Heigh-ho, Berlin!

My Russian history book is open to the chapter on Russian exile in Berlin, Paris, and America, post-Bolshevik.  My ticket for the DDR (German Democratic Republic) museum in Berlin, ever the faithful bookmark, is tucked between the pages.  Berlin here and Berlin there, and it makes me want to go back.  We only spent 4 days in Berlin, those few days packed with snow, trains, and tourism, but it was enough to generate a lifetime of interest.  I’m no worldwide explorer, yet, but I’ve been to my share of European cities, and Berlin stands out starkly, embracing its scandalous and tragic recent history to defy traditional spire-filled European skylines. The panoramic brochure of Berlin as seen from the Reichstag that makes a pretend window on the backing of my desk shows a different, clearer, and more cluttered Berlin than the dark, snowy, light-studded city I saw from the same perspective the freakishly cold night that we ventured to the glass-domed building.  What is it about Berlin?  Is it the Soviet bloc buildings?  The ruins of a French Prussia?  The insistent modernity sprung up alongside, in spite of, inescapable past?
It’s quite possible that I am romanticizing the city.  I tend to romanticize things I don’t know much about.  Yet, the remnants of a soviet world, so foreign to me, whisper enticingly.  There are hundreds of cathedrals and castles in Europe, but only one Berlin.
Berlin.  It speaks to me just like all the other places I long to visit.  Always restless, always wanting to go somewhere, do something, have an adventure!  Adventures are never what I expect, though.  Usually they’re decidedly less adventurous.
Robert Louis Stevenson reminded me recently that “the most beautiful adventures are not those we go to seek.”  I was frustrated when he told me this…does this mean I should sit at home and just wait for adventure to come to me?  Robert, what are you thinking?  Unfortunately, he died a while ago, so he can’t answer me back.  I do agree with his statement, but it leaves much to be desired regarding how to approach adventures.
It would be nice if I could achieve some resolution in this short blog post.  Adventure equals __, therefore I should ___ in my own life.  Enter dreamy and optimistic phrase with a sunny outlook on life.  Adventure is out there!  You know.  But alas, life is always far more complicated, varied, nebulous, ambiguous, turbulent, and deceptive.  How’s that for sunny side down?

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golden crust on the apple pie

Tell you what I like about jazz trumpet…sometimes you can’t tell if it’s the muted trumpet or someone singing nonsense.  Is it the instrument or the voice?  Does it matter?  The feeling’s the same – mournful, staggering, playful, and a little bit drunk.  
I know what you’re thinking.  What on earth am I doing up so early on a Saturday morning?!  (It’s 11:48 AM)  I have actually been awake for over an hour.  How is that for crazy?  I have plans to get stuff done today.  Therefore, I have to have a couple hours to contemplate what it is that needs doing, before I can contemplate starting.  Furthermore, it is a blueskyed almost-60 degrees here in the recently frigid ‘Ham, which means that an outdoor excursion is absolutely necessary.  
Last night I went ice skating and was reminded why I hate ice skating.  Luckily I was with several people, because misery loves company.
Best get to that contemplating.  Have a lovely Saturday!  Don’t over exert yourself!

the anti-romantic

Since Valentine’s Day is rolling around soon, I thought I would share my feelings with you regarding this popular holiday.  I thought that videotaping myself hurling would be an accurate description, but I haven’t thrown up since Christmas, so I am resigned to use words instead.
I do not like Valentine’s Day.  I think it is icky.  Think about it: crappy candy and obscenely prolific pink.  What’s not to hurl about?  Trite expressions of love written by greeting card companies are supposed to convey our true feelings to the people we care for, or just to whomever will consent to be our beloved for a day in a mutual desire to stave off loneliness during a holiday exclusively for twos.
Do I sound like a woman scorned?  Well, I’m not.  Truth be told, I have never been in love.  I’m told that when I finally am in love, all the mushy-gushy stuff I sneer at now will seem terribly romantic and exciting.  Still, I don’t think I will embrace teddy bears with hearts, want candy hearts, or anything with hearts for that matter (I really don’t like hearts), and I’m fairly certain I’ll still hate pink and dislike Titanic.  However, I doubt this will be a problem.  When trivialities are removed, truth is allowed to stand starkly in full view, no longer cluttered or obscured by additions.  Love will be allowed to be love when it has shed trite expressions or poor imitations.  That, I can look forward to.
Meanwhile, the singles are looking, or at least hoping and wishing for a perfect Valentine to appear within the week.  Couples will make reservations at expensive restaurants and buy each other expensive trinkets.  Third-graders will make Valentine shoeboxes, which actually is pretty cute.  And I have good news.  Next Saturday night I’ll be with the ones I love the most: my parents.  I’ll take good old familial love over the Feb 14 scramble any day.  Particularly if they are going to drive 200 miles just to see me and to bring the things I forgot last time I was home (I need to send them that list…). I don’t know how this ended up as a tribute to my parents, but when I start writing I rarely know where I will end, so: Be My Valentines, Mom and Dad?