Frenchman's Bay, Maine

Frenchman's Bay, Maine

Sunday, April 30, 2006

For My Pirate Friends

Picture taken in Venice, Italy. Had to chuckle when I saw this boat--so here's a photo for you, all my Real Live Pirate friends!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Back from Michigan

Just got back this afternoon from Michigan, where I combined a couple of vastly pleasureable activities--visiting our two children in college at Calvin, and attending the Festival of Faith & Writing. An amazing smorgasbord of writers and artists. I especially enjoyed Mary Karr, Gary Schmidt, Lauren Winner, Salman Rushdie, Han Nolan, and Makoto Fujimura. But they're just a small sampling. I returned home with new ideas of people and places to write about, so that's good. Something about being around the mix of energy and enthusiasm whenever a bunch of creative types get together...

As a side note, on Monday I took my daughter's car key to a little Sears kiosk to get a copy made. Happened to mention to the attendant that I was from Germany, and flying back later in the day. He leaped to compliment me, " You have such a great accent! Your English is really, really good!" I was tempted to just say "thank you," and let him think I was the world's latest linguistic wunder-kind. But I didn't.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Frohe Ostern / Happy Easter

I set my alarm to go off at 5:00 am, because I wanted to drive downtown to the Holy Ghost Church for organ music and hymns in German. But at the last minute I decided I didn't want to venture out in the dark without an assured place to park and another person beside me if I had to walk through sketchy areas of town (Jeff had to stay home with Anna) . Anyway, I ended up sleeping late after tossing and turning all night, possibly from a disguised dose of caffeine. It turned out for the best, though, since our neighbors V. and S. came to a 10:00 service at our regular church with us, along with their little boys. V. is from Ghana, and S. is German, so we have fun asking them about customs in both countries, and comparing notes on Africa. They're blending two quite different cultures in their marriage, and it intrigues me, how they make it work. Afterwards, we went out to eat together, along with another couple, and just laughed and talked. The food was forgettable, but the company was memorable. That's much better than the other way round! Thank God for friends.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Palm Sunday

We are traveling today, but I didn't want to forget Palm Sunday -- so I found a link to a poem, The Donkey, by G.K. Chesterton. It's a little different take on the day, written from the perspective of the donkey that Jesus rode.

I'll be back on Good Friday.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Happy, Happy Day

Since we'll be gone on your birthday, have a happy, happy day! To my youngest Eeyore, with loads of love.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Best Bakery

I've made an official decision about the best bakery in our area--it's called Backerei Rutz.

Reasons that Rutz is the best:
* Plates of coffeecake and cinnamon roll samples are always out.
* The counter workers actually understand my attempts at the German language and smile at me.
* Jalapeno baguettes!
* A good selection of tea.
* Nice tables for people-watching.
* Newspapers available to read while sitting.
* Attached to a grocery store, so I can shop after stocking up on bread and other baked goods at Rutz.
* It's always mobbed with customers.
* Buttery cookies.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Not Just Any Fieldtrip

Today I accompanied my seventh grade daughter's German class on a fieldtrip to Schloss Freudenberg, near the town of Wiesbaden. After an hour and a half of riding, everyone tumbled off the bus and we entered the gates of the Schloss. This place has an intriguing history--by turns, it has served as "a private home, a hotel, a Nazi home for unmarried mothers, an American soldiers' recreation center (legend has it that Elvis once played in the center's Jazz Club), and as the headquarters of the International Pentecostal Church." Now, the building houses the Nature and Art Society.

I found it interesting, especially the many interactive stations designed to help us "unfurl the mind and senses" -- the kids loved clashing numerous plate-size cymbals, mounted on two sides of the music room, and each of us stood in line several times to rub wet palms on either side of a smooth brass bowl, filled with water -- as we vigorously rubbed, the bowl gave off a high pitched musical hum and the water surface ruffled on the edges from static electricity.

Most unusual? The "Dunkel Cafe," or "Dark Cafe." We entered through heavy curtains, into a room of complete darkness. Everyone felt around for a seat at the bar, then the waitress came to take our orders. We ordered drinks or cake, for 2 euro apiece. Our entire snacktime was utterly without light, and I could tell the three boys in the group felt most awkward at first, commenting, "hey, J., get your hand off me!" and so on. It's strange to think we never even saw our waitress' face the entire visit. When it came time to pay, the girls panicked at first, "oh no, how can I tell if this is a ten euro or twenty euro bill? Oops, I dropped my coins on the floor and can't find them!" We found out later the waitress is almost totally blind, which explains her comfort in the Dark Cafe. It was nothing new for her, but for us, it was a brief (and memorable!) experience, functioning without our usually taken-for-granted sense of sight.

The weather was near freezing outside, but our group braved the cold, walking on the "barefoot path" through the woods to feel paving textures of smooth pebbles, bricks, stones, wood, and other materials. I only regretted that we never found the Aeolian harp (named after the Greek god of wind) which is played as wind blows between the strings. But, overall, quite a worthwhile day!