18 August 2010

Sunflower


I love the pick-your-own flower fields around where we live.  Simply find a spot to park, select your bouquet (bring scissors or a knife), and pay on your honor.  I couldn't pass up the sunflowers...three for one Euro.

06 August 2010

Trafalgar Square

Giant ship in a bottle
Trafalgar Square, London, July 2010

I love Trafalgar Square.  It sounds a pretty cliché thing to say, given its prominence as an icon for London, but there's just something about it.  During our recent jaunt back, we found ourselves there visiting the National Gallery (again) to see Van Gogh's Sunflowers (again).  But even amidst the art of the masters, the Square holds its own.  On this day, the fountain was sparkling, the skies were a brilliant blue, and this ship was sailing off to ports unknown.

Music from my iPod...Chances by Athlete





27 July 2010

A bit of promming, anyone?

Royal Albert Hall, London, July 2010

Whirlwind trip...all for a little boy who loves The Doctor.


23 July 2010

Love locks

Locks of love
Paris, June 2010

Keep your love under lock and key...especially in Paris.

On the Pont des Arts, the wooden pedestrian bridge  that transports one across the Seine to the Louvre, a simple padlock represents love and devotion.  Some plain, some engraved, strangely they seem an appropriate gesture in the city of love.  Unfortunately, not all think so.  There used to be thousands of locks on the bridge, but recently the vast majority disappeared.  It seems the powers that be in Paris think they are an eye-sore.  One can only conclude that these powers are the reason behind the disappearance.  However, some locks remain, further testament to the devotion they represent.  I wish that I would have had one with me to add to the collection.

29 June 2010

Gone fishing

Prime fishing hole
Oberammergau, April 2010

Oh how absent I've been.  Life and obligations get in the way, but I'm still here.

This photo is for my dad.  I missed Father's Day this year.  Rather than calling home, I was navigating the Paris rail system.  But Dad is never far from my thoughts, as evidenced by this photo I snapped for him during a trip to Oberammergau this past April.  Being the man who taught me how to fish, I knew he would appreciate this glorious little spot.  The hole was filled with trout that aren't visible in the picture.  Oh what I would have given for a pole...and my dad standing next to me.

08 May 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Three generations
Schloss Hohenheim, November 2009

03 May 2010

23 April 2010

Too cold for a picnic


When we decided to go to Tübingen the other day, we thought we'd just pack a picnic and lunch in the town square.  The weather had been decent in the days preceding, so we figured it was a safe bet...until we got there and immediately changed our minds...it was downright cold.

And so we sought out a place to eat, stumbling almost immediately onto Alte Weinstube Göhner (Old Wine Bar Göhner).  Obviously a hangout for locals, it was small but welcoming.  And even though it didn't look like one, it reminded me of the 'mom & pop' diners I used to frequent as a child.  The owner greeted us with a smile and a hearty 'Grüß Gott'*.

The food was equally reminiscent of a diner, featuring regional Schwäbisch dishes. And although my Gaisburger Marsch (or what I affectionately call 'soup with meat and two starches') was not that great, the baked Maultaschen that my husband had was fabulous.  Plus, our son's schnitzel was really good, which is a gauge of a decent restaurant around here.  In the States, I measure a diner's worth with the quality of its hamburgers.  In Germany, I measure with schnitzel.

A far cry from the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we had packed, the Alte Weinstube Göhner was a welcome discovery on our little walkabout...and sometimes those are the best type of discoveries.



* 'Grüß Gott', or 'greet god', is the common greeting in southern Germany, rather than 'hello' or 'good day'.



18 April 2010

Not-so-blue skies


As my husband remarked during our walk today - is it a cloud or is it ash?  I tend to think it's the latter since satellite pictures show the Icelandic spew is over us now.


16 April 2010

Tübingen

Central Tübingen, April 2010


13 April 2010

Stopping for a drink

Refreshment break
Tübingen, Germany, April 2010



11 April 2010

All things western


I'm not sure why, but Germans seem to have an obsession with the culture of our American west.  Since we've moved here I've seen more allusions to the wild west and cowboys than in most parts of the United States.

Case in point...the above photo is my snack from last night's trip to the movies.  'Film Stars Little Sour Sticks'...with the said stick dressed in wild west garb.  Yes, it made me smile.

Fitting that I also heard Texas Lightning on the radio the day before.  A German country music band (recently split up), it doesn't get any better than that.


Related note:  Those are 3D glasses in the photo.  I  got to see 'Alice in Wonderland' last night...my first 3D movie experience.  Really enjoyable, despite moments of nausea as my eyes were trying to adjust.



24 March 2010

Think SPRING

'Denkpartner'
Friedrichsbau, Stuttgart, March 2010

Went for a head-clearing walk in the woods this morning. The weather is glorious right now. Bright sun, blue skies. Ducks were out on the pond. Birds were chirping. Spring is trying desperately to come to Germany. Too bad the weatherman is saying it's not going to last and that we still have a bit of cold to endure. Oh well, such is life...I just need to keep thinking positive 'spring' thoughts.


Music from my iPod...Our House by Madness



03 March 2010

Almost spring...

...although you wouldn't know it by the below-freezing temperatures this morning.

I've been quiet again. February was a bit hectic. I got to go through a battery of tests for my ear/sinus problems, including them taking pretty pictures of the inside of my head. Of course, those pretty pictures were about the only ones taken during the month. My poor camera thinks I don't love it anymore.

But February was also a good month, as it always is for us...

...because of things like this...

Angel food cake lovingly made by my husband and son for my birthday

...and this...

Putting the finishing touches on our son's birthday cake



Music from my iPod...Galway Girl by Steve Earle & Sharon Shannon


16 February 2010

Of love...and fishing

Raspberry-Apple Crumble
Our Valentine's dessert

I show love for my husband and son through food. For Valentine's Day, I always make them a special meal. It's just one of the ways to their hearts. I know I can't go wrong.

The first Valentine my husband gave me, while he was still just 'the boyfriend', included a bag of Kona coffee. I knew then I had to marry that man.

But in the realm of all time favorite Valentine gifts, my parents still hold one of the top spots. Every so often we would sit down to Valentine's dinner and there at our place would be our fishing license for the year. Few things said love like that. With the ranch keeping everyone constantly busy, the acknowledgment of a bit of fishing was like giving the gift of love and time, all wrapped into one. It was a real treat...just so long as you could stand the wait until the season actually started.


*******


Completely unrelated note: Watching the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, I had a complete sense of déjà vu when k.d. lang got on stage. How could it be twenty-two years since I heard her sing for the first time while watching the Olympic games in Calgary? I can remember buying her album, Absolute Torch and Twang, because of it. That cassette rode around in my pickup for ages.

Music from my iPod... Big Boned Gal by k.d. lang


22 January 2010

Burger

A serious burger - the result of my inaugural run

So I mentioned that one of my Christmas gifts was the meat grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer. I had been pining over it forever, but finally made my desire known to my husband this past year by stating, 'seriously, all I want for Christmas is that grinder.' He got the hint. Now I can make wonderfully coarse-ground hamburgers like one of our favorite haunts here in Stuttgart, the Block House.

13 January 2010

Sludge...and tall winter boots weather

Frozen Katzenbachsee
January 2010

Some have asked how hard we were hit with the storm that moved through Europe. Answer - we were hit, but not as severely as originally predicted. Don't get me wrong, we got plenty of snow and it isn't leaving anytime soon (the picture above is from earlier this month, so it doesn't reflect current conditions). I guess I would call this 'tall winter boots with jeans tucked into them' weather.

Walking to and from school has become a test of seeing how much sludge you can avoid. Sludge is a technical term that my son and I came up with. It refers to the nasty, brownish-grey snow slush that develops near and around road crossings and other high traffic areas. Some days we do better than others, but this morning was particularly sludgey on the walk home and my boots look as if I bathed them in a salt bath. Oh well, the joys of winter.


Note: I was also asked whether or not I managed to snap a few pics of the snowflakes. No sooner had I mentioned the lovely, perfectly shaped flakes, than the snow changed to small microscopic dots...which resulted in the blanketing that we received. But I promise, when the other type of snowflakes return I will do my darnedest to get a pic!

11 January 2010

Cowbell

I'm not one to have 'favorite' gifts. Come Christmas and birthdays, I am generally thrilled with any gift received, because I do believe it's the thought that counts.

But this year one Christmas gift stood out from the rest.

A Maasai cowbell!


My dear husband brought it back from a recent trip to Tanzania. He always finds the most perfect little gifts on his travels. I have to admit the trip also garnered me a pair of Tanzanite earrings (an anniversary gift). No offense dear, but I'm not sure which gift I treasure more.

I have it on display not too far from one of my family's cowbells. The contrast in appearance is striking, but the reason and use behind them is not. Our world is so small.

Yes, hands down, it is a favorite gift...well, it and the Swatch watch that my son gave me...and the meat grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid...and...

06 January 2010

Snowflakes

Snow on moss
January 2010


It's snowing again. Apparently we are just beginning to receive what has been hammering the UK. This weekend were are to expect a good blanketing.

On my walk to pick up our son from school, I noticed how beautiful the snowflakes are. This storm is very dry, so the flakes are perfectly formed. I was catching them on my gloves, examining their intricate designs. They looked as if they'd been cut with a punch. No matter the size, they were exquisite. True works of art.

And yes, more than once I had to make emergency maneuvers to avoid running into people because I was too busy staring at my hands.


Note: After telling my mom this story, she said I needed to get a picture of these snowflakes. I am kicking myself for not having my camera with me. With any luck, I'll have a chance this weekend to capture some.

04 January 2010

Back to reality

A snowy view
January 2010


While we didn't have a picture-perfect white Christmas, the snowy weather has come back to remind us that winter is only beginning. Today is a not-so-balmy -3°C/26°F with flurries.

Yesterday my good friend asked if I was ready to get back to reality. With school starting again today and my husband returning to work, the chaos of the holidays has officially come to an end. The reality of everyday life has returned and that is fine with me. Holidays are out, normal is back.

We spent the better part of the weekend taking Christmas out of the house. Don't get me wrong, I do love having a beautifully decorated holiday season, but once the calendar turns to January 2, I'm done. No sentimentality here, when the holidays are over it's time for things to look normal again. And today, to finally put it all to rest, I am transforming the last of our New Year's ham into a pot of beans for dinner. C'est fini.