Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Sniffles and Surprise Baskets

This morning I woke up and peeked out the bedroom window. Rain. And it was cold. And my nose was clogged on one side. And it was hard to breathe. And so I fluffed my pillow, leaned against it, covered myself tightly with the feather comforter and went back to sleep.

At 9:00 I woke up to the sound of my husband saying something along the lines of "looks like a lousy day out there". I agreed.

My head was still stuffy. I felt like staying wrapped up in  the warmth of the blanket all day but, instead, I rolled out of bed and grabbed the Sunday paper. Except I didn't read it. I just completed the two Sudoku and wracked my brain over the crossword puzzle.

I didn't feel like reading it. I decided I was just going to spend the day being lazy, writing a bit (I'm taking part in two writing challenges in November), doing whatever I please, anything that might help me forget that my head felt like something strange had moved in there and brought a heck of a lot of items with it, all of them stuffed in the crevices of my wee little head. Forget reading the news. Forget church. Forget anything that couldn't wait until tomorrow. But not breakfast.

At our house on most Sundays we enjoy an American breakfast. Sometimes it is scrambled eggs and chives with English muffins. Other times fried eggs, sausage and home fries or perhaps Weisswurst und Suessersenf mit warme Brezeln (German veal sausages that are eaten with sweet mustard and warm baked German pretzels...yeah, okay. That doesn't qualify as American breakfast but it is tasty.) On rare ocassions we might do carbs--French toast with fresh cinnamon apple topping, buckwheat pancakes with bananas, nuts, and maple syrup. Homemade oatmeal. But today we were having my favorite. Omelettes. The best part? Sicky me didn't need to prepare it. Stefan made the coffee and then started cooking breakfast. He is the best.

My favorite is mushroom-onion-cheese but we didn't have any fresh mushrooms. So instead we shared a red bell pepper-onion-and-cheese omelette with salsa. Yum! I had breakfast sausages and Stefan had a Pennsylvania specialty....scrapple. And he had it all to himself because neither Katarina or I eat it.  As usual, Katarina had eggs sunny side up and bacon.

For those of you who have never seen scrapple, here's his plate.

After breakfast came the basket surprise. On our doorstep I found this.

Sorry. You'll have to turn your head. My computer is acting up and I'm on Katarina's and it wouldn't let me flip the pic. Anyway, what's inside it? Let me see if I can find a closer shot.

Two loafs of braided bread, a marble cake, homemade Jochelbeeren Marmalade (jam made from Jochelbeeren....I don't know the name in English but it is a cross of red currants and gooseberries. Yum!), and homemade Quitten Likör (quince liquor).

Who would do such a thing? Nicole! She loves to baking and canning. So why did she give me this lovely gift? Well, I am sure that she'd tell you it's because of a project we are taking part in this year where you "pay it forward" to 5 people by giving them a homemade gift and 5 people do the same for you. Not only am I on her list, but she is on mine. But I know that's not the real reason she did it. She did it because she loves me.



Then we all just hung out, hiding from the rain. Later we ate some of that marble cake. It must be magical cake, because the sun started to shine. Stefan went out for a run. I ran my overdue books to the library. Katarina did those things teenagers do, then she went to her boyfriend's house.

Stefan and I took a walk later. While we did the clouds changed from white to almost amber then pink. Soon the sun dropped out of sight and it was dark. I hate this time of year, after switching the clocks back. You leave home in the morning when morning has barely broken and return home to darkness. Not my idea of fun.

Now, in just one hour, Sunday will be over. It wasn't very productive, but it turned out to be an okay day. Also, my nose is no longer clogged. Instead, it is running like a fountain. You can't win them all.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge - Vol. 143

Wednesday Hodgepodge-Volume 143

Here are the questions to this week's Hodgepodge by our lovely hostess, Joyce, and my answers. To take part in Wednesday Hodgepodge, click on the picture below for more info.

1. What's one thing that's still the same about you as when you were young?

Lots of things. I still like animals. Enjoying learning new things. Like to write. Enjoy time with friends. Love my mommy and daddy. Am a night-owl. Some things never change.

2. What's more important--history or science? Why?

To me, this is like most comparative questions. Why does one have to be more important than the other? It's like asking if mental/emotional health is more important than physical health, or if a mother is more important than a father, or if food is more important than beverages. BOTH are equally important in life. Don't make me choose!

3. Lima, kidney, string, garbanzo, black or pinto-your favorite bean?

I like beans. Limas are my least favorite and, honestly, I only eat them when I must. I think it is a toss up between kidney beans (nothing like a nice spicy chili with beans) or garbanzo beans (they're so versatile).

4. What's something people come to your town to do?

HA! This is a silly question. Why anyone would come to this cow town? Hmmm...we have a population of approximately 500 people, one street light, one restaurant (though it is a kick-ass, real Italian establishment with awesome food), a small plumbing business and a local electrician. Our only point of interest for "outsiders" (other than the formerly-mentioned restaurant) is our old, historic oil mill. There is a mini-museum inside. It is open to the public once a month, sometimes more often in summer months. Here is a photo I took of it last year.

5. When was the last time you were in a meeting? Sum it up for us in five words or less. 

Last night. Parent-teacher meeting.

6. What special event would you like a VIP pass to attend?

Gosh! I had no idea. If the opportunity presented itself, I would be more than happy to sit down with a few writers and pick their brains. Also, a few singers/musicians would be interesting subjects to spend time with. Political figures as well. But an organized event that I absolutely wouldn't want to miss? My mind is blank at the moment. Need. More. Coffee.

7. What's one piece of advice you'd give a writer?

Write because you love to write. Plain and simple. (Yes, I know this is not very original but it is the best reason to write, isn't it?)

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

This week we ate one of the first jalapeños from our garden. A bit mild. We were disappointed. I also used some of our kale to make kale chips for the first time. We all thought they were tasty.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Snippets

I keep wanting to join in on Friday Fragments but never seem to be online on a Friday. So today I am creating the Sunday equivalent...Sunday Snippets. I'll be telling you just a snippet of what has been going on the past two weeks.

Last week school started. Katarina wasn't too thrilled about that.

On the Friday after school began, we went on our annual motorcycle trip with the Dorfgemeinschaft (a group that organizes town events and activities for its memebers). It rained that day (maybe because it was Friday the 13th?) However, the weather on Saturday and Sunday was better.  We went to Koenigsee. It took almost 4 hours for those of us who took the most direct routes, much longer for those who travelled the scenic route). I'll be posting about that later but for now here is one photo from that weekend.

This Friday we went to a company grill party complete with big smoker and a bar. There were tasty ribs, pulled pork, slabs of perfectly grilled beef (red in the middle, the way I like), and shrimp skewers. A lot of work went into it because all marinades and sauces were from scratch. The men did a great job. There were also a variety of salads, breads, desserts. 

On Saturday we were with members of our town group again (our Dorfgemeinschaft) for our annual bus trip. This year we visited Strasbourg, France which is only about a two to two-and-a-half hour drive for us. The weather was perfect. Again, more on that later but for now....a photo.

Today our Dorfgemeinschaft played in the annual soccer tournament. Despite being low on players this year, we managed to hold on to our second year title. Hurray!

Also, today is an important day in Germany. It is election day. We'll have to wait and see if Merkel will remain in office or if we will have a new leader (but I have a feeling she is going to win.)

That's the past two weeks in a nut shell (or in snippets). More to come later.

* * * * * * *

UPDATE: As expected, Merkel won.

Also, since I wrote about my weekend travels of varying lengths I ask this question of you:

What is the furthest you've driven for a weekend trip?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

TAOS Skybar - Schorndorf

On Monday my girl goes back to school. I don't think she is looking forward to it. Really. After 8 weeks of "freedom", what teenager wants to return to school? They might want to see friends who were away most of the summer, but other than that, none of them are eager to get back to the books, classes, tests, and the resulting decrease in free time. But so it goes.

To make the countdown to doomsday a bit more enjoyable, we spent last week in Vienna, Austria. I've got much to say about that and will have several upcoming posts covering our visit there. Right now I want to tell you what we did this evening. 

 In April a new place opened in Schorndorf. It's called the TAOS Skybar. High above the clay tile roofs of the city, you can enjoy cocktails and/or a bite to eat while enjoying a fabulous view. Unfortunately, they only take reservations for groups of 10 or more, so we got there right at opening (5 PM).  We took the glass elavator to the 9th floor.

Upon entering, the first thing you see is the massive bar which is fully-stocked for any drink you desire. The room is very cozy and modern, with cushy divans, artsy wooded tables and glass. I really wish I had taken a photo of this room but I didn't. I'll post a link to their online photo gallery at the end and if you are curious, you can take a peek.

We decided to sit outside, so we walked up the stairs to the tenth floor where there is another room that leads to the balcony.

From the glass balcony, you can see over the town square.

You can sit in high chairs facing the glass walls.

Or you can sit in the cushy chairs with wood chunk tables. We chose to sit in the front right corner facing the town square (shown in earlier photo) with a view of the Marktplatz, city hall, and other various points of interest.

Stefan ordered a dry martini and since it was a beautiful summer day, I decided to drink a Hugo. So refreshing. Katarina won't be old enough for alcohol until next year, so she ordered a peach ice tea.

Then we ordered FOOD!

Vietnamese spring rolls with soy sauce and spicy sauce for dipping 

fresh steak tartar

and a pile of grilled shrimp with aioli and another sauce
for dipping


the assorted cheese platter with a bread basket.

A few more drinks.


Decided to skip dessert.

Of course, there was also a bit of people watching from up above. This group of men was interesting. It's not every day you see a bunch of masked characters walking the streets at night in Lederhosen.

Yeah, okay. So I actually added those masks to the pictures. A girl's gotta have some fun, right? The original photo was nice, but this one is so much more interesting.  Don't you think?

Katarina thought it was pretty cool when an old plane flew by.

I'm not much of a person for old planes. I like other flying things, like dragonflies and birds. So when a bunch of swallows starting swooping in circles right above us, I got a kick out of it. They seemed to be enjoying the weather and the wonder of their wings. I spent too much time watching them and only got a really bad shot of one swallow. Blurry. And tiny. And it sort of looks like the photo of the plane. Oh, well. It was fun watching them.

Afterwards we took a stroll through town.

It was a nice evening. We plan on going there again some time.

If you would like to see more photos from the TAOS Skybar in Schorndorf, CLICK HERE to visit their photo gallery.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Friday Fragments - Week of Surprises

Since I often don't have time to write a long blog post, I've decided to participate in Friday Fragments (FF) each Friday. FF was started by Mrs4444 and her explanation is: "Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard." But if you string them all together, there's more than enough for a post. To learn how you can partipate, CLICK HERE to go to this weeks Friday Fragments post which has a link to the rules.

So, here are a few bits and pieces of what has happened in my world between last Friday and this Friday.


Saturday is usually a work-around the house day. This week there was much work to be done in the garden. Trimming bushes, mowing grass, tending to the garden, picking blackerries and cucumbers and zucchini (and zucchini and zucchini). Afterwards we went to the Häckselplatz. If you don't live in Germany, you are probably asking, "What the heck is a Häckselplatz?" A Häckselplatz is the place where you may take your grass clipping and twig/branch trimmings free of charge. At certain times of the year you can get free compost or mulch for your garden.

So why am I telling you this? Well, after we dumped all of our garden material and I got in the car, Stefan say "Hey, come back out here. Look at this!" Hiding in back of our car (probably came from within the bush clipping) was a Pappelschwärmer (Poplar hawk moth). Look at the size of it! Isn't it a beauty.



On Sunday we had the pleasure of meeting with old friends. Rick, who went to school with Stefan, and his friend Mark are taking a long cruise through Europe (three months long) and had a stop scheduled for Regensburg. It is a two and a half hour drive for us but how often does the opportunity to meet with old friends on this side of the ocean happen? We just had to go. What a nice time we had with them. We went to the Biergarten, had discussions on a million topics, and walked along the water. I wish we'd had more time with them.

Stefan, Rick, Mark, and Me (Katarina took the photo) 

Of course, I had to take a few pics while there.Here is one I took shortly before we left for home.


I often have work (poetry, flash fiction, or art/photos) in The Poetic Pinup Revue. I received my tearsheet for the August issue. Here it is. The photo is mine; the written work is by someone else. I won't have the person's full name until I receive my contributor's copy and will credit them at that time.

To order a copy of The Poetic Pinup Revue, CLICK HERE. If you order a copy (or two or three different issues...right now they are running a sale for their Facebook fans, so check that out if you are on FB) then please remember to fill out the "Who sent me" line of the order form. That way they'll know that I sent you their way.


Yesterday we read in the newspaper about a free jazz concert nearby. It is part of the"culture program" in our area. Often there are book readings, concerts, events/activities that are free to the public. Oh, gosh, I love Germany. There is always something going on. So tonight we went there and listened to a bit of jazz. Be-bop-e-boo-bop!

That's all for this week's Friday Fragments. Be sure to stop back next week for my wrap-up of events.

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Begin Again

I am going to be posting here again. I think I may divide it into two different topics. One will be posts on my life. The other will be related to news in Germany. I think the personal posts will remain in the usual format. The news clips/responses will be done once a week, about 2 or 3 things of interest, possibly in conjuction with the Friday Fragments group.

Stay tune.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge - March 6, 2013

After my blogging break I started posting over at my Lind-guistics blog but not here. So today I am joining in on the Wednesday Hodgepodge which is organized by Joyce over at From This Side of the Pond. All one needs to do is answers the questions she provides on Tuesday. (Yep, that's right. She gives you the questions a day ahead of time, because she knows you all have busy lives and, well, she's just nice.)  So why not join in? You can find the "rules" HERE.

Now, here are my answers for this week's questions.

1. My real life friends came through with another question this week so thank you real life friends. When you've eaten in a restaurant do you complete their comment card? Do you take online surveys highlighted at the bottom of store receipts? 

We don't eat out too often (both my husband and I love to cook) and I've never seen one of those cards in any of the restaurants we visit in Germany. So, I guess my answers is no. We do, however, let people know when we are happy. Whether it be a super flight attendent, an excellent chef, or helpful service personnel, you can always show your appreciation by writing a letter or email. Businesses are always happy to receive correspondence giving them a pat on the back for what they are doing well and not just complaints from unsatisfied customers.

2. The (US) ban on women in combat was lifted at the end of January. It will probably be next year before specifics are worked out, but its been reported over 200,000 front line positions will eventually open up to women.  Your thoughts?

I think there are women who will be capable of doing this. However, I also believe there might be less women enrolling in military service in the future. I know I couldn't do it.

3.  In looking back at all the blog posts you've written, what's your favorite post title

Well, that's a difficult one to answers. I must confess, I don't think I have any stellar titles on this blog, but there are quite a few I like from Lind-guistics. I can't decide on just one so I will let you decide. Here are a few of them. Tell me which one you like the best in the comments section, and if you want you can even read a few of the posts. Perhaps the titles will draw you in.

My First Experience with a Certain O Word 

i'm gonna' freak ya'll out with wizards, wacky weed, and jellybeans 

Is I better than you and should i freak you out? 

S is for eggs! Well, sort of.

4. What's worse--overly permissive parents or overly protective parents?  Did your own parents lean more to the permissive or the protective category?  If you're a parent where do you fall?

I think it is worse to be an overly protection parent. Children need to explore, push the limits and make mistakes in order to learn. This is not to say we should let children do whatever they want. If they are engaging in something which is a danger to themselves or others, we need to step in. Therefore, we let them explore but try to be aware of what they are doing at the same time.

My parents were a bit of both. They were more laid back with me, because I never gave them any reason to worry. They trusted me to make the right decisions. (Of course that doesn't mean I never did anything stupid. I did my fair share, just nothing extreme.) They were a bit more strict with one of my brothers at times, but overall they were middle-of-the-line, leaning toward the permissive end. I, myself, try to be the same way. However, I am not so sure my teenage daughter would agree.

5.  Candlelight-moonlight-firelight-bright lights in the big city...which one's your favorite?

It doesn't matter to me as long as my hubby is with me, but I guess I will go with firelight. Not only do you have the blazing visual but also a nice warmth to cuddle next to.

6. Dr. Seuss's birthday was celebrated on Saturday. What's a favorite book you remember (Seuss or otherwise) from your own childhood?  Did books play an important role in your growing up years? Explain.

I loved Dr. Seuss. I mean, what kid from my generation didn't? I liked Green Eggs and Ham and remember having them in school. I once made them for my daughter when she was younger. I also enjoyed The Cat in the Hat. As I got older though, one of my favorites (and perhaps lesser known books of his) was I Wish that I had Duck Feet. It is still my favorite today.

Of course, I was an avid reader as a child. I read Beverly Cleary and loved Judy Blume books. I also remember certain books, such as Where the Wild Things Are, How to Eat Fried Worms, Harriet the Spy, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, etc. When I was older and studying to be an elementary school teacher, I discovered a whole batch of new books that were awesome. Then later as a mother reading books to a kid, I discovered even more great ones. Even to this day I still love children's literature.

7.  To quote Dr. Seuss...

 "From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere." 

from One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

Share something funny you've recently read, seen or heard.

Well, I can't share them, but I've been receiving some funny poems for my Birthday Bash Poetry Contest in honor of Dr. Seuss. If you want to enter, CLICK HERE for more information.

I did, however, read a silly pun list the other day. I'm not sure how funny you'll think these are, but they are all punny.

     I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.

     I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. I can't put it down.

     What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary?  A thesaurus. 

     (Here's one that isn't word related.) When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

 Nick Wilford has put together an anthology with seventy stories of both fiction and non-fiction as well as poetry about overcoming adversity and is currently selling it as an eBook (It will also be available in print soon.)

The anthology is part of a fundraising effort to send Nick's stepson, Andrew, to a specialist college in England. Andrew has cerebral palsy, and is a remarkable young man with a promising future. However, the free further education options offered in his own country (Scotland) no longer challenge him nor and allow him to progress. In order to access the education he deserves, Andrew will have to pay exorbitant fees.  You can help by purchasing a copy of the book and by sharing this post with other. I know I will.

 If you are in the U.S., the price for the Kindle Edition is only $3.54. Just CLICK HERE to go to the page on Amazon.

To order on Amazon in the United Kingdom, CLICK HERE. The cost is

It is also available on SMASHWORDS and GOODREADS.

Oh, and did I mention that it features work by great writers such as E.J. Wesley, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and Kyra Lennon. There's even a short piece by me. So why not buy a copy? It's a win-win situation. You get great reading material and Andrew gets one step closer to his educational needs.