Thursday, September 30, 2010

How to Lose and Gain Weight Really Fast

Just change where you shop!

I've gotten used to shopping here in Germany. If I want to try on a top, I take the L into the dressing room, and maybe even the XL if the L is looking a little small. I can sometimes squish into an M - if I wanted to go for the ultra-tight check-out-my-boobs look. Which I don't.

However, when I was back in the US, I was browsing the Target clearance racks and discovered that the L is much more L. I bought a shirt that was an M and although it is a slightly fitted cut it's all billowy like I have no waist! The medium!! The difference was really shocking.

However, I guess it shouldn't be, according to this nifty chart showing the extent of vanity sizing in the US. At Old Navy, if pants say they have a 36-inch waist, they actually have a 41-inch waist!! This isn't even exploitation of the vagueness of S, M, L, XL sizing, it's a straight-up lie.

Even Germany has vanity sizing, though, apparently. A friend who went clothes shopping in Sweden thought the sizes there - at the same chains - were smaller than here. This is just anecdotal, but it is true that the Swedes themselves are thin. I don't know how they stay that way all winter when the temptation is to go nowhere and eat lots of hot fatty foods... or is that just me? ;)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rick Steves knocks the Black Forest

A pparently Rick Steves thinks Americans are going to be bored by the Black Forest:
Germany's famous Black Forest disappoints more people than it excites. If that's all Germany offered, it would be worth seeing. For Europeans, any large forest is a popular attraction. But I'd say the average American visitor who's seen more than three trees in one place would prefer Germany's Romantic Road and Bavaria to the east, the Rhine and Mosel country to the north, the Swiss Alps to the south, and France's Alsace region to the west all high points that cut the Black Forest down to stumps.
Well, those other places are pretty nice too. I'd especially go back to the Mosel Valley in a heartbeat. But I think the Black Forest is more than just "more than three trees in one place". How many places in America can you go hiking in the forest and buy spring-cooled schnapps at the pathside on an honor system? Yeah, I can't think of any either.

Try it sometime, Rick!

Monday, September 13, 2010


Soooo, our apartment is partly set into a hill. It has two windows. Both are on the same side of the apartment, so there is never, ever, ever a breeze of any kind in here. But that's good, if you're German. Drafts cause lots of bad health problems (according to German lore). Our German apartment has no draft and terrible, terrible, terrible ventilation. I guess it's great in the winter. It saves energy on heating.

So, is saving energy on heating worth...BLACK MOLD?

Because I'm pretty sure I've just discovered some growing on a wall behind the dresser in our bedroom. And I'm starting to wonder if that's the stuff we have to keep cleaning off the bathroom ceiling. And if it's what showed up on the part of the wooden clothespins that touch our damp clothes (plastic clothespins for the win here).

Here's hoping it's not THAT black mold - you know, the toxic one that causes your lungs to burn out and brain to melt and gonads to shrivel up - but just some other black mold.

UGH, I hate this apartment so much. But with the constant threat of leaving Heidelberg hanging over our heads, I don't know how we could afford a move....but if that really is THAT black mold...we might have to.

And before I get lectured on how a proper German knows to keep the windows open for three hours a day or whatever the hell it is. Our windows are open at least 2/3 of the day almost year-round. We live by the woods on the water. It's humid. Having our windows open is not a magic solution for the massive humidity problem in our apartment.


PS. This is our four-year anniversary in Germany.

Saturday, September 11, 2010



When you go to the Apotheke (pharmacy) here, you usually get a little freebie thrown in with whatever you buy. The most common is a little pack of tissues like this one with an ad on it for the Apotheke or for something they sell. I got a kick out of this one. What the heck is "schneuz"? Is that the sound of blowing your nose? Or of a sneeze? Either way, it is nicely illustrated here.

Hi to everyone who is in Hamburg this weekend for the big expat meet-up! Wish we could be there this year!