Sick leave

Man loses battle against homesickness, flies to United States with little girl.

Continue reading

This morning in prepositions

Up, out of. Over to, in front of. Out. Into. On top of. Down. In. Into, out. Out of, into, into, on. Into, in, in, out of. Off. Off. Off. Up. Off, on. On. Around, behind, through, around, around, down and through, up. Out, out, out! Away! Around, in front of, out, into. Away! Over to, around, in front of, out. Around. Away! Behind, behind, behind. Behind! Around? Behind! Between, behind, between. Behind, behind, behind. Off. In front of. Out. Into. On.

Schnackerl is a perfect word

Occasionally you notice a perfect word. “Lumber” isn’t a bad word. I drove to work behind a lumber truck this morning. I like the smell of lumber, the way it looks, the sound of the word and the way it describes a heavy way of moving. There is a word in Austrian German for what is called the hiccough or hiccup in English, not a bad word itself; unbeatable in onomatopoetic terms. When you drive a little girl to her daycare place in the morning, who has just lost both front teeth to the tooth fairy, and she’s hiccupping in the back seat, and says she has a “Schnackerl”, that’s a perfect word. It is an Austrian dialect diminutive form, that “-erl” at the end, but as far as I know “Schnack” itself means nothing in German. But Schnackerl, perfect.

Architecture vs flora

What’s a cathedral next to a field of poppies? Not literally next to, I mean; “compared to” a field of poppies, I mean. There’s this field of them — of poppies, not cathedrals — beside the freeway at the moment that is nearly sluttish in its profligacy, sluttish in a holy way, though, that conflagration of red exploding in what started out as a wheat field. Daily I am amazed that it has not caused accidents yet, because I nearly have to pull over onto the shoulder when I see it. Next to that, a cathedral is a dank dead place. When I die, put me wherever you want, because I’ll be dead, in a better or worse place, or no place at all, who knows; but for now I’m alive, and I’ll take the poppies, or the jasmine or the sweet purple bush in my back yard, or little girls with no front teeth saying “Schnackerl”.


That wasn’t half bad.

[I've added a bit in the extended entry part.]

Continue reading


Our youngest daughter, small for her age, has been getting so much money lately from the Tooth Fairy (lost both upper incisors) that she decided to go shopping, alone, for our breakfast this morning.

Her mother helped her with a list – juice, ham, six rolls… and walked her to the local Eh Market (too small to be a Super Market, but since they know everyone in our village they let you run a tab) but had to wait outside.

“There’s the cutest little girl shopping in there,” people coming out of the store told my wife. And, “she stood in front of the bakery section forever before getting up the nerve to order, ‘six rolls please’.”

When she finally came out, she had everything. Six fresh rolls for breakfast, juice, cold cuts. And the latest “Princess” magazine, of which she never misses an issue.

And to think the Tooth Fairy nearly woke her up last night, after silently finding the tooth (right under her head as always) and replacing it with a