My life, as told by Sophia Patrillo

Picture it: Germany 2014

A young(ish) wife gets off the train after spending the day working in the city. She makes her way through the streets of the small town. It’s a beautiful sunny day. Suddenly, she sees him: her husband, sitting outside a cafe eating an ice cream cone. She smiles thinking she’ll surprise him. As she walks on she sees someone else sitting at the table. She doesn’t know this person. Maybe her eyes are playing tricks on her. The sun is low, maybe she only thinks the two are at the same table. She makes her way forward debating whether she, too, should have some ice cream— her waistline is not as slim as it once was! As she approaches the table, she realizes she’s made a grave mistake. The other person is sitting at the table with her husband. She’s shocked.

That young woman was me. And the other person at the table, was my own son. His hair was so long and wild, that he looked like a new person after a haircut! Look how grown up this child looks:

All smiles after a haircut and an ice cream cone.

All smiles after a haircut and an ice cream cone.

I am so thankful I had a C-section

Yes, you read that right.

Tonight, my very insightful 3 year old asked “How did I come out of your belly??” Now, I’m not the kind of mom to sugar coat much on the biology/anatomy front. I believe in honest age-appropriate answers. He knows that sometimes women have big bellies because they are growing babies. But I was relieved to be able to answer honestly, “Well, honey, the doctor had to cut my tummy a little bit and pull you out.” I mean, let’s face it, explaining vaginal delivery is not exactly age-appropriate for any age.

Just another little gripe session

I’ve made a decision. I’m buying our house. Let me re-phrase that, when we have money saved in like 8 years and we can buy a house, I’m picking it out. I might let my husband express his opinion, but I will make the decision by myself.

This apartment has been nothing but one problem after another. The kitchen is a disaster. We bought a fullsize dishwasher b/c the small one we had was way too small. We measured everything and thought, ok, perfect, just enough room for a regular sized dishwasher. Well, guess what. The wall is crooked! So, while there is enough room at the front to put the dishwasher in, but it stops about 2/3 of the way and gets stuck on the wall. Our old apartment was pretty awful, and I will admit that this place is an improvement. But seriously y’all, I was only able to deal with the old apartment because I could close my eyes, take a deep breath and remind myself that it was only temporary. Now A says that we have to stay here until we buy a house (in 8 years)! Gah!!!

Oh, and the only reasons I relented and accepted this apartment is because the rent was slightly less and it had a yard for O to play in. Guess what, he doesn’t like to go outside and play by himself.

If you’ll excuse me now, I’m going bang my head on the wall. I’ll try the wall where the dishwasher belongs, maybe I can knock off some of the plaster so I can get my dishwasher in place ._.



Update: Our landlord came over tonight. He had to take out a cabinet next to the dishwasher, but now the dishwasher is under the counter and working. Oh, and now there is only one cabinet and an oven in between the sink and dishwasher. One less foot of dripping water when I load the dishwasher! Now, where in the heck am I going to stick this cabinet???

I think I should add “drinking more” to my New Year’s resolutions

I’m considering learning voodoo. Or perhaps finding a special novena to pray. Maybe I should just burn some sage and glue salt to my ceiling to keep the bad juju from falling in on our heads.

Whatever I do, I’m going to have to do it quick. You see, as someone not quite cut-out for confrontation, I’m running out of options. Our upstairs neighbors are, nicely put, asshats. One or both of them drinks (really) heavily. They fight roughly 5 times a week. Loudly. Throwing furniture. Till 2 am sometimes and then they’re at it again at 7 the next morning. Rumor has it he beats her, and by the looks of her face, I believe the rumors. Oh, and they’re in their mid to late seventies. I keep thinking that I’d be too old for this shit, so they are double-y to old to be living out a Rhianna-Chris Brown love affair.

We’ve called the landlord. We’ve called the cops several times. The cops came once, but when they rang our bell, Penny started barking and the people upstairs shut up for the 5 minutes the police were here. They basically said unless someone calls out for help, they really couldn’t do anything. I’ve taken to playing music rather loudly during the day. Which, when I go out in the hall or down to the cellar, I can’t hear it, so then I have to wonder, How f—ing loud are these people? I mean, we can hear entire arguments. He was calling out for help the other day and Armin heard her say something to the effect of wanting an apology for something. We eventually called the cops, who then called an ambulance. Supposedly the old man fell… Fell? Drunkenly stumbled? Was pushed by his wife? Who the heck knows?

The funny part is, when we moved into the building I worried that we would be the loud ones.

My kid eats broccoli!

I mean, I’m not trying to brag or anything, but yeah, I’m bragging. Because what mother isn’t thrilled when her three year old loves a veggie? A weird, tree looking, full of vitamins and fiber veggie? Exactly. I mean, the only thing I can think of is that I love broccoli. So he’s been getting it since the womb. And I never really listened to the “don’t eat this or your kid will get gas” breastfeeding advice (actually, some of that advice, I didn’t get until after the fact, and since he wasn’t anymore gassy on the veggies than off, well, I just kept eating them). So we eat a good bit of it in our house. And Oma makes it quite often, too.

So today I was at home and I wanted some soup. Hmmm…. I had some beans and some tomato sauce, I could make minestrone… again. But really, it was already late and I needed to have dinner ready in less than an hour, so, no, no minestrone. Then I spied the broccoli chilling in the fridge. I thought, What the heck? I could try some broccoli soup. How hard could that be?

Well, it did turn out to be a bit of work (and a few too many dishes to be washed). But oh my word—- it was an AMAZING soup! Like Armin even complimented it (that says a lot, normally I might hear a pleasant grunt if he likes it— he really doesn’t understand that you’re supposed to kiss the butt of the woman who makes all your meals). So, I’m posting my recipe here. I found a recipe online, but i didn’t have everything it called for, so I kind of made up my own way. If I don’t write it down, then I’ll forget. Feel free to try it, maybe your kids will eat broccoli too.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

1-2 Tbsp butter (I used unsalted b/c that’s what they sell here)

1/2 small onion (finely diced)

1 tsp garlic (minced)

3+ cups of broccoli (florets and some stems, roughly chopped)

3 cups of broth (I used a bit of both: chicken and veggie)

3 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp flour

1 1/2 cups milk

1/2 cup cream or half and half

1/2-1 tsp salt

1/4- 1/2 tsp pepper

2-3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese (grated)

  • Saute the onions in the butter until soft and golden.
  • Throw in the garlic and broccoli.
  • Add the broth really quickly, saying “Oh crap! The broccoli’s gonna burn!”
  • Let that simmer for ten minutes or until the broccoli get pretty soft. Go ahead and drag out the blender while you wait. You can also start melting the 3 Tbsp butter in a small saucepan.
  • Take portions of broccoli and broth out and blend/puree in the blender. The recipe online was all about putting it in a new bowl or something so that you could puree every last bit, but I thought that I’d save a bowl and keep some broccoli chunks. (Good thing, because O kept asking for more broccoli in his soup!) If I were smart or savvy or whatever, I could have also had one of those hand-held blender things, but I’m not one of the cool kids. Keep your soup on low while you work on the milk mixture.
  • When the butter in the small saucepan is melted, add in your flour, stirring really well. Then add the milk and cream. Keep stirring while it all heats up.
  • Add the milk mixture to the broccoli slop and viola! You have cream of broccoli soup. Add in the salt and pepper and Parmesan. I’d recommend tweaking those amounts to your family’s particular tastes.
  • When you 3 year old spills it on the table. Point out that it looks like snot. This will actually encourage him to eat more of it.

If you like to live dangerously and callously pour in the milk without measuring, have no fear: you can always add a bit of cornstarch to thicken it up when you’ve outdone yourself on the liquids. I live very dangerously, thus, I know this trick well.

Anyway, it’s that time of year for soups and warm drinks. I’m hating the cold here in Germany, but at least I can find yummy ways to warm us up!


Reality check: where are my priorities?

About three weeks ago I wanted to cook something. I looked on the counter. I looked in the fridge. I came to a conclusion: “I don’t have a single onion in the house. What is my life coming to?”

Now most people would think, “So what? Ya ain’t got any onions. Just go buy some more.” But the thing is. I’ve always had onions. Like, I’ll buy more before I run out. And then they just stare at me from their two separate bags (because of course I buy them in bulk). It is the staple of almost every single dish I every learned to cook. It’s probably just a south Louisiana thing. I’m sure my mother in law doesn’t use onions every single day. I’m sure she wouldn’t have a moment of self-doubt if she found her onions were no more.

I’ll blame my lack of onions on the move from one city to another. Yeah, that’s it. Everything was just in a state of upheaval. Boxes of stuff in two separate apartments. Driving almost everyday back and forth. At one point, Husband stayed in the new city with his parents and O and I slept in the apartment in Mössingen.

Now we’re all sleeping at the parents’ house in the new city. We still can’t use the sink b/c the dishwasher isn’t hooked up. I’ll have picture of my stupid new kitchen to explain that story on another day. But things are getting a bit back to “normal” whatever that means… I bought onions. There’s not much else to eat, but we have onions.

Time marches on…


No make up, wrinkles just hanging out there for the world to see.

I’m getting older. It’s obvious. I can see the little lines around my eyes when I smile or laugh. We celebrated my baby’s 3rd birthday (and my own 3-0 is marked with both frowney and smiley faces on the calendar sooner than I’d like). I’ve owned a dog of my own long enough that she’s now taking arthritis pills with her kibbles. But nothing tells me that more than the way my body feels. In the mornings I can feel just a hint of stiffness in these old joints. I’ve had a nagging pain in my back on and off since O was a a newborn. I’m tired after ambling around in the heat without AC on these lovely German summer days. My knees ache after kneeling in church or when O climbs on them. My face may sometimes hide my age, but this week my body told me just how old I really am. After several days of staying up late and waking up early planning for the greatest pirate birthday party Germany has ever seen, it was very near shutting down on me. Everything just hurt. I was so tired last night I almost felt drunk (before my celebratory piña colada).

I was thankful for the rain today. It gave me a chance to recover after such a fun/festive/feverish week. We stayed inside and just snuggled/rested on the sofa for the most part. But I’m wondering, if you stay in your pajamas all day, do you just go to bed in those same pajamas? I’m thinking it might be less sad if I at least put on a fresh pair…