Jul 122011

Back in the saddle

Well, howdy!  Been a couple weeks.  Sorry about that.  The first week was dull.  Second week was busy!

The dull week mostly involved David needing the car and uncooperative weather.  Honestly, my energy was low and my inspiration uninspired.  Not much to report there.  Though David did take the kids up to the top of the viewing tower in Kehl.  That was sort of cool!  Here are some photos.
(as usual, you can click each one for a better look)

The tower.  Note the size of the people at the base.
You better believe you hold on up there!

Nice view
Landing Pad?

View of the bridge

Also, this guy apparently jumped off the bridge and went for a little swim up river! A crowd gathered and was delighted.

Bridge-jumping swimmer

Busy Week

Busy week was more interesting- though objectively, I think it was probably more interesting on a personal level than an easily-shared one.  My mom came to town!  Not much can be better as a care package than the arrival of a person who truly cares!

Presents for the present

She brought gifts, too, of course.  Mom is rather known for that sort of thing.  Cheerios and Grape Nuts and Sugarless Maple Syrup were all welcome Tastes from the States.  The return of DS’s razor scooter & helmet that he had had to leave when they were too heavy for our flight made him a happy camper.  A picture of a lion from his room brought a touch of the familiar.  And for me, shoes!  A couple pairs that I had accidentally left, and 2 pairs of walking shoes and a pair of boots that Mom and Grandma Connie had gotten for my upcoming birthday!  I only had 2 pair from my luggage, and I am not exactly easy to fit (size 12 Narrow, US).  So, I am thrilled to have comfortable shoes with which to do my typical German forced marches.

Stylin, too!

Actually, Mom was in full-on Santa mode, determined to make our German existence more pleasant in as many ways as she could afford.  David has a birthday coming up as well , so she went ahead and pre-gifted both of us.  We have a lot of rebuilding to do, so luxuries have been quite neglected.  Even luxuries we might have considered necessities in the past, like books.  Here, English Language books must largely be ordered from England which can be a lengthy and sometimes expensive process.  So, Mom brought a Kindle for easy-English reading. I must say, has been wonderful so far.  DS and I are trading it back and forth happily reading our own personal mystery series (Rizzoli and Isles for me and Chet & Bernie- about a dog and his PI partner- for him).  She also brought us a Garmin Nuvi to help with our perpetual directional challenges.  When it turned out to be a US-Only version, she replaced it with a European model here.  I LOVE IT!  You can see around every corner as you approach.  Completely reassuring.  I do have to experiment with the voice, though.  The default American lady is just a bit too much the task-mistress for my tastes.

But wait, there is more!  While here, Mom noted our lack of coffee-maker, microwave and toaster and rectified all three kitchen omissions.  Hopefully I repaid her generosity by putting each appliance to use in tasty ways.  I definitely enjoyed the opportunity to cook for an appreciative audience unaccustomed to my favorite recipes.  The poor little kitchen is overflowing, now, but far more functional!

Grill Microwave

Interesting note on the microwave- we got a common German version with a built in grill.   I don’t know if they have these in the states, but I had never seen one before.  It is a normal microwave with a carousel and all, then at the top is an element like might be in a toaster with a little rack that holds food up close to it.  You can even set it to microwave and grill at the same time!  I guess that solves the food crisp/browning issues that microwaves have?  I am a little intimidated by that function, but I will need to experiment soon.

Visiting And Bodily Limits

The presents were wonderful, no doubt, but really, the week was about family ties and visiting.

Unfortunately, while she was here both kids came down with colds, I got a migraine and David wound up with MSG poisoning from a wayward wurst.  I also had my first Physio appointment for my shoulder which went well, but left me a smidge sore.  And, to top it all off, Mom twisted her “good” knee (by sneezing!) and wound up with some stability issues that she will need to take up with her doctor upon return.  

But, between and in spite of our physical challenges, we did manage to get in a lot of visiting and even some sight seeing.  We showed Mom around Offenburg, Kehl, and a bit of Strasbourg.  We ate out at our first gasthaus (wonderbar snitzel!), and had a lovely frühstück (breakfast) at a local backerai.  There were wurst, of course.  And many cookies, pastries, & pretzels- and much schinken (pork), there can never be enough schinken in Germany it seems!

We also made it to the Offenburg town museum.  That is an interesting place.    We had to lock up our bags, so I don’t have pictures from inside, but imagine a moderately-large, open building with a stairway going up 4 stories in the middle of the open floorplan.  On one floor  the natural history and geological structure of the town with lots of rock samples, taxidermied local animals, and the like.  On the next level, Roman artifacts- including a burned out log with a complete skeleton interred inside!  The next floor inexplicably is devoted to African animals and artifacts.  A tall white lion dominates the scene with a huge mounted elephant head looks over it all.  Around the corner, a special exhibit of Tomi Ungerer‘s work.  Nice!  He is from Strasbourg originally.  You have probably seen his work- he did a number of children’s books and many post-card sized ink and watercolors- many of them political and/or erotic.  He seems pretty unconstrained when it comes to emphasis.

At the top of  the building are artifacts from the more recent past.  Crockery, religious items from a defunct church, etc- climbing tight up into the rafters where the bell from an old church is hung!   Not bad for a small city museum.  And, other than the Ungerer exhibit, it is completely free!

All in all it was wonderful visit.  Here are some images from our adventures:

That purple blur is Mom coming off her plane, this lady did not appreciate the camera I guess!

Offenburg, at one of the fool’s fountains with witches!

This big guy landed in David’s hair early in the evening then woke us up slamming around the hall.

The kids made a Lego chess board and DS re-taught Bubby to play

Discussing their next moves

In Kehl, posing with the musical statue

This sculpture reminds me of one at UCSC that students called “The flying IUD”

Mom in front of the foot bridge between Kehl and Strasbourg

We even got another double rainbow for Mom’s visit!

Kids and me in Offenburg

Bubby and DD at the Offenburg market


DS hit his head on a witch’s broom!

Kids and me a bit tussled in Kehl

DS controlling the waters of a fountain

DH and DS dining at the gasthaus
Joan of Arc statue, St. Maurice Church in Strasbourg

Inside St. Maurice

Dunno what this is about, but LOVE it!

Seemed out of place, maybe a display from a sister church?


Lit two candles (in back) for family who have passed

I want to hear that organ play!

DS Breakfast: hot cocoa, brioche, slices of chocolate (!) and a boiled egg.
Happy Hug

Nope, No family resemblance

Since when did I dwarf my tiny mother!?

Still no resemblance




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