Life lately: Cookie dough, music and social media

Oh hello there!Is it really Thursday and the final (!) day of November yet? This week flew by – I know I (we?) always say that – but it’s been a bumpy one. I’d planned on posting twice this week but … you already know how that went. It’s a “shorter” week for me already in that I’m off to my grandparents’ house for the weekend tomorrow for a family gathering but I stiill wanted to pop in before  left.  Because my mind is running in a hundred directons at once, I’m  gladly following Amanda’s invitation to pour out some random thoughts. 

 

  1. Current favourite song/stuck in my head? This one:

Yes, I know it’s German so you might be tempted to just skip it but would you do me a favour and give it a listen still? When I was younger and couldn’t understand English yet, I already liked the sound of and found myself humming along songs from the UK and US, too, so who knows? You might just enjoy this, too. It’s a kind-of love song, albeit a sad-ish one. My favourite part of it is when he sings “I am fucking Yoko Ono, my heart is broke, oh John!” I can’t quite put a finger on it but that bit is so beautiful. Yoko and John – forever united? Fun fact: yes, Mark Foster is indeed allowed to use the f word. No censoring either on TV or in radio stations over here. I honestly can’t imagine how some more explicit songs or movies must sound like in the US. Constant beeping? Well, you know it: we neither mind nudity nor swearing over here ;).

2. Semi-news: my mum got an iPhone – a major update from her previous age old flip phone. Actually, she’s had  the new one for a few months already and …  Constantly on the phone texting her friends – even at work [yes, I caught her ;)]. And on a recent walk it was her pulling out the phone for a picture when I steered her attention to the sunset That  young lady’s clearly a little phone obsessed ;). It’s quite funny since my mum’s – to put it nicely – not well versed regarding social media. She’s an expert at so many other things but internet and phones? Not. Yet now that she’s in the iPhone crew of my family, she’s joining in the choir of my siblings and dad trying to pressure me into buying an iPhone, too. Which in turn makes me even more resistant [did I mention stubbornness runs in the family?]. Also, replacing a phone after only ~ 4 years seems … wrong.

3. Cookies! While not these vegan Zimtsterne that I highly recommend you add to your baking list – they’re vegan and naturally gluten-free – but plenty of other [new] favourites. I’ll be honest in saying I’m more of a dough that finished cookie eater, though. And seeing as I see [healthy and not-so healthy] cookie dough creations on Instagram, I know I’m not alone here.

4. Speaking of social media; everybody’s always sharing or [not-so?] secretly watching funny cat videos. I can’t say I did that but I recently stumbled upon this gem. Thanks to my sloooow old phone, it took a while for the video to start so I read the caption already, thinking “yeah, sure,  I bet the man hugged the animal so stop lying because we all know they can’t actually hug …”. Oh boy was I wrong. No, it’s not a cute kitten video but all the more special.

Happiness-inducing today:  Baking. It truly is therapy in the way of distracting me from the less pleasant happenings in life. Nothing like kneading dough, shaping cookies and listening to another podcast.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

What’s your parents’ relationship with smartphones/social media like?

Cookie dough or baked cookies? Always the dough for me.

Did you listen to the song? If so: how did you like it??

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Truth be told …

Oh hi there! It feels like forever since the previous time this little blog here saw some action. Avout time to change that. eh? Thursdays always feel like the perfect opportunity for returns from [un]ntentional breaks. The day we’re wholeheartedly encouraged to just share some random thoughts, no further explanation needed. So here’s getting back into the game with a few current truths in my life.

Truth be told  …

This post was supposed to go online – and get written – yesterday already but then my sister and P. arrived  at my parents’ a day earlier than expected so … priorities ;).

Truth be told

I’m still heads over heels in love with P. Maybe even more so than before if that’s even possible. He’s starting to actually talk more and more now – he has been communicating with us for a long time but it’s now his vocabulary seems to broaden by the day. It’s the. cutest. thing. ever when he says his own name, pronouncing it in a somewhat Swedish way. Melts my heart. See: I’m already gushing again. Somebody stop me. Well, …

Truth also be told …

As much as I love – look at me making an exception and using this word – the little boo, I had to resort to my cheater ways when he wouldn’t stop crying for his Mama during babysitting time. Sometimes, a sleeping toddler is cuter than an awake one. Anybody agreeing?

Truth be told …

One of the main reasons I haven’t been posting a lot anymore these past weeks is that right now is a time in my life that wasn’t made for sharing. It’s not my intention to appear as a negative Nancy yet I also didn’t want to paint my days in brighter colours than they actually are right now. That’s still not to say I didn’t have my happy moments. Just that my heart overall has been feeling a little heavier.

Truth be told  …

We don’t need hundreds of friends if we do have a few really good ones. Meeting one of this amazing kind on Friday evening was a definite highlight of my week. She’s a friend from school days and has the ability to both make you laugh and pour your soul out to, building you up while sharing her own insecurities and struggles. I’m not a small talk person – well, most of us Germans aren’t – so these deep conversations are my favourites.

Truth be told …

Despite having done my fair share of healthier baking before, I was doubtful of the success when I sent my sister the link to this Peach Streusel Cake. You might remember my family being super picky and critical towards healthified baked goods. And my sister might want to eat a little healthier but she still won’t eat anything she doesn’t like [which I can honestly fully understand]. Verdict? It’s her new favourite cake.

Truth be told …

Fly swatters are worth their price times a million for me right now. I might be a vegetarian but mosquitoes are the one exception I make in killing other living beings. #sorrynotsorry

… and that’s it for me right now because – truth be told – it’s pretty late already around these parts and I need to make an effort at getting to bed earlier still. See you on Sunday for some good good links!

Happiness-inducing today:  Sunshine. Time with the family.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Tell me some truths from your life!


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Of nudity, happy mums and small talk aversion

Hi!

Has it really been almost a week since we talked macros? It’s been somewhat of a rough time since. My family experienced a huge loss on the weekend and writing a Week in Review just didn’t happen. I do not want to talk about our loss any more but also couldn’t pretend nothing had happened. Rather than talk about myself, I decided to finally share another post in what I’d planned to be a little series on German life. There are a lot of differences between life here and in the US– we’re talking some juicy facts today ;).

A final note on my posting schedule for the week: As I’ll be traveling and attending the funeral on the other end of the country and won’t be back until – at the earliest – late on Saturday night I’ll try but might not be able to share the good good links on Sunday, either. In that case, be back on Monday for some of my latest favourites.

[As I have yet to figure out the whole technology issue – hoping to get to it soon, though – the pictures in this post aren’t entirely fitting but I had fun bringing back some  older favourites]

Thinking-Out-Loud

We don’t beat around the bush. Or: small talk wasn’t invented in Germany

Truth is: we like to cut right to the chase. Mailing somebody with business inquiries? There’s no need to ask how they are first. Just let them know what you need in a polite way and that’s it.

When you call somebody, don’t be surprised when they pick up the phone saying just their last name [say, “Maier”]. It’s unusual to say “hello?” upon picking up. If you read my previous post on differences between Germany and the US you might remember how “friendly” – cue the irony – cashiers often are. In that case you won’t be surprised to hear they’re not exactly going to chat you up for a short conversation. Because they want you to leave the store –fast–.  Okay, so we don’t all hate small talk. We’re just unlikely to be the ones initiating it.

Let’s get naked.

Or: Germans aren’t as afraid of nudity. Bare breasts on magazine covers at the supermarket? Check. Beaches that explicitly invite you to show off what you’ve got 😉 [German term: FKK-Strand]? Check. And if your doctor needs you to undress certain body parts for examination there’s neither a paravent nor will he usually leave the room as you strip off your clothes or hand you a paper gown. Ready for an even more ‘shocking’ fact?
 
Work and such

Prostitution is a legal business

Now this one I certainly don’t know from personal experience – I prefer keeping my clothes on at work ;). However, the fact is true. While you won’t exaxctly see prostitutes walking down the streets of your average small town neighbourhood there is in fact a certain ‘house’ – colloquially referred to as a “Puff” – smack dab in the middle of a neighbouring village. And if you’re in a larger city like Hamburg you absolutely can see the ladies strutting down Reeperbahn, waiting for business. Speaking of businesses and work …

Mum’s staying home – and dad might as well

This refers to one of the blessings new parents have over here. An expecting woman can legally – with very few exceptions – not be fired from the moment she gets pregnant until a minimum of two months postpartum. The mum-to-be is also legally granted “Mutterschutz” (pregnancy leave) from six weeks pre-birth until up to three years after birth if she decides to stay home with the baby. Her employer can’t fire her during this time, either, and parents receive “Elterngeld” [think – very simplified- the state paying a compensation for the usual income depending on the latter; at least 300 €/per month, max 1.800 €]. Additionally, the baby’s dad can apply for “Elternzeit”, too. My sister’s husband did this and was on parental leave from his main job [starting his second side business on the leave – with the approval of his boss] for some time, too.

 

Money, money, money

The one topic all Germans can agree on: GEZ

GEZ, short for “Gebühreneinzugszentrale” has to be one of every German’s most disliked institutions. They’re the friendly people who decided that every household has to pay a set monthly fee of €17.98 for TV, radio and New Media and – that’s the clue – regardless of whether you use those or not. Sounds great, right? Not.

Pay now, use later.

If you live in an apartment/house/whatever else and use electricity and the likes this is true for you. Yes, that’s right. You’re paying for the so-called “Nebenkosten” like electricity and gas in advance. If you end up using less than the providing companies assumed you’ll get money back at the end of the year.

Sunday, silent Sunday

Feel like your lawn is more than ready for a cut again? You’d better not plan on mowing it on a Sunday in Germany unless you want to get in contact with the authorites. Yes, mowing your lawn on Sunday is legally prohibited. As you might remember you can’t do your regular weekend shopping on this day, either.

That’s it for now though there are plenty more differences to share another time.

Happy Thursday!

Happiness-inducing today: The brightest sunshine in between all the rain we’ve been getting lately.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

Share your random thoughts with me!

If you’ve ever been to Germany: What’s something else you’ve found odd or was different?

If you’ve never been to Germany but noticed differences between your country and another one you’ve visited: share those! It’s amazing how different cultures are.

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Letting my mind run wild and free [ToL]

… and then there was no Week in Review. Breaking from my usual blogging schedule felt both weird and very freeing. The decision was not entirely spontaneous but my heart just nudged me into the decision-making on Saturday. The sun was out, my mind telling me I’d better start drafting Monday’s post early and me ultimately neglecting my to-do list for the Moment and heading out for a longer walk instead. One of the sort that clears your head and heart, connects you to nature and makes you feel incredibly light and free. A twinge of guilt found its way into my brain again yesterday night but I reminded myself of my intuitive blogging premise. Instead deciding for less screen time on the weekend and returning with some ramdom thoughts today [a few days early as i might have another post coming later this week].. Ready, set, random!

Thinking-Out-Loud

Can we talk about changing taste buds? Because I’m not sure what happened to mine. If you’d asked me not too long ago I would have told you I had a major sweet tooth. Now? I can’t exactly say that anymore. The majority of my meals and snacks are savoury. Some days, I eat way less chocolate than I used to. Edited to add: the joke’s on me here. The very day I write about craving chocolate less what hits me big time? Yes, you guessed it. The intensity is almost crazy.

When I’m reading a really good book the word ‘read’ is actually inaccurate. Rather, I savour books. Which means I assign a certain time/setting to when I will read in every single one currently on my nightstand [i.e. morning/after work/weekends] and slow myself down a bit. Yes, I’m aware that will seem odd but my overworrying as well as money-saving tendencies are at play here. Worrying about not finding a follow-up book that’s just as amazing and saving-savvy in that we all know my struggle of treating myself to anything outside the necessary things by now, I guess. I’d call the fact I semi-decided on a small monthly book budget starting in March a first step of improvement, though. Because nourishing the mind with words and screen-free time is just as important as buying food, right?!

Absence truly makes the heart grow fonder in every area of life. Proof? You might not even remember me mentioning the first time I didn’t put my ear plugs in on a walk. Well, they hardly made an appearance anymore since. Quiet walks are my most creative time. The other day, though, I felt like listening to some music again and it felt so good. I still took in my environment, not letting the lyrics distract me. If anything, my heightened mood made me appreciate the beauty of nature even more.

flower_nature

Speaking of music I’m a classic ‘victim’ of the “mere exposure effect”. When I first heard Coldplay’s new song it didn’t feel up my alley. Being exposed to it during my daily commute, though, I’m suddenly a huge fan and added it to my Spotify. Well played, radio stations, well played. Literally.

Not so well [played] are the glitches my electronics have been going through lately. If you’ve been waiting for all the recipes I promised to share in recent posts I owe you an explanation and here’s why. I’ve been experiencing an unlucky juxtaposition of electric devices and platforms letting me down. My laptop has been on its last legs for well over a year already. Now it’s definitely time to say goodbye after about 7 (8?) years as it’s no longer working properly in regards to uploading pictures from my camera and constantly crashing when I’m online. Additionally, WordPress has been kindly reminding me that my data volume is close to used up meaning new pictures are scarce on here. I know that buying a new laptop is inevitable but any ideas on a quick and easy solution for the WordPress issue? I’m scared of [the cost and technological knowledge involved in] going self-hosted.

Something that never lets me down? Opening a fresh jar of white almond butter. Granted, I’m not a fan of the inavoidable oil spillage but the naturally sweet flavour – way different from the dark kind – and creaminess on top of my oat bran all but make up for it. Not that I’d be opposed to having one of these ingenious tools at hand but – you guessed it – they’re not available over here. So I keep getting those nut butter stirring arm workouts in.

Work’s been insane already again today so I’ll end this here and try not to hit the pillow too late. Fingers crossed and happy Tuesday to you!

Happiness-inducing today: My current [afternoon] book as well as – it never gets old – sunshine.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Share your random thoughts with me!

What’s a song you only got hooked on upo nhearing it multiple times?

Blogging advice?

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Cars, cooking, cash – differences between Germany and the US

First things first: Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the US! I hope you’ll have a wonderful day with family, friends or whoever you choose to spend it with.

It’s been a hot minute since I previously joined Amanda on her venture of leisurely letting thoughts wander aka Thinking out loud. I’m not entirely sure how much of the blog world will really be around today so I opted for a non-heavy topic fitting whichever day you read it: Differences between the US and Germany. While I’ve yet to visit the US myself being part of the blog world for a long time – far longer than I’ve been blogging for myself – I did notice things here and there all the time.

Ready, set,: thoughts out loud!

Thinking-Out-Loud

 

 

Going places

Say hi to Deutsche Bahn!
A lot of Germans travel via train evidence of which can be found multiple times on my blog. It’s convenient, cheaper and more accessible than flying. And if you like surprises  [beware of upcoming sarcasm] Deutsche Bahn – the main trailway company – regularly has you in for those with delays, broken air conditioning in the summer heat and else. We make it sound more awful than it is, obviously. Well, unless we remember that time your connecting train on a long distance journey was cancelled, you spent an hour standing on a crowded platform in cold wind and seriously questioning if we were going to make it home that day still, all while being sick. Thanks for nothing, Deutsche Bahn.
But hey, we accept that for long distance travels because …

Berlin

Gas is way more expensive than in the US
Last time I checked the gas my dad’s car needs was 1,35 € [around $1,42] – and that’s per litre, not gallon. That’s why won’t see any trucks or similarly big cars on the streets often here. Big hooray for public transport.

Restaurants, supermarkets and home

Running to the store on Sunday? No way.
You guessed that right: stores are closed on Sundays. Exception to this rules can be found in some bigger cities, usually stores located in central stations. And if you run out of snacks at night you might be out of luck, too. Most supermarkets close at 8 PM. Again, cities can be the exception with certain ones not closing until 10 or at the very latest – and I’ve only seen this twice before – midnight.

Just like your car you’d better not be super thirsty.

Because there are no free refills in Germany. In fact, some restaurant owners make the majority of their profit through beverages,  not food. The only exception being IKEA – thank you for introducing me to this novelty as a child, Sweden – where you can drink to your heart’s content.

Got cash?

If you plan on visiting Germany: a) let me know [duh!] and b) bring some cash. Well, you might have to do that in anyway because of the different currency but really: we like to pay in cash. Sure, I keep my bank card in my wallet at all times but only really use it to pay if I’m making big purchases. Some stores even have a minimum amount of spendings you need to reach before they let you use your debit card. And once you’ve paid …

Hurry up!

Because cashiers want you out as soon as possible. This is one thing that seriously annoys me. At best, you’d have your purchases stashed away and be on your way out right after you finished paying. I’m not entirely sure of the situation in the US but a friend from the UK told me you could take a lot more time to pack over there. There’s also no employee to help you bag up your stuff because hey, that could make you feel entirely too welcome at the checkout.

Take your shoes off, please
… and grab a pair of slippers. We do not wear shoes other than the latter in the house. I was surprised to hear people apparently walk around in their outdoor shoes at home in the US. Is that true? Sexier than the Birkenstock-like sandals I’m wearing as I type this for sure ;).

Cooking and baking

Let’s do the math!
… or just break out the kitchen scales. You might have already known that we do not measure in cups over here. Honestly, cup measurements used to seriously confuse me when I started reading blogs and trying US recipes. How many potatoes are you supposed to buy when a dish calls for two cups, diced? By now, I’m way better at this yet still prefer using scales. So much more accurate. [Completely subjective opinon of course]

kabocha!

You’re putting what into your dessert pie?!

Seasonal fact:pumpkin is not eaten the sweet way in Germany. We go savoury. Actually, you won’t find canned pumpkin on the shelves of any store, either. It’s only through social media and also very very slowly that some people – usually inspired by Instagram – start making their own pumpkin puree to use in sweet dishes.

Wrapping it up here even though I could come up with way more examples. But over to you and your experiences in other countries  – let me know about them in the comments!

Happiness-inducing today: More of that glorious autumn sunshine I mentioned in my previous post.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Did you know about any of these differences between Germany and the US?

What are some differences between other countries you visited and your homecountry?

… and whichever random thoughts come to your mind here.

 

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ToL: Summer TMI, blogger problems and cookies

It’s Thursday and time to let the thoughts run places again.  This will be the shortest intro in the history of this blog but a little trouble I ran into [see below] means I have to finish this at a time I actually wanted to be in bed already sooo … sleep matters, yes? Sorry for this – we’ll pretendit’s part of the schedued andomness.

Ready, set,: thoughts out loud!

Thinking-Out-Loud

Baking for others [and stress-relieve]? I’m so up for that. After recommending this recipe to my sister and getting a rave review from her my mum got curious and wanted to try the cookies herself. I not so unselfishly – an opportunity to taste-test cookie dough?!- offered to bake a batch. It was one of the quickest to prepare recipes I’ve tried so far and the verdict? Divided. I tried a bite and they taste amazingly buttery and have a great texture. At first bite my mum was delighted. Later? Not as impressed anymore – I’m not sure why and will have to investigate . Just to clarify this: Brandi’s recipe is delicious, my mum simply has way too high expectations as you might remember. We’ll have lots of visitors over for the weekend so I’ll be sure to get some more opinons and report back. Because how bad could these innocent chocolate chip cookies be?

vegan cookies_The vegan 8

Oh,  what a difference a few minutes make. More details: just a few minutes ago I was going to excitedly tell you that we got a new internet router that’s allowing for fast internet [less blogging frustrations about pictures not uploading etc.]. Now? Not so much. Fast but flunky. As in: I found myself kicked out for one and a half hours before I could finally get it to work again and write my post. That right here would be the blogger problem mentoned in the intro. Stirring up anxious nerves that I needed to calm. With chocolate.

What is it about chocolate chips that makes them that alluring? Aside from being chocolate, I mean. Because they’re actually not a particularly awesome kind. Or maybe that’s just because I’ve been playing in higher leagues again  [read: mingling with the 80 % bars]. Still,I find my hand in the bag time and time again.

Chocolate chips_II

On a completely different topic, probably verging on TMI territory – though when everybody’s talking about poop what even is TMI anymore? So: summer. Yay sun! For some of us that means not just a risk of sunburn – hi, fellow pale-skinned people! – and also the potential of …. stronger bodily odors. If you know what I mean. Me? I apparently lucked out there. Which is good because I’ve finally made the switch to a [hopefully] more natural deodorant a short time ago. I felt bad about all the chemistry I apply to my skin using regular ones. Though I know there apparently are even more  natural ways to cover unwanted smells but I’m just not ready/daring enough for that.

flower_dandelion_Pusteblume

Speaking of bodily odors – what a nice expression, no? – I told you about my current favourite one already. When thinking out loud about the point above my sister chimed in letting me know that sweat was one of the components of this heavenly scent. Kind of obvious but still  … hmm.

On the note of nice scents: summer’s here! Go and smell the flowers. Or blow the dandelons seeds’! <- does anybody still do this as an adult?

Happiness-inducing today: A walk in the beautiful evening light – without a jacket because it was still warm! Ah, summer is coming.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

What are some topics you’d consider TMI? I’m usually not the one to go into topics like the one above in daily life but I guess blogging makes us share a little more random thoughts ;).

Has summer been showing where you are yet? Our early summer weather is supposed to end again this weeked already.