This is Matthew 6:34, and a bible verse that means a lot to me. I grew up with a mother who, while delightful otherwise, is also one of the world’s great pessimists. So a pattern developed between us that worked/works like this: Mom worries about something. I try to reassure her. She worries some more. I list all the arguments why the situation is not as bad as that. She leaves somewhat comforted. I feel utterly drained. Continue reading
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk8g1yAe5yY[/youtube]Yesterday I called an elderly friend after what must have been about six weeks, and found out that she’d spent three of these weeks in hospital with a broken ankle. She was obviously still in great discomfort, and worried she might need further surgery. We talked for a while. While I am glad that I called when I did, I am also going through a bit of a struggle with my conscience that I didn’t call earlier. I was busy, and she didn’t ring me either, but there it is: How often should you call people that need to be called, be they elderly or ill or lonely or a stay-at-home mom with three little children? Continue reading
Like every year, next to a number of Christmas presents I liked hugely (thanks again ever so much, guys!), there were two items under the tree that I was not quite to pleased with. I speak of them in the past, because in the week since Christmas I have managed to be rid of both of them. The chocolates I didn’t like I just placed on the table one night next to the wine – and the box was empty after just twenty minutes. Continue reading
My mother left several close friends behind when she escaped to West Germany, and stayed in touch through letters and frequent visits. There was one couple with whom she and my father were especially close: They became godparents for each other’s children, and we visited regularly once a year. This meant that once a year we had to cross the German/German border, which was part of the Iron Curtain that stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. The crossing point we used was Herleshausen near Eisenach, and the crossing proved extremely stressful each and every time. This was partly because the border was especially nasty, as were the immigration and customs officers, but even more so because as a rule we were smuggling something. Continue reading
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the German reunification, I want to share with you some bits of my own family history. My mother’s family originally stems from the former German Democratic Republic, which was part of the Soviet-controlled Eastern bloc; my father’s family lived in the Western part of Germany. Although I grew up in the West, I’ve always felt aligned to both parts of the country. The Peaceful Revolution initiated by courageous Eastern Germans, the Fall of the Wall on November 9, 1989, and finally the political reunification on October 3, 1990, can still move me close to tears whenever I think about them. Continue reading
Last week, I came across some pictures of our wedding and spent some time reminiscing. It’s probably the best that can be said about any wedding that groom and bride are firmly convinced it’s the best wedding they ever attended. That’s what we do, and rose-tinted glasses aside, I also think that, objectively, our wedding went very well indeed. Continue reading
When my grandmother died, seven years ago, one object I took from her home to mine was her book of baking recipes. Grandma was a good cook, but a passionate baker. She loved trying out new recipes, and the book I inherited is full of traces of sugar and flour. Whenever there was a family party, she would proudly carry in several huge, delicious confections and spoil us all with the results of her latest experiments. What I remember most fondly, however, are her simpler cakes: poppy tart, Baumkuchen (layered cake?) and cheesecake. She encouraged my sister and me to start baking ourselves, and we began doing so when we were no more than 9 and 7 (and yes, that included dealing with the hot oven).
Summer is unofficially over for me today. While the kids and I go back to school today, amidst 90 degree temperatures I might add, I have to wonder what happened to the days of going back to school after Labor Day. Does anyone even do that anymore?
Now is the time of year when we have to give up our weekday nights catching fireflies and letting them go. We have to abandon our days at the lake and our frequent visits to the grandparents. There will be no more staying up late and sleeping in during the week. The boys have to go to bed when there’s still light outside. Most importantly to me, today’s my youngest son’s first day of “big kid” school. My little boy is no longer my baby. Continue reading
One of my favorite places to spend a day or even a few hours visiting is Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. We’re lucky, because we only live a small driving distance away, which means we can go whenever we have the time and inclination. The season pass they offer also makes it even more convenient. Continue reading