it’s *usually* not mine at fault.

While on the way to breakfast at Kaminski today with Tommy and Natasha and Matthias with Sarah, I noticed a huge upsurge in white pants. So I guess summer’s here. I decided to snap some of them. All of these were taken while seated at Kaminski observing the passers-by.

weiÃ?e Hose und Pulli les pantalons blancs pantaloni bianchi white dress pantalones blancos

Chicken & Bowties

Over the past couple of years, about one out of every five times I’ve called my mom, she’s making chicken & bowties for dinner. I finally asked her this weekend for the recipe. We gave it a whirl last night and now I understand why she makes it so frequently. Thanks, Mom!

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
2 T olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 T sun-dried tomato pesto
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
8 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 c white or rosé wine
1/2 lb farfalle, cooked

Heat olive oil to medium high in large deep skillet. Add chicken and cook for 3-5 minutes or until just golden. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Add broccoli and cook for 5 minutes more.

Combine salt, pepper, pesto, basil, red pepper flakes and tomatoes in a small bowl. Add mixture to chicken and broccoli and stir until well distributed. Add liquids, bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add cooked pasta and stir well.

Nice day for a drive and brunch

tanking up Donau Durchbruch Kloster

Since we still had a car leftover from last night’s jaunt up to Hirschau to help Jentry and Markus celebrate their wedding, we decided to take advantage of it and the lovely weather this weekend — lots of sun, but not too hot — to visit Weltenburg for an early lunch.

Food: fine; standard tourist fare
Beer: World-Class

Knowing that you’re driving on after walking around a bit and therefore limited to one and only one beer makes you enjoy it all the more if it’s good, or regret it all the more if it isn’t.