New Years Eve Puzzle

Category: This is My Life

What in the hell is wrong with the dishwasher??

Aren’t my boys sweet? You see, life in Southern Germany is exciting tonight, I know you all wish you were here…

UPDATE - 9:15 p.m.

The dishwasher works again… a little measuring, a little soldering. Wow.

Now they are busy working out (in their heads) the burning mathematical problem: “With how many kilometers per hour would a maus-fanny impact the floor if she fell out of her chair laughing…”

Tell the truth - you really wish you were here, don’t you?


Category: This is My Life

Wow! Tis the surest sign that Christmas is over and New Years Eve is on the way - the kids are “testing” their purchased-today fireworks before they can’t purchase-more (Monday) for the Big Event Wednesday night.

Look there! Sparklers in the park…

A Wonderful Gift…

Category: The Artist In Me

from my friend Michael. He took me to the Museum Charlotte Zander in Bönnigheim this sunny afternoon. A wonderful collection “naive Kunst”, of paintings (and sculpture) by “uneducated” people who paint. These are not pictures composed and executed by Painters Who Studied Art. These are not models who were paid to sit still in tortuous positions under artificial lights in spare, sky lit studios. These artists are the unknown and the unnoticed.

The People Who Paint, like the People Who Write offer us a view of ourselves, with our lopsided smiles, our uneven eyes, and without our hands. Hands are difficult to draw, and The People Who Paint appear to be too busy painting to worry about how to draw a hand - so they hide them in flowers or underneath the fold of a skirt.

Ingenious are their solutions to the problem of hands.

These artists paint with a naive honesty that renders unimportant a perfect execution of perspective, offering us instead - their perspective. Alone in front of an empty canvas they muster the courage to do it wrong, pushing aside worries about hands and eyes. Imagination and memory are sufficient reasons to squeeze the tube.

The pictures are wonderful. Do I have the courage for this?

Afterwards, on the way home, high on a ridge, we are sitting on the pivot point of an ancient scale. To my left the full moon rises light and golden across the valley - to my right the fuschia sun sighs, sinking heavy behind horizon line.

It was an afternoon filled with poetry, carefully orchestrated to show me that art is less a matter of gritty courage - and more a matter of opening one’s heart, seeing with honest eyes and then, doing.

Michael, thank you.

Hey Lil Sissy…

Category: For My Sisters

If you are just sitting around, missing me (or not ;-) , and reading whatever nonsense crept into my brain and out my fingertips over the last few days… then you’ve got one minute to try this –> oneword

The World Is So Small Now

Category: This is My Life

…it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t always so.

Last night we were in the Jazz Keller in Stuttgart. The Chicagoans, a jazz sextet (drums, bass, sax, trumpet, guitar, clarinet, and piano ) made up of a well balanced group of international musicians played three sets of excellent jazz.

I was a little girl again…

…dancing on an old parquet, surrounded by a burgundy carpet. Wearing shiny black patent leather shoes, white stockings and my most glamorous red velvet dress for my special “date” with Grandfather John.

Dinner in the Starlight Room at the Kansas City Club.

The music was the same, that which I heard last night, and it still rings of starched white tablecloths, polished silver, rare prime rib of beef, the soft clink-clink of crystal wine glasses, a whiff of cigar and beautiful, expensive women.

I remember, I wanted someday to be one of those women.

Then I wondered - to what music did the Grandfather John’s of Southern Germany dance, when they invited their granddaughters to dinner in the late 1960’s? Jens was sitting beside me and I leaned over and asked him (he is not a granddaughter, but he was my next best alternative). “I don’t remember” he told me ” but in any case, not ‘black music’”. I had to laugh - Jazz? Black music?

After the set ended, I asked Jürgen (who is also not a granddaughter, but some days you really do just have to work with what you have). “…in any case, not ‘black music’.” he assured me, using exactly the same words as Jens.

The ocean between our two worlds before 1995 opened up in my mind’s eye and filled with an endless expanse of time and space. I couldn’t help but feel happy and blessed that my Daddy’s Daddy, was my grandfather.

Gran’s Scrapbook

Category: For My Sisters

Sorry my contribution to Gran’s scrapbook is arriving so late…

The story?? It goes something like this…

I have a wonderful couple of evenings shortly after I get the e-mail from Cat. I am sorting photos, searching the best, the funniest, the most relevant. Scanning, sizing, importing… There are not very many, because I had to leave most in KC when I moved here.


First, my printer tells me it needs color ink. Ok Baby, can do. I order color ink.

Three days later it arrives and I open the cover to replace the cartridge. A little piece of plastic springs out of the printer aimed directly at my nose. Directly after which, the piece which holds the black toner in place falls on the floor.

Hmmm - I call HP and they promise to send me a replacement printer right away. “It’ll be there tomorrow.” Sure.

Three tomorrows and 2 phone calls later – the next printer arrives. I install my toner cartridges, turn it on and make some tests, looks ok.

Insert photo paper – blue streaks in black and white photos. <sigh> Make adjustments - try again. More blue streaks. Make more adjustments - try again. Blue photo.

Hmmm - you don’t need color ink? You need black ink? It was a bad translation??

I order black ink.

Three days later it arrives, I remove the new color cartridge (scavenge the old one from under a huge pile of papers on my desk) install the new black cartridge and the old color one – make some tests, looks ok.

Insert photo paper – blue streaks in black and white photos. <ach, nein> Make some adjustments, and insert more photo paper – only to find that I have five pages of photos…and four pieces of paper.

That was this morning – it’s Tuesday. I am sending what I have coaxed out of my printer and a cd with the original scans (as .jpg format) as well as the Corel Draw 10 file I used to print – I suspect now that the blue (and yellow, I see too - how charming.) streaks are connected to Corel’s printer driver. Unfortunately, I don’t have any more paper to print directly from Photoshop.

Good luck, girls! I hope my package arrives on Saturday, but the way this whole project has gone so far, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out you got it on the 9th of December.

Murphy is my best friend these days.

A New Baby in the House

Category: This is My Life

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to…. Amanda. With an Intel Pentium 4, and 1.7 GHz, 256 MB SDRAM, 20 GB Harddrive, DVD and so on and so forth and etc.

She is smart, fast and chic. She is, of course, a SuSE Linux girl.

<laddlers> Jens, don’t read this </laddlers>

For those of you wondering if there isn’t some Christmas present idea buried in here for Amanda’s “Papa” — you might want to look at this

A Bomb in Pforzheim

Category: This is My Life

Weighing in at 250 kg, with 150 kg of explosive material was found buried in the middle of downtown Pforzheim (about 20 miles from here) this weekend. According to the radio reports the authorities had already covered it with a huge, thick metal container and it was under constant watch. The bomb squad was due to arrive Sunday morning at 8:00 am to disarm it, and anyone living within a half a kilometer would be evacuated before they began at 11:00. The procedure was expected to take approximately 4 hours.

Should the bomb squad not be successful in their efforts, the blast would be felt within the radius of .5 km, and shrapnel could cause damage within a radius of 1.5 km.

Where could such a bomb come from? How did it get buried in the center of a large and busy city? Who would do such a thing? …and, why??

During WWII 250 million tons of bombs were dropped on Germany. Experts estimate that up to 15% of them are buried here, unexploded, today. Usually they are uncovered during building construction and it happens often enough that vast majority them don’t even make the news.

Today is Monday, and all is quiet on the Western Front - but it’s food for thought, in today’s world, that the bombs we drop now may still be around to haunt the hearts of our grandchildren.

Fifty-seven years is still not long enough to clean up after a war.

… And Other Little Things

Category: This is My Life

My Thanksgiving turkeys are purchased and sitting on the balcony. I had to buy two - everything is a little smaller here in Europe. Cranberries have been hunted, and Jeri’s green beans with bacon are on the menu (special request from Jens).

Gaby is bringing veggies, Jane is bringing desert, Kadja is bringing fruit salad (and chairs ;-), Martin has wine duty - and the sekt is in the fridge.

…now if I could only talk Jürgen into cleaning…