Murphy’s Law…Of course!

cutest summer interns

Listen, we just had the most adorable and awesome and BEST interns in the world literally leave our home less than a week ago.  These ladies were seriously the BEST!

And I know my home is NEVER empty.  Like ever. Like a day after they left, we had a friend of Adelyne’s in our home for TWO days.  Not one.  Two.

The week before the interns left, we had another friend of Adelyne’s PLUS the interns.

People were sleeping on the floors…Couches…Kitchen tables.  Bathtubs.

Okay. The bathtub was an exaggeration since it was literally our only ONE for nearly 10 people. Unless a garden hose counts as a washing tub?  Or a quick dip in a lake or hot tub?

If so, then I have 3 extra washing rooms in near proximity (smile and wink).

But I don’t think they do.

Let’s get back to the sleeping situations of our home.

Tomorrow, we have a different friend of Adelyne’s spending the night.  Then two nights after that, we have Rich’s sister and her family spending the night—which will make 5+5=10 under our little farm house’s roof.

And one bathtub.  (Oh, wait—that’s right: garden hose, hot tub, and nearby lake—three extra cleaning basins)

I do have a point with this…

MURPHY’S LAW, Baby!

Here as I have been handling large masses sleeping in ever nook and cranny of my home—I was getting all “laissez faire” about proofing my house.

“Baby proofing,” you may think?

No.

“Fire proofing,” may be your next guess.

Nope.

“Storm proofing,” you may try for a third time—and this one plus flood proofing are actually LOGICAL guesses considering a huge storm did some pretty nasty damage on our house last year and our basement floods.  Like ALL THE TIME (don’t worry—we are still working on water-proofing that one before winter).

The answer to both storm and flood, however, is still NIE.

MOUSE PROOFING!

Ever since my husband and our friend found the existing holes on the outside of our house a few months back, filling them, our house has been scratch, poop (unless you count stinky children), and food packaging hole free.

HEAVEN ON EARTH!

For some of you, heaven on earth may look a little differently…but, for me, heaven on earth has looked like a mouse-poop and chewed home free!

It truly was a glorious — albeit SHORT time.

Last night, however.  Last night it ALL came crashing down.

I was in a moment of solitude.  Just me and the TV.

What should have been peace was filled with scratch, scratch, scratch.

I sat up!

The scratching stopped.

I relaxed.  I am just hearing things.  Slightly insane, right?  Perhaps a little paranoid, eh?!

Scratch, scratch, scratch…scamper, scamper, scratch!

I take it back!  I am NOT INSANE (please, tell my husband)…I knew it!

I heard it.  It was like a bad record playing again and again and again.

And then my movie is ruined.  My forthcoming sleep is ruined.  MY NIGHT IS RUINED!

Thank you, MICE!

So, today…after HORRIBLE dreams (smile and wink), I went on a mouse walk around my house.

I know the signs of infestation.  I know the poop.  I know their favorite crevices.

And THAT is when I spied it…

The popped trap.

Now, I noticed this popped trap a couple days ago, but when I peeked at it, I didn’t see a mouse.  So, I just ASSUMED (and you know what they say about assuming) that the trap popped because something fell on it or it was faulty.  Hence I ignored it.

But what I could not ignore the last couple days was the STINK in our house.

Now, to be fair, we have kids.  So, I’ve spent the last three days shouting lovely encouragement such as, “You stink! Take a shower!  Make sure you flush the toilet!  Peeeeeewwwww—-eeeeeeee!”  Yes, I am a lovely mother like that.

On top of that, to emphasize my stinky children, I have been abusing Febreeze.  Like literally spraying it all around the house.  Like multiple times because my kids smell like the pig-farm of summer.

Or DID THEY???

Now, in what is VERY OBVIOUS hindsight, I realize that I may have overreacted a bit (extremely unusual for me, btw, just as my husband)…

It’s not the children at all.

The mice are back.

And now my mind is on FULL lock-down.

I gotta get to my rice before they do.

To the crackers.

The cereals.

I gotta gotta gotta.

I should have known.

Literally.

It was too good to last.

A mouse-free house…

BAH!

Hashtag Murphy’s Law, Baby!  #murphyslaw

 

Wroclaw Gnomes…Freedom Fighters!

Did you know these little creatures in Wroclaw were first created in the early 1980s as a sign of rebellion against Communism and the harsh laws of those times (Remember Martial Law) ???

They were. And as the police began cracking down on these “gnome-type” protesters, they looked pretty silly. It was a part of the Orange Alternative .

I had no idea. It’s awesome how people chose to stand up and be freedom fighters during times when military and tanks roamed and rolled through the streets.

My photos of gnomes, however, are symbolic and fun — now a part of the city’s culture (many are made to represent their businesses), such as this ice cream gnome…

But, I hope, even through the whimsy of my photos that you will be as fascinated as I to hear the history, and, again, be reminded that Poland was and is a rocking, strong country to be admired.

Wroclaw’s little gnomes reminded me of that!

***

Take a moment to read a fascinating article on their origins: http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20171017-the-truth-behind-wrocaws-cheeky-gnomes

Slodkie Czary Mary

Making candy that we are so quick to gobble up is a beautiful process perhaps far too under appreciated!

On our recent trip to Wroclaw, we were able to see a sweets shop make little bits of hard candy like grandma would give you and finish with the grand finale of a heart sucker. It was a hot yet delightful experience—and I literally felt as excited as a “kid in a candy shop” !!!

To begin, the candy base has to be heated until it reaches the perfect temp. Then it is dumped onto a granite tabletop to cool for a period of time.

Aren’t we all a bit like candy? When we are a little too hot, we also need a cooling off period.

While it is in the process of cooling, the Candy Gals begin adding the colors for their upcoming projects.

After, the candy is cut and the second process begins—it’s nearly like a play-doh factory.

You begin by folding and pounding the candy.

Which then leads to stretching it…

After stretching, they begin the process of separating their colors and building their desired result/s—which this one would eventually become a heart lolly.

Along the way, however, was almost like a “dessert break” because they took a portion of the sucker and made it into tiny little pieces of hard candy which they promptly served to our room full of eager eaters.

The candies were still warm, sour, and brought me back to grandma’s house.

While we were all sucking on our nostalgic delights, the final project was expertly being finished with twisting, turning, cutting and shaping…

Until finally, voile! The heart lolly!

Which then goes for sale at the store, Slodkie Czary Mary!

Am I patient enough to make candy?

Perhaps.

Am I eager enough to eat it?

Pretty sure that’s a resounding You Betcha!

Do I recommend stopping in and watching this process?

Absolutely!

Did I feel just like a delightful kid in a candy shop?

The entire time!

Hence, we should all find ourselves watching how candy is made because then we have truly experienced time travel…even if just for a moment!

#wroclaw #poland #slodkieczarymary

Dessert to steal your heart…

I kid you not…we ate these divine ditties in the Square of Wroclaw while watching bubbles float over fountains and listening to a solo saxophone playing love songs with soulful perfection…

After that we walked across Saint Jadwiga’s bridge to board a small boat and travel the Odra, taking in every magical sight…

Before crossing the bridge of love to leave our mark with a lock…

I can recommend visiting so many places in Poland. But this one, Wroclaw, truly will steal your heart!

And then light it on fire at night with an actual lamp lighter, in full costume, walking the streets bringing them from darkness into night life…

All the while, church bells ring…

Would I recommend travel to Poland?

In a heartbeat!

Would I recommend Wroclaw?

Is the Pope Catholic???

Yes!

Your windowsill is important in Poland

parapetowka

Photo source

Your windows are your eyes to your world.  But a windowsill, in Poland, is so much more than that.

For example, when you move into a new home or apartment, in Poland, your windowsill becomes your welcoming table.

In fact, you throw a party BASED around your windowsill.  The party is even named after your windowsill.  It is called a parapetowka.  And this is what is involved:  welcoming drinks and snacks and more welcoming drinks.

What do I mean by welcoming drinks?  Well, in Poland, that generally means vodka.  I mean, it is Poland, right?!

If you are not big drinkers, no worries.  Set up juice on your windowsill and partner it with some salty sticks (or pretzels) and perhaps some cookies, too.

The entire point of the party is not the food, anyhow, it is the welcoming of your friends into your home.  Your new place where you will reside.

In fact, oftentimes, especially in the past, the parapetowka was when there wasn’t even a drop of furniture in the home.  Literally, no furniture.

You sat on the floor.  You had your snacks. You drank your drinks.  And you visited, with your friends, in your new home.

As uncomfortable as that may sound, when you are surrounded by friends, it completely makes up for the lack of cushions.

You are with those important to you in your home. Home is where the heart is. Hence your windowsills are the eyes to your heart, where, at your parapetowka, you see those most important to your heart and home.

***

How important is your windowsill in your life?  Does it hold any special meaning to you?  What about any other traditions that may help make your move into a new place a home?  I look forward to hearing back from you!

Is Duolingo the right fit for you while learning the Polish language?

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When learning a new language, you learn a few things:

  1. How to pull out your hair
  2. How to bury your head in the sand
  3. How to become mute
  4. How to increase headaches
  5. How to increase tears

Yes, my friends, learning a new language, especially when you are no longer a child, is a humbling experience.

Most people go into learning a language with confidence, after all, we are all relatively intelligent human beings.  Capable.  Motivated.

There is not a lot that we are unable to do.  Or is there?

And then there is the new language.

It gets you in the gut each and every time.

Polish is the Rocky of the language world.  Just when you think you are “knocking” it down with one swift learning moment followed by another, it hops back up and bears a right hook across your jaw.  You’re down, yet again!

Yes, my friends.  Learning Polish is that brutal.

Which brings us to today’s question: Is Duolingo the right fit for you?

I have completed Duolingo in Polish for foreigners.  It goes to Level 12, and it was a grueling road to get there.  For me.  A mom of three that lives daily in Poland.  But I persevered and made it to the end, making sure that I did not just score enough to pass.  Oh no!  I made sure that I scored perfection on each category before moving on to the next.

This made me realize two very important things:

  1. Polish is hard
  2. Polish is hard even with Duolingo

Would I recommend Duolingo as your method for learning Polish?  I would say that depends on your current understanding of the Polish language.  If you have zero to very little understand of the Polish language, Duolingo may not be the appropriate starting place for you, as there are not appropriate explanations for words, conjugations, or endings of any sort.  Plus the Polish cases.  Oh those cases (shakes head slowly and sadly).

This, therefore, is what I would rather recommend: If you are looking to learn Polish from the beginning, yet you do not have any classes offered near you, I would rather suggest starting with the costly but efficient Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur.  Both programs offer Polish for beginners and are quite renowned with languages.

If you have a base of Polish, however, and are not really wanting to spend money at the moment on learning a language, then I highly recommend stretching your brain to FULL capacity with the Polish language through the program of Duolingo.  You will feel like a rubber band ready to snap, but, hey!  When has a little humiliation and brain drain ever REALLY killed someone, right?  (smile, wink, and actually cry)

In any and every case, there are plenty of studies out there in the world that encourage language learning as a way to preserve your mental health.  Which, seems like an oxymoron to me:  losing your mind studying Polish to preserve your overall mental faculties.  Who am I to analyze this reasoning?

After all, I’m no psychologist.

Just a mom.  Living in a foreign country.  Telling you to go for it!

Learn Polish.  Even if Duolingo is your only route to get your there!

Good luck…

You’ll need it!

Dzien Matki — Mother’s Day in Poland

I am pretty sure I just ate candy my son gave me from his grubby fingers—and I am not sure the last time he washed his hands.  Or went to the bathroom and forgot to wash his hands.  I am actually gagging a little bit right now.  Really.  My stomach is not feeling so well.  Hashtag “truemom”.  EATING NASTY GERMS FROM GRUBBY DIRTY FINGERS.  Sigh.

Therefore, let’s just say that I am VERY VERY VERY happy to be celebrating the upcoming day about ME in Poland.  Dzien Matki.  May 26th.  Mother’s Day.

In Poland, Mother’s Day is the same day year after year after year.  Kind-of like Women’s Day, Wigilia, your birthday, your anniversary, New Year’s … MOTHER’S DAY!  It is set in stone and NEVER GOES AWAY!

Kind of like our kids, eh????!!!! (smile and wink)

Anyhow, this upcoming Mother’s Day I think that I am going to set expectations for my kids:

  1.  I am going to expect for them to make me frustrated.
  2. I am going to expect for them to make a mess.
  3. I am going to expect for them to NOT leave me in peace when I have to pee OR merely pick up the phone—EVEN THOUGH, moments before, they had forgotten about the very existence of me.
  4. I am going to expect for them to cry over their hair styles or crust.  YES—the crust on their bread.
  5. I am going to expect for them to have a small accident in their underpants—just enough so that they will not want to wear the same pair and not enough to make a mess on the floor.  The in between stage of wet.  Enough, however, where they will then declare that they must STRIP NAKED and be.  For the rest of the day.
  6. I am going to expect for my toddler to wake me at 3am.  Or 5am.  Or 6am.  And not at all appreciate that they day is about ME!
  7. I am going to expect for the pre-teen (nastolatek) to give me grief.  I don’t know about what.  About the volume of my voice or the fact that SHE CANNOT WEAR MY SHOES.
  8. I am going to expect for them to fight and argue about the 1 block.  On the floor.  When there are 1 million and 12 other blocks right next to the 1 block.  And there are 500,000 of those 1 million and 12 blocks that are exactly the same as the 1 block that they are rowing over.
  9. I am going to expect them to stub their toes, blacken their eyes, break their teeth, or scrape their knees.  I know this because it will happen.  My three year old currently has a black eye and a huge forehead mark from tripping onto the training wheel bike tire and also falling on the side of the trampoline.  All in a day’s work.  So I am going to expect a trip to the hospital, a broken bone, or a bandaged knee.  It will happen.
  10. And, lastly, I am going to expect a gazillion times over for them to tell me that they “Love me the most!”  And fight over it.  And cuddle me.  And then fight over cuddling me.  And then fight once again about who loves Momma the most.  Because it will happen.  I expect it.

And number 10 makes up for 1-9.

As I expect it should.

So, you see, Mother’s Day in Poland is really no different than Mother’s Day anywhere else in the world.  If you come from a dirt floor or a mansion that touches the sky, being MOM is full of a million and one expectations that always start with DISASTER…But that one moment (#10) will make up for all of the tornadoes that will come in and hijack your day.

In the end, however, you don’t mind.  Because it’s a nice feeling.  Being mom.

But NOT eating the grubby food from their fingers.  Leave that behind on Dzien Matki.  I am pretty sure that is not a nice feeling.

Not at all.

Happy Mother’s Day from Poland to YOU!