Month: November 2018

That Sweet Coffee Bean

Published / by copperyuenger / 1 Comment on That Sweet Coffee Bean
Just a Girl and Her Cup

This afternoon I did something real naughty. Something I will probably pay for well into the night. I will more than likely lie in bed, well past my bedtime, cursing my earlier life choices. However, as the sun went down oh so early and the cold air still seeped into my joints well after the kids and I got home from school, I made a pot of coffee. Well, half a pot. But the damage is done. I am now heavily caffeinated.

The First Taste

I come from coffee drinkers. There was always a pot of coffee brewing in our house. At all hours, you could hear my dad shuffle into the kitchen and the clink of the pot sliding out and back onto the hot plate of the coffee maker. Come to think of it, that probably explains the unhealthy sleep patterns of my people. I am not sure whether I learned to make an White Russian or a pot of coffee first but both could have been listed on my Kindergarten “All About Me” report.

Every once in awhile, I would be allowed a coffee. My parents were Team Black Coffee all the way but of course, mine would be pretty much sugar milk with a splash of coffee. Man, did I love it from the start. Of course I did. Not only am I pretty sure coffee is part of my DNA, I literally was drinking tan sweet milk. And I was so hooked.

I was probably in my early twenties before I truly drank it on the regular. I worked 3rd shift at a hotel and often went days without good sleep. Truth be told, it is possible that I may have went to work a little tipsy from time to time too (standards there were pretty low, plus I was young and dumb). But I had a coffee pot in the office and that is all a gal needs to survive at 3 am.

When A Hobby Becomes a Habit

These days, I live for that first cup in the morning. And the second and the third. Sure, I can admit this may be a problem but it could be worse. I tend to wait until I hear Moose put the pot on before I crawl out of bed. He knows better than to rush me before that. Even the kids know that I can be influenced with some joe. They try to talk me into the bakery on a regular basis with “Mom, you can have a cup of coffee while we eat our cookies.”

I still drink it light, cream and flavored syrup. Every once in awhile, I try to limit the add-ons. You know, to be healthier. But I have never been able to limit the actual coffee. I will literally opt out of a diet plan the second I see no coffee. That is my line in the sand.

A few years ago I was having some pain that led to a mammogram. It was clear. The doctor suggested afterwards that the pain was more than likely related to hormonal and caffeine induced cysts. He said to cut out the coffee and I would feel better. I called him crazy to his face, thanked him for his time and immediately accepted that from time to time, for the rest of my life, my boobs were going to ache like I was in the 1st trimester of the longest pregnancy ever.

My Ode To Coffee

I miss my coffee pot back home, I bought a cheap one here and it isn’t quite the same. Y’all know what I am talking about. Recently Moose made a run to the States and brought back a ton of my favorite coffee and the cheap coffee pot has redeemed itself by doing the San Antonio Blend justice. So I will let it live to see another day. I just hope Old Faithful doesn’t miss me too much, sitting in a storage unit back home.

Pretty Much Heaven

There is no grand revelation to this post. My friend Becky (Hey Becky!) posted about things that make you happy while I was sipping my 5 pm coffee. So I decided to declare my love for bean juice. If you know me, you already know this. I rarely was seen without my travel mug back home and wouldn’t be here either if I had a life. I have no plans of drying out. Nobody wants to deal with non caffeinated Copper. That is how wars get started.


Lessons in Inconvenience

Published / by copperyuenger / 1 Comment on Lessons in Inconvenience


A work of delicious art.

Sunday Mornings

On any given Sunday morning back home, I know exactly what we would be doing. Chances are, there would be pajamas, cartoons, hot coffee, and freshly baked cinnamon rolls. Now, by fresh baked I mean that either Moose or I would have popped open a couple of Pillsbury canisters, arranging them on the cookie sheet in funny shapes and waiting 10-12 minutes for the magic that is the silence of full little mouths.

We haven’t had cinnamon rolls in 10 months. Those little tubes of doughy goodness are very rare here. I think I saw them once and they were so expensive, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Instead we often whip up pancakes or crepes. Definitely not a sacrifice but quite a bit more work.

You Know What I Could Go For?

If you asked us what one of the biggest adjustments have been here, we would answer food. It is right behind transportation and slightly above communication. We are in no way, shape or form hurting for nourishment. There is many things, however, that we miss on a regular basis.

The funny thing is that while I considered myself to be a pretty decent cook in the states, I relied more often that not on convenience foods. Here those things don’t exist. I can remember telling Blondie the first time we went grocery shopping that  we were going to starve to death. For a few months, I allowed this to really limit our meal options. I really got down on the situation. Yes, I know that is pitiful but food is life to me.

Silver Linings

Something began to happen slowly. I began to buy new things. We had leek soup and tried fresh currants. One was a hit, the other one not so much. The kids devour muesli almost daily, their fruit and veggie intake has tripled and a box of granola bars will last a month, passed over for better choices.

Not everything can be replaced. We still get random shipments of mac and cheese. I still pine for good Mexican and hazelnut creamer. And for a country rich in cheeses, I would kill for some pepper jack. However most days, we do very well food wise.

Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks

The struggle has created a situation. A welcomed situation. I have become very good at finding substitutions and making things from scratch. It got to a point where I realized I was being a whiner and decided to find solutions to what we were missing.

My name is Copper, and I am 41 years old. Before this summer, I never made a cake from scratch. But I have now. Several in fact. And they are so much better than box cakes and really not hard.  We have never been big ranch users but when it doesn’t exist at all, you want it. So I found a recipe and have been making fresh dressing every couple of weeks.

1st time I have ever successfully used yeast!


Today, I made cinnamon rolls. Fresh, made from scratch cinnamon rolls. The kind where you cook like an adult and there are terms like active yeast and kneading. It took forever, I may need to work on that part but it was so worth it. Well after lunch time, we sat down at the table and ate cinnamon rolls for the first time in 10 months. The feedback from the family was a bunch of mumbling and an empty tray.

Inconvenience is putting me into a position to learn news things and try harder. I am enjoying it and am always looking for the next challenge. It doesn’t always turn out great but more often than not, it turns out even better. I can’t help but be a little proud of that. It leaves me wondering…what should I make next?



Ikea Strong Relationships

Published / by copperyuenger / 2 Comments on Ikea Strong Relationships
Us celebrating the new apartment and saying goodbye to hotel living.

When we moved to Hamburg at the beginning of the year, we ended up in an apartment that wasn’t furnished. This was not the original plan so we didn’t bring anything with us. We literally had our clothes. that was it. Making a home from the ground up was a daunting task. Luckily we live a mile from the one place in Hamburg that could help us handle the majority of our list.

Let’s Grab the 284

We literally have a bus that drops us off right at the front door of Ikea. I have no idea where it comes from or where it goes after. It is called the 284 Ikea Schnelsen line so I suspect it’s purpose peaks under the giant blue and yellow sign. Technically we could walk there, we live so close to it. However, without fail, our arms are full on the way back so the bus is a necessity.

For months after that fateful shopping spree, if the boys were being naughty, I would threaten them with the 284. It straightened them up quicker than the promise of taking away screen time. One time, an exhausted Red even teared up and begged me to never make him go back. For the most part, we have tried to follow through with not taking them back unless absolutely necessary. I can count on one hand how many times we have walked through those doors as a family.

So back to that fateful Friday in February. We had our walk through with the landlord, got our keys, and immediately jumped on the bus. We walked through those doors with a list, a budget, and a skip in our steps. The thought of buying all new stuff was exciting and more importantly, we were through the roof excited to finally be in our place.

Meatballs, Mattresses, and Mental Breakdowns

Who would have thought going to the busiest store in the city, in a country where you don’t speak the language, to buy literally everything to fill a three bedroom home for 5 people would be so stressful. In hindsight, I may have been way too optimistic.

I believe we made it about 20 minutes into the day before our first fight and it went downhill from there. We were in that stupid building for over 5 hours. One of which I spent giving Moose the silent treatment. I can’t remember what for but I am sure he probably made one too many of his stupid Dad puns. Lawdy, I can hear him chuckling at himself even now.

Every single one of us cried in that 5 hour period, at least once. I will swear even on my deathbed that the third time Moose had to use the bathroom, it was so he could sob privately and not because as he declared in bath linens, “He had to see a man about a Wallaby.” I personally lost my shit both deciding on a mattress and a dining room table. And the kids. Oh those poor innocent children. We pretty much owe them big time for going through the horrors that is the lamp department. Like ‘out of state tuition” owe them.

We ate TWICE, that is how long we were there. In the cafeteria we introduced the kids to Swedish meatballs, cafeteria quality mashed potatoes and waffles with cherries. They were allowed to pick a hot dog or an ice cream later. We walked out of that store exhausted, with 4 big bags, a 5 mile long receipt, and an appointment for delivery the next day.

The Point of This Is…

They say Ikea is where relationships go to die. I totally get that. That day was not our first bumpy stroll through the maze and it wasn’t our last. Things got ugly that day. Real ugly. Someone threatened to burn the place to the ground and oddly enough, it wasn’t Red. But we made it out whole. As a family. Dude cuddled with me on the bus ride back to the apartment. We had one last dinner at our hotel that night and Moose and I toasted the success of the day. Blondie and I giggled through our last night in the girls’ room and in the morning, we packed up without a single snide comment. The store almost gobbled us up that day but she failed.

Today we went to Ikea. Blondie wanted a desk and bookcase in her room which led to lunch which led to checking out the Christmas displays which led to mulled wine samples. It’s Saturday which is normally Ikea suicide and today was no different. The entire store is shoulder to shoulder. However we did it without much fuss. Did we bicker? Sure. No trip is complete without threat of pillow farts or throat punches. But the kids behaved very well and none of us cried. I couldn’t help but marvel as we walked home from the bus stop about how far we have come.

Ikea can try as hard as she wants but she will not break this family.


The Problem With Fridays

Published / by copperyuenger / 2 Comments on The Problem With Fridays
My lunch today, very much NOT cheesy enchiladas.


It is Friday! We made it. Like most weeks, we are crawling our way to the finish line. Maybe more so because of Halloween, a few days off from school here, and the time change last Sunday (don’t freak out, it changes this upcoming Sunday in the States). Nevertheless, here we are. So raise those coffee cups!

Chaotic Balance

Friday is a crazy busy day for me here. No matter how much we bust our ass during the week to keep ahead, by Friday it has all unraveled. The kids only have school until 1:00. That doesn’t leave me for a lot of time to get what I need to get done, let alone what I want to get done. Groceries need bought for the weekend or, at the very least, for the day.  I try to catch up on the laundry  piled high from the week some so it doesn’t call my name all weekend. I try to get the house straightened up, at the very least the bathrooms and our living room. Inevitably, I have to grab a gift, buy someone new shoes, or picked up a package that our postman couldn’t be bothered to deliver. By the time pick up comes along, I am exhausted.

Sure, I could plan better during the week so every Friday isn’t like this. Planning is not really my style anymore though. Truth be told, sometimes I say screw it and do none of these things (Psst…today). I drink coffee and fantasy shop on Amazon for hours, music in the background, enjoying a few hours of peace. We are a regular fixture at our local Greek restaurant on Friday nights. Groceries get bought on Saturday with everyone in tow. The apartment stays in a comfortable state of messy. It is all about balance. Chaotic balance.

Friends, Food, and Laughter

It doesn’t matter which direction my Friday goes in though, it is the hardest day of the week for me. My loneliness is palpable of Fridays. My mind drifts often, no matter what I am up to, to where I would be if I was home. I am always aware that there would be volunteer work in the morning, likely followed by a store run for whatever trouble we were up to. Lunch on Fridays should always be loud and ridiculous, surrounded by the people I adore. We eat too much Mexican and let our favorite waiter talk us into one more margarita, more than once. Play dates at the park after school often lead to late dinners at Skeeters or pizza and card games.

It is my favorite day and here, it feels empty no matter how I fill the day. I am more aware on Fridays more than any other day that I go days, weeks even, without talking to people that don’t share my bed or DNA.

The Price I Pay

If you ask me on a Friday about our time here, I will more than likely avoid the subject. I am not always unhappy on Fridays, quite the opposite really, but my mind always drifts back to Texas.  Please don’t confuse my rant for a desire to go home. Walking home from drop off, I still mentally count my lucky stars that we have the opportunity to live here and give the kids this experience. “Holy shit, we live in Europe.” passes through my lips no less than once a week.

Fridays are the price I pay for our time here, a price I gladly pay but it still hurts. It is the day I yearn to talk to my friends the most. The problem being, they are all living their Friday without me and I won’t take that away. I just mark another week off the calendar and hope they save my spot for when I get back.

Making November My Month

Published / by copperyuenger / 5 Comments on Making November My Month

Halloween is officially in the books and Christmas is right around the corner. The crock pot is getting more use and I am finally getting to wear my knit hat when I leave the house versus brushing my hair on a regular basis. The air has gotten crisp, the leaves have fallen and the trees no longer protect my TV screen from the glare of the sun during the day. This alone has opened up a lot of time for me.

A new year is approaching and like most people, it often leaves me wondering two things. What have I accomplished this year? What would I like to accomplish next year?

Those are crickets you hear, by the way. Sure, as a family, we have had one hell of a year. As an individual though, I have been knee deep in survival mode and I am not happy with how I have used my time this year. I have spent a lot of time thinking about what to do instead of doing what I want to do.

What Do You Want To Do, Copper?

What an open ended question. I want to take a nap. Pierce my nose. Get a new tattoo. Read more books. Travel by myself.

I do spend a lot of time thinking about these things. Maybe I should do them. Yes, I will do them. I promise. But is that what I am really asking myself? No. I am an individual for the first time in a long time. Yes, I still am a mom. It is still a full time job. But there has been a change in the winds and I spend less and less energy on the survival of my kids. At this point, it is about love and food and shelter and less about butt wipes and keeping them from hurting themselves. Honestly if someone swallows a Lego at this point in time, it is kind of on them not me. Besides, they will be fine. It’s going to hurt in a day but lessons are painful sometimes.

But I digress…

I am finally someone other than “Mom” for a large portion of the day. I don’t know who to be now.

Writing Words and Stuff

Except that I think I do. I love doing this right here. I love writing. Never has it been a chore for me to sit here and type away. Not once. As I walk home every day from dropping the kids off, more often than not, my mind drifts to doing this.

I want to write in this blog more often. I would love to write for other websites. Most importantly, I think I would like to write a book. Or 20. It is crazy, I know. I most likely will have to self publish, which is hella scary because I don’t know what I am doing and it can be expensive. I know nothing about the process of writing a book. I am not even that good with getting the word thingies on the paper thingy. I don’t even know where to begin. And no one will likely buy it. I have a handful of friends that love me enough to read it but surely I am not so big of a dick that I would make them pay for their copy.

However, I am going to do it. I have nothing to lose but my time, money and dignity. Most of that went out the door with my kids already. So why not?

So…What’s The Problem?

For no less than 5 months, I have walked in the door, all ready for today to be the day. Unfortunately, the first room I pass is my laundry room. So I start a load of clothes. There’s the broom! I sweep up the sand in the hallway. I take the dustpan into the kitchen to dump it and then start on dishes. Pour myself a cup of coffee and while it is getting cold, I make the bed. I reheat it and talk myself into an episode of tv and some cross stitch while I drink it. 4 episodes later. the laundry still needs flipped and I am hungry. So lunch it is. By now the horrible decision to stay up late AGAIN the night before catches up with me and I take a snooze. Boom. My day is over.

The problem is, I am horrible at habits. Sure, I have all the bad habits down pat. Like my daily routine that I just described. Or my phone addiction. Or my collection of discarded socks by my spot on the couch. But good habits, like drink more water and get a good night sleep or be a productive member of society? Nope.

Creating Better Habits

Step one for me at this point is getting myself to the point of writing every day. I have known that for awhile but I was looking at a bigger picture, starting the book. I was overwhelmed by that. So, we are going to think smaller here.

It is November and in the writing community, that means NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, is here. It is simply a yearly challenge to create, to dedicate yourself to write 50,000 words to your novel in the month of November. One day at a time.

I love this idea and I wish I was in a place to participate this year but I am not. I need a little more work on me before I do. So, I have my own challenge. I am going to write a blog post every day in November. 400 words or more. They won’t all be winners. Prepare to hear about my ode to the grocery store. But I will publish them nevertheless.

Why November? Why 30 days? Because that is how long it takes for a habit to stick. 30 days of writing will put me either on the right track to start or tell me if I need to start even smaller. 30 days will give me time to organize other parts of my life so that I can dedicate my days to this. 30 days of blog writing will allow me talk myself in and out of this the obligatory five times before I finally decide to jump in.

Why Am I Telling You This?

Simply put, I don’t answer to myself very well but I don’t like to disappoint others. If I kept this a secret, I will fail. However, now you know and I can’t back down. Please tell others. The more, the merrier. I feed on peer pressure. Call me out if you don’t see a post by 9 pm. Tell me what you think. Give me writing prompts. Join me in the challenge to put your own thoughts out there. No pressure but you are now involved in my process. I could have warned you in the beginning but nah. Now you are stuck.

I will be forever grateful, maybe even mention your name in the book. Perhaps a free signed copy. When I am famous, I pinky swear to still know you in public. Just kidding, I probably won’t. It will be because I am shitty with names and socially awkward NOT because I am famous. But I will try.

So here it begins, in 5….4…3…2…1.