July 2024


4709; Two too low.

Sometimes it is in random moments that things said to you years ago make sense.

For example, I recall once listening to my paternal grandmother complain about the address of her apartment in New York City.

“I’m so disappointed in whomever picked the house number. Why 4709? It could have been named after a cologne!”


Whatchamacallit 173: XXX Pepper

A dear friend re-gifted me this XXX Pepper shaker as soon as the person who gave it to her left the house.

The friend’s friend cockily assumed that the friend wouldn’t mind a pepper shaker with, “Love From Amsterdam” written down the side of the shaft shaker (not visible in this photo).

What a […]

Whatchamacallit 131: Grow A Boyfriend

This boyfriend was a present from a friend – I think I know which one, but, to be honest, it wouldn’t surprise me if a number of different friends had given it to me.

As you can see, it will grow up to four times his size in water – so he’s a grower […]

Whatchamacallit 126: Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

When I left the States to (temporarily) move to Germany, this was a present from one of my wonderful colleagues at Indiana University Bloomington.

It lived in my office before I moved to Berlin, in Berlin it lives in my bookcase, catching my eye, bringing me back to Bloomington. It also describes my life […]

Whatchamacallit 72: Cowboy Potholders

A few years ago one of my friends gave me these cowboy potholders as a (I believe) birthday present.

I love them – and they stay on my kitchen wall having never been used for their nominal intended use.

Instead they are beefcake I admire during pauses in cooking – a whimsical take on […]

Whatchamacallit 25: оберег (obereg)

When I moved into my apartment, back in August 2010, my first guest was a Ukrainian friend – who presented me this pair of shoes that were to be hung by my front door.

And so it was, directly inside the front door, one of the first things you see upon opening the door.


Cool Birthday Present


Merry App-mas! My Review of Free Christmas iGifts

The holiday season is a time in which people are friendly and generous, an event that encourages me to go out and try things.

This past season there were two offerings designed to encourage use of the Apple iTunes Store. The first was an independent organization that was trying to raise the profile of various […]

Where I am.

So my surprise December trip is to Cheltenham, England.

I’m visiting Cheltenham because a friend is quitting her job in order to raise kids and work with her husband’s firm. My appearance at her going away party this evening is a surprise—and the reason my suitcase was stuffed coming here was because I’ve brought her […]

Up in the air…

I’m back in Weimar, and I really wish the ICE trains would get fixed. ICs are uncomfortable (especially aged Swiss ICs) and late (30 minutes today).

My east-bound trip over the pond last night was highly unusual. Despite leaving on-time, we arrived a few minutes late because we took an extremely northerly route that involved […]