Sunday, June 1, 2008

To life




A special guest appearance by Nilpferd jr, above, looking back on her first day of school... a moment which confronts every parent with hopes and fears... hopefully the optimistic view wins out..

I've had lots on recently, but the Spill seems to need a pat on the shoulder, a "goodonyamate" and a thumbs up at the moment.. so here's the Nilpferd special affirmative playlist...

Wisdom, Herbie Hancock from Future to Future- knowledge is important, but you have to have faith in wisdom...it is people's hearts which move the age..

Cannonball Adderley- To life, from a fiddler on the roof- jewish optimism meets Cannonball's irrepressible outlook...

Waiting hopefully.. D*Note(4Hero remix). I never got into the rave/techno thing, for me the optimism of the early 90's was best expressed by jungle/drum & bass, 4Hero were among the most upbeat nu-jazzers...

Wishing from the top, Dana Bryant. Climb down couple of rungs, and things can look different..

The Creator has a master plan.. Leon Thomas' vocal version of the Pharaoh Sanders track..

Harmonic/Mod you, Coldcut/Hexstatic/Cabbageboy. Ever think the world was a total mess? Maybe you're like the bug trapped in a rug, unable to see that his surroundings were the most beautiful rug ever made...

(Player removed)

and just to round it off, some positive vibes from down under..
Martin Phillips and the Chills, Heavenly pop hit..

22 comments:

steenbeck said...

Nilpferd, Mara's beautiful, I love the picture. What are they holding?

nilpferd said...

why thank you, steenbeck
(flicks imaginary gnat out of corner of eye)
There, that's better...
They are holding schultüten, school cones, which is a 19th cent. tradition in Germany. Children were given paper cones with sweets etc. on their first day of school. These days it's big industry but at our kindergarten they made their own. I've added a picture of it. The theory is the kids get excited about what's in the cone (fruit, stationery, small toys etc) and aren't so scared of their first school day.
You might appreciate the dragon, she went to great lengths to decorate it with glue pens.

steenbeck said...

I love that idea! They're so grand. And I like her dragon a lot, it reminds me of Madam Mim from Sword in the Stone.

FP said...

She's a little cracker! Trilingual German-English-Romanian? Make a fortune an an interpreter later on....

nilpferd said...

(fully aware he's earning himself the epithet smug git with this post)
quadrilingual.. she and her friend have a secret language called Paralenian.. in Paralenia the toyshops are open 24/7, there is no money, nobody argues and adults are not allowed... I'm supposed to be designing the airport, but the project has run into funding and planning difficulties..
re a possible career as translator, technically she'd probably be up to it, but her temperament might lead to her creating an international disturbance...

Frogprincess said...

So how does one get a visa for Paralenia? Did I mention I never really grew up...?

nilpferd said...

Visas as such are worthless, as there is no officially sanctioned means of reaching the republic.. the trick is in convincing someone to take you there... I once got quite near to being taken, but unfortunately dinnertime intervened...

nilpferd said...

The dragon has had a tenuous existence, by the way.. tears flowed when it fell off the schultüte the day before, as his slightly bent rear leg will testify.. but luckily I had a tube of dragon glue at hand..

steenbeck said...

My brother and I had a secret world when we were growing up. I can't tell you all about it, because it's secret, but it did have some parallels to Paralenia. We had our own alphabet, our own religion. It's odd, but I still get some comfort from some of the things we thought of.

Abahachi said...

I love the idea of the Schultuete; that sort of custom is exactly why I like Germany so much. Currently mulling over the possibility of going for a job in Freiburg; I've been short-listed, but the timing is truly abysmal.

However, at the risk of being ostracised for excessive grouchiness, I have to say: enjoy your lovely daughter while it lasts. Yup, my stepdaughter was staying over the weekend, and it's just like having an exotic lizard for a pet: they grow up, develop insatiable appetites and unspeakable personal habits, and develop an erratic temperament...

nilpferd said...

If you do decide on Freiburg you could join FP and me in a magic RR Black Forest/Rhine triangle.. bet that's swayed your thinking...

As for Mara's development, she's already pretty insatiable, and her personal habits, although admittedly unspeakable, are no worse than those of her parents. Still, I am aware that she'll come to the conclusion that we are the most embarrassing people in the whole world.. at which point I will no doubt remind her of the time she confided to her mother that she was concerned about any prospective boyfriend not knowing how to cook her favourite foods, and that we'd agreed I would take the boy under my wing and show him how to make my famed thai coconut cream sauce...

steenbeck said...

I want a recipe for Nilpferd's famous thai coconut cream sauce!!!!

We call Malcolm our 5-year-old teenager. He eats about 8 meals a day and is still so hungry he's in tears (I just learned the term "hangry" for this condition.) And I'm not allowed to kiss him any more right in front of the school (I do anyway). And speaking of personal habits--he's a 5-yr-old boy! He'd probably bathe in dirt, if we'd let him.

nilpferd said...

If we were sensitive parents we might be embarrassed at the ravenous way Mara devours just about everything, but I consider it a success that she has such a healthy relationship with food.. and I figure, little details like washing hair, hands, feet, etc will come with time.. I'm sure in 2 years tops when she's showering for 3 hrs at a time I'll think back with fondness to the one hair wash per quarter year we manage now..
The sauce...
Heat peanut (groundnut) oil in a wok.. add as much fresh chilli or chilli sauce as you can stand, (we're just getting Mara started with hot food) as well as bruised and finely chopped lemongrass.. push it rapidly back and forth through the oil for about a minute, then add chopped onion and garlic, again for a minute.
I'd then add marinaded chicken breast (rice wine, soy, garlic) for a further minute, but you can do a vegetarian version with tinned bamboo shoots, sliced red/green peppers, and/or snap peas/sugar peas. Once that's all nicely wokked, throw in a can of coconut milk and heat through. Add soy sauce (naturally fermented), chopped cilantro, and a few drops of roasted sesame oil to taste. Lime juice is also good right at the end.
You can top it with roasted cashews if you wish.
Serve on basmati or jasmine rice. If Mara is anywhere near, stand back.
Drink recommendations: jasmine tea, a pils style beer, or a late-harvest Riesling.

ejaydee said...

Do you get a lot of overlap between the languages? You see my nieces and nephew are also trilingual geniuses, but when they speak to their uncles and aunt, they tend to loosely blend English and French, because they know we'll understand what they're saying. The youngest one spent less time in the US so shouldn't have the same issue, but this strange language gets passed on from his sisters. Strangely, their German is more "isolated".

nilpferd said...

Not really, oddly enough, she seems to stick pretty much within each language, although she does sometimes make wordplays among the languages.
I get more mixed up that she does, actually- I'm quite liable to address english speaking visitors in german.
But german is taking on more and more english words, so there is sort of a hybrid language developing here anyway.

steenbeck said...

Sounds delicious, Nilpferd, thanks for the recipe. I think my boys will like it too. We're starting them on spicey foods, too. It's funny what they like, they'll gobble malai kofta, but Isaac won't eat a banana. And I'm very thankful for Malcolm's appetite, it's horrible when they're sick or otherwise off their feed.

And THAT (tri-lingualism) is why it would be nice to live elsewhere with them for a while. We live in this huge country where most people can barely speak English. Malcolm's learning some Spanish at school, though, there are a lot of Mexicans in our town. So that's something. Ejaydee do your siblings live in Germany? Your family seem to be such far travellers. Do you have reunions? Nilpferd, do you still have family in New Zealand?

nilpferd said...

My parents still live in NZ, we're visiting them at christmas in fact. It's a while since we've been there so I'm looking forward to it, and catching up with old friends. My brother lives in L.A. so we are about as far away from one another as possible, we see each other most years though.

ejaydee said...

My older sister, who's your age lives in Berlin after living for a long time in the US, mostly Long Island. Her husband is German and they wanted to go back to Europe at some point, so they chose Germany. Despite being all over the place, we try to meet up, sometimes in New York (until they left), sometimes in Normandy. It's the reason why I love Christmas, it's one of the only times all 10 of us are together.

Despite being vegetarians, the two youngest ones don't really eat vegetables. It's mostly rice, courgettes and yoghurts for them, and chocolate of course. I know it's evil, but I once tricked my nephew, who's also my godson, hence why I took the liberty, to eat a chicken nugget. I figured he might try it because it doesn't really look like real food. It was successful until a few days later where, to show off, I told his mother that I made him try chicken. He didn't speak to me for the rest of the day after that.

steenbeck said...

Malcolm told me he'd been eating pepperoni pizza at school, and he claimed he didn't know it was meat. In his defense, I'm guessing the pepperoni they put on kindergarten cafeteria pizza doesn't bear much resemblance to anything edible at all, let alone meat.

I find it very fascinating how people end up where they end up, geographically speaking. It seems that the combined ensemble of RR could come up with some very interesting stories.

ToffeeBoy said...

The Toffee household was host to a trilingual experience recently when my wife's German cousin (who lives in Paris with her French husband) came over for a weekend with her two-year old daughter who mostly speaks French, but speaks German to her mum and not a word of English. My German is passable and my French is poor so it made for an interesting linguistic challenge!

ToffeeGirl's dad was English and her mum German. The children well all brought up bilingually and apparently one of her older sister's first full sentences was "Lizzie is a kleine dummele mit she's züngchen!"

nilpferd said...

Ha. She'll regret that later..

The thing that amused me about Mara's first words in english were how she'd duplicated my kiwi accent, and how strong it was- here's me thinking I'd knocked the edges off it and she asks me for some mulk. (That's the white fluid you get from a cow, which german farmers are currently tipping down the drain.)

treefrogdemon said...

In 'The War Between the Tates' by Alison Lurie, there's a lot about how awful it can be when sweet young children turn into awful teenagers, eg

"It was as if she were keeping a boarding house in a bad dream, and the children she had loved were turning into awful lodgers - lodgers who paid no rent, whose leases could not be terminated."

My children had a lot to put up with from me, however, as I wore kaftans and sang in the street. In the end they banned me from coming to the school gate to pick them up - I had to wait for them further up the hill because they were ashamed of me.