Nov 232011
So, here is the thing. We had a really rotten month.  You already know about the car stuff and my shoulder stuff.  But, then things started getting worse.  My step-dad was diagnosed with cancer.  Our cat died.
Then David’s father died.
I feel like I should have something profound to say.  But, nothing really seems quite right.  
Maybe that is it.  Nothing seems quite right.
David’s family opted not to have a memorial.  I don’t know if there was an obit in the paper. So, here are my few, brief words on the subject.  David’s dad was a good, intense, affable, flawed, creative, wickedly-smart, prolifically productive, competitive, funny, earnest, loving, strong, eclectic, talented, self-driven man.  I liked him a lot.  And I see each of these qualities in my husband and kids.  DS also happens to look a fair bit like him.  His death was not unexpected.  Though, the timing of it was sudden.  He died of a massive lung infection that was the result of his ongoing battle with radon-induced lung cancer.  I don’t know if I can really say we were surprised.  But, we were shocked.  I think we were a bit surprised at how shocked we were.  And, of course, very sad.  My favorite memories of him were when he would make up games to play with the kids.  His mind always took a turn that mine wouldn’t make, so it was really fun watching it work.  Then watching the kids have a blast playing the games they had all made up.  These are a few of my favorite photos of him from over the years.

At Vasquez Rock

Not all the games were just for the kids 😉

DS and Greg in 2000
I don’t have a date on this one.  But, DH was young, so early 90’s, I think.
So, we have spent some time working through all that. In some ways, it felt a bit like time stood still for a while.   But, nothing in the universe stops for long.  So, onward we go.
Not Thanksgiving
Right now in Germany, things are getting prepared.  But, not for Thanksgiving.  Oddly, the Europeans aren’t much impressed by our American tradition of celebrating our ancestors eating a peaceful meal with their soon-to-be obliterated neighbors.  They do seem to like the idea of giving Thanks.  And feasting is all good, of course.  But, Thanksgiving itself is a non-starter.  This can be readily seen by the fact that the only turkeys available are either hard-frozen or boneless-skinless.  And, of course, other New World foods like corn and sweet potato are MIA at most of the stores.  
Additionally, both David and DD have required evening events on Thursday.  David’s work has scheduled a Meet and Greet for the press and local German Game Publishers– employees only.  And DD’s French class is taking a field trip to see L’Avare by Molière.  Since I will no doubt need a few extra hands to cook any sort of decent meal anyways, I think I may postpone our TG celebration until Sunday.

But, people are starting to get prepared for the extended Christmas season.  St. Nicolaus Nacht seems to kick things off on the 6th.  That is when the good saint goes around beating bad children with a big stick.  Then someone hides candy and little toys in the children’s shoes.  They don’t really do stockings in Germany the way we do in the US, we are told.  But, this tradition comes close.   Interestingly, presents here are thought to be brought by the baby Jesus, not Santa Claus.  Though, you never see him.  You are just supposed to imagine it.

Also, as you will see in the pictures, the towns are getting started on the Christmas Markets, Weihnachtsmarkt.  Unless I miss my guess, those will open this weekend.  Decorations have been showing up in the stores since early October.  Though, interestingly, Christmas Music has not.  Shopping here is strangely, if pleasantly, quiet.  

The weather is getting cooler.  It has been raining the last few days.  But, we have also had several mornings with frost.  We are told that snow is not a huge factor in these parts.  It is the warmest region in Germany.  But, an hours drive will get you to some of the best skiing in the world.  Speaking of skiing, DD’s class is planning a ski trip to the Alps, but she has decided she really does not want to go.  I guess I can understand it from her perspective.  But, I admit to being a little put out that I won’t be getting the vicarious experience of her trip!
In other vaguely interesting news, DS has started a new trimester at school.  This time around he has 2 (two!) music classes and a Religion class.  Unlike DD’s school, ethics does not seem to be an option, so he got to choose between Catholic and Protestant.  He isn’t sure which one he wound up in because all they have done so far is play a Name Game to get to know each other.  Honestly, I am not terribly put out by the prospect of his getting some religious education since apparently we have been a bit negligent with him on that issue.  When I was trying to explain the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism the issue of Communion came up.  He thought it might be a drug.  Or perhaps a siege weapon.  Yeah, I think it might be good to learn a bit more than that!

Next week my mom and Mark come for a visit.  We will be making the Weihnachtsmarkt circuit and checking out what the season has to offer. So, That should be fun :)  Hope to have interesting things to show as the season moves forward!
plowing the ex-corn field

The huge blades leave a deep groove to one side- the driver uses that as a guide for one wheel on the next pass

dd getting ready for her skating party (It went well- one fall, lots of friendlies, but none of her closest buds were there)

Mom! Knock it off!

We arrived in town today expecting Christmas music.  We got a Peruvian band.

But they are prepping for the Christmas Market!

This will be an ice rink.  Was just starting to freeze

German oddity.  We finally found a decent fish market.  They seal the fish in thermal paper with a heat press to keep it cold till you get it home!

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