Archive for June, 2011

Living it up

Monday, June 20th, 2011

We’ve been here long enough to have started to establish a routine.  Mondays are our day to explore — we often try to go out and try out new places to eat.  We’ve found it’s best to investigate new restaurants on their slowest night of the week, so if they turn out to not be very kid-friendly, and we don’t figure that out until halfway through the meal, we aren’t dealing with a busy restaurant full of irritated diners.  (Also, it’s easiest for us if we sit outside — no one minds a crying baby quite so much when their conversation is routinely interrupted by street noise — and it’s easier to get our choice of tables on a Monday, too.)


Father’s Day

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Dads are important — and not just for the evident biological purpose – they teach you things you won’t learn from anyone else.  Dads teach you how to whistle, how to tie your shoes, how to ride your bike (with and without training wheels), how to camp, build a kite, use a hammer, pack a car, read a map, float on your back in the pool, pick a perfect Halloween pumpkin or Christmas tree (and how to tie the latter to your car), change your oil, change a tire, drive, make barbecue, build a fire, build a paper airplane, sail (kind of), throw a frisbee, spin a yo-yo, shoot a bow and arrow, debate philosophy or politics, blow a bubble with gum, spell “encyclopedia”, sing the “rubber ducky song”, appreciate A. A. Milne, Shel Silverstein, Isaac Asimov and Star Trek, and dozens of other things I’m not thinking of at the moment.

Or maybe that’s just my Dad.

Thanks, Dad.  I love you.

On my own

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

We’ve been here just about two and a half months now.  That works out to about 1750 hours (which, really, doesn’t sound like that many).  Today, I took an hour by myself for the first time since we’ve been here.  At home, I used to get a little crazy if I hadn’t had a morning or an afternoon off every week.  The first few weeks we were here I really noticed not having that time for myself, but after a few weeks it became normal to not get a break, so now I’m pretty much used to it (but that’s not to say that I think that’s a good idea).


Crying in public

Friday, June 17th, 2011

I have one of those faces — if I have cried, anytime in the past 4 hours or so, you’ll be able to tell when you look at me.  I don’t know if it’s because I’m so fair, or because I have a lot of pink in my complexion, or just because when I cry I tend to really let it out, but I can’t hide it.  I’ve never understood when people say, “Go in the bathroom, splash some water on your face and pull yourself together”.  All I get is a wet face.


On the mend

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

What a day.  Woke up this morning to discover that Liam had apparently scratched his eye — his left eye was red and had a semi-visible scratch on it — on the eye ball.  (And yes, this is a remarkably similar injury, down to being in the same eye, as my horse was discovered to have yesterday.)

So, we proceeded (as parents do) to discuss taking him to the doctor, versus seeing if he improved on his own, and the logistics of each plan.  Dan went to work, and called from the office to talk to our new pediatrician, who, it turns out, doesn’t have office hours on Thursdays, so he called her cell and left a message.  Hours passed, and I stared at his eye all morning (he seemed to really enjoy all the “face” time with mommy) and tried to figure out whether I should leave him alone, take him to the emergency room or call another doctor.


One is silver and the other’s gold

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

I have some really amazing friends.  Today, I was reminded in several ways.

First, I got to get together with a new friend of mine here in Vienna.  Although we’ve only gotten together a few times, I’m really enjoying her company, and I’m amazed at how quickly and thoroughly we’re connecting.  She came over and helped me grab lunch and take the kids to the park.  Benjamin loves her — he got so excited when he heard she was coming over.  Before I left to come to Vienna, a friend of mine who is originally from South America told me that the friendships I make here will form more quickly, be more intense and probably longer lasting than is “normal” for friendships made at home, and I’m definitely finding that to be true.

But then I was also reminded of how great my friends at home are.  Cricket, one of my horses, has injured her eye.  My friend, Catherine, who is watching my horses at home let me know, and called the vet.  Her prognosis is good, but the course of treatment involves applying eye ointment twice a day — directly to her eyeball.  Even if I had never had horses, and had never had to do such an application of medicine, I would know how difficult that will be because I can imagine the challenge it would be to do that with my 30 lb preschooler, let alone my 800 lb pony.  It is vital to Cricket’s recovery that the medicine is applied well, and Catherine isn’t sure she can do it.  So, where does that leave me?  Well, 4000 miles and an ocean away, I have to find someone to help me take care of my (mostly) sweet pony, every day, for as long as two months.

It took me one email and about 8 minutes.  The very first person I asked, the person I most wanted to help (because I know what a great job she’ll do) said yes immediately.  I cried when I read her email, full of empathy for Cricket and excitement that she’s coming to stay.

I have the most amazing friends.  Today was a good reminder, but I’ve been reminded all along as we’ve been here.  The emails and the messages all mean so much.  I’ve smiled, laughed and reminisced here, all by myself, because of the wonderful things you’ve said.  Thank you, all of you, for keeping me company — because that’s what you’re doing, even though I’m so far away.


Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

We’re definitely not “just” tourists here:  tourists don’t typically need to find a pediatrician.  And this isn’t finding a doctor who will treat you for a day or a weekend or a week because you got sick on vacation:  this person will be the primary doctor for the next few years for our children — guiding us through vaccination regimes, tests and developmental yardsticks that are all different than they are a home, and mostly important.

We really, really liked our pediatrician at home.  (Well, we still like him, and he’s still there.)  It’s not an easy thing to go out and find a doctor in a foreign country, where you don’t speak the language (I know, I say that about a lot of things, but it’s true about a lot of things).



Monday, June 13th, 2011

We’ve been in Vienna long enough to start to get accustomed to certain things:  we’re used to sharing the sidewalks with bikes (who have the right of way over pedestrians), we’re in the habit of doing all of our grocery shopping on Saturday so we aren’t stuck on Sunday without something important (since the stores aren’t open) and we’re beginning to abandon the idea of waiting in any kind of an organized line for anything (since the Austrians don’t put much emphasis on waiting and turns — he who jumps to the front the quickest gets served the fastest).  In general, we’re catching on.

We’ve also gotten used to the fact that horse-drawn carriages share the roads with the cars — with surprising ease and patience from all (mostly).  I’m amazed and impressed at the confidence and success with which the drivers maneuver through traffic and down narrow streets, all while avoiding cars, trucks, buses, tourists (children included), bicycles and each other.  Many of the places that we frequent — our favorite pizza place, our favorite coffee places, the walking route I take with the boys in the morning and even the street in front of our house — are on the route typically taken by Viennese carriage drivers as they give their passengers a tour of the city center.  So, we’ve also started to recognize the horses and drivers themselves.


Play ball!

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Today, we did something we never do — we played softball.  To be accurate, Dan played softball, and Liam, Benjamin and I watched.  Some coworkers of Dan’s put a game together and, in the interest of being social and making new friends, we went.

I don’t know what it is about me, but absolutely anytime I attempt to be a spectator at anything, I end up getting drafted into some sort of duty role.  I don’t know if I look responsible, or I just look like a sucker, but it never fails.  I’ll end up collecting tickets, selling concessions, taking pictures, serving beverages or some sort of other useful task.  Honestly, it doesn’t bother me that much:  I’m more of a doer than a watcher, anyway, but I wish I understood why this happens to me, simply so I could turn it off when I prefer to sit back and relax.


To market

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Saturday is our “work” day in our family:  it’s our day to get our household chores and errands done that don’t easily get done during the week.  We sweep, do laundry and lately, we unpack and get organized, but hopefully not for too much longer.  We usually start after breakfast with a trip to the grocery store.  Typically, we all go together, or occasionally, Dan will go with one of the kids while I get some things done around the house with the other one.