Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Please Translate!

First of all, I'm here at the Hannover apartment safe-n-sound and with a bit of serendipity to share: my plane from Atlanta to Paris yesterday was scheduled to leave 3-1/2 hours after Donica's. No problem. I'd simply read and relax in the business lounge. But when we checked in, the lady noticed the discrepancy in our flight times (mine was with miles) and said she thought she could do something about it. And she did! We both flew on the same plane and, once arriving in Paris, I got to rest in Donica's hotel room (in the airport--she had business meetings in Paris today) till my flight to Hannover 4 hours later. A friend of mine used to say, "That's just like God!"

Anyway, please look at this sign and translate it for me!

Dear sister Ruth sent me a link last week with a whole bunch of these wordless signs that you have to interpret or translate **. They were hysterical! Two days later I was eating lunch with a friend at a little German restaurant near our Atlanta house and saw this sign in the unisex restroom.

Pray tell...what exactly is it saying??!! (The best translation wins a Gold Star!)

[** I can't find the link and have asked her to resend it so that I can include it here. LATER: Ruth sent me a pdf file. Does anyone know how to add it as a link if I don't have my own website?]

Thanks to James in Amsterdam, here's the link. YAAAAY! Have a good laugh on the house. :)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Eat Dessert First

While Amy is in LA celebrating Dennis' birthday this weekend, G'ma got some special time alone with Nicholas! I picked him up from school yesterday afternoon and took him to the mall to see the Eragon movie. Now, of course, all he wants to be is a dragon rider. So do I!

But before we saw the movie, we had over an hour to waste. What to do? Eat dessert! DUH! We'd be eating supper after the movie and, as you know, life is short .

On the way back to HIS house for a G'ma overnight (my first) before taking him back to school this morning, I asked my usual questions:

G: So is math still your favorite subject?
N: Yes, and science!
G: Science?! What are you doing in science????
N: Making potions.
G: Potions!! What KIND of potions?
N: Gatorade and something else to make steam. [I forgot to add: And we get to wear goggles!]

Oh really, I thought. Whenever did I get to do potions in school (mind you, I cleverly avoided high school and college science and/or chemistry)??!!

G: So what do you like best about math now?
N: Facts.
G: Facts! What kind of facts?
N: Like 30 + 50 = 80. Big numbers.
G: Ahhhh.

G: And do you like spelling?
N: Oh yes. That's easy.
G: What's your favorite word to spell?
N: "OF"
G: "OF??" How come "OF?" Because it's a little word?
N: No! Because I get to make a perfect circle!

Okay, then! And if he can be a dragon rider as well, he'll have it made. See why we eat dessert first? Nothing can top what comes afterwards!

Two things:

1) Donica had her 6-week check-up after surgery this afternoon and got a clean bill of health. She can continue on with life as usual as she is able. The probability of ever getting another hernia on her right side is 1%, he says. On her left side (the opposite of her surgery), it's 5%. That sounded real good to my ears. Not that she'll be stupid, mind you!

2) We both return to Hannover on Monday, so this will be my last post this side of the Big Pond. See you soon from over there!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Another Birthday!

Two years ago today, I started this blog, In Soul. This was my first photo (with grandson Nicholas, who was 4-1/2 at that time) and my first two posts on that same day, here and here.

I used to post something almost every day here. Then this past fall I started a photo blog on Shutterchance where what I consider my best pics are posted every day, one at a time. Because of that new outlet, I made the decision to slow down here and publish every other day or 3x/week.

It's easy for ME to say that I've come a long way, Baby. Is it as easy for you? :) For all of you who have watched me grow here, thank you.


Monday, January 22, 2007

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum

My one main goal this week, in between these 2 Hannover trips, is to put away all my Christmas decorations. That mainly means detrimming 2 artificial trees.

One day this last Hannover trip I passed landlord Wolfgang going down the apartment stairs with his tannebaum wrapped up in a blanklet. I wondered where he was taking it.

Shortly thereafter on walks, I found out! On corners all over Hannover are stacked-up tannenbaums ready to be hauled off to christmas-tree heaven. I'm guessing the residents have been told the cut-off date and 'spect they'll all be gone when we return on the 30th?

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
You give us so much pleasure!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
You give us so much pleasure!
How oft at Christmas tide the sight,
O green fir tree, gives us delight!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
You give us so much pleasure!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Hannover, Past and Present

First of all, Donica and I both fly back home today: Donica from Amsterdam, where she spent the night after a day of business yesterday, and I from Hannover to Paris to Newark to Atlanta. We'll be home for a week before returning on the 29th.

On a rare sunny day this trip, I spent 6 hours outside this past Monday, taking pics of things I saw on my first visits here in 2005 but now with my new camera. I wanted to go back and see things with new eyes, as it were.

In the new Rathaus (town hall), built between 1901-1913, there are 4 giant models in the entrance hall (approx. 15 x 15 feet each) that depict Hannover at 4 stages in its development. I have used the Rathaus and the Marktkirche (Market Church) of City Center as my 2 points of reference because they are 2 of Hannover's favorite landmarks.

This model is Hannover in 1689. The Marktkirche (in the center) was built in the 14th c. and the old town hall, in the church's shadow, was built in the 15th c. Obviously, the new town hall was not yet built.

This is Hannover in 1939 when the new Rathaus, here in the foreground, was in its glory. And there in the top center of the pic is the Marktkirche again. The Aegidienkirche (church) at right center remains in ruins today, as you can see in both models below. I assume it was destroyed in the first WW and was never rebuilt.

Now you see Hannover in 1945 (the year I was born) after its wartime devastation. The model is covered in silt and just breaks my heart! You may have to click to enlarge it but the top part of the Marktkirche is sheared off.

Hannover today!

My own country's major cities are not this old, of course, but I think it does us well to sometimes reflect on where we've come from to understand a bit better where we're going.

AND to see what happens from the ravages of war! Some countries have never known anything BUT war and just build and rebuild year after year, war after war.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Balance Beam

Maybe this is "old hat" to the rest of you but when Christina and I were out-n-about last Friday in Hannover's City Center, I saw something I had never seen before.

Yes, I actually got down close to the ground to take this pic. I couldn't believe such a big truck was levitated off the ground like this.

Christina said some people walked around me and paid no attention. Others clearly wondered what this crazy old lady was doing while the men above were taking down the Christmas lights!

Now here's the funny part. After my picture taking, Christina and I continued down the street for another 2 blocks. Just before entering a store, a man ran up behind us and started asking all kinds of questions. In German, of course. Christina, in her fluent German, explained to him that this was my hobby--taking photos.

Once I got the drift, I said in my intermittent English/German, with many hand gestures, "Hobby [pointing to my camera]. Ist gut? Okay? I've never seen that before! Photo okay? Sehr gut?"

And in the mix, Christina asked him (at my prodding) why the truck was levitated? He said it makes the truck more stable when the hydraulic lift is being extended. Okay then.

We chuckled afterwards and wondered if he thought we were taking pics for the newspaper without their permission. But it does raise the point that you do have to be careful when taking photos "without permission." And here I thought there were only two guys way up in the air who weren't paying attention to me!

Thankfully, I got my education AND my photos!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Buck Stops Here

Yesterday was my second time in two years, since walking Hannover's nearby tiergarten (zoo garden), that I saw a buck. The first time was last September. Both times it was late in the afternoon when all the deer start congregating in groups, lying down together. Sun-downing time!

The buck in the first pic was sitting to the right of these foreground trees. Little by little, all the deer started lying down. I felt privy to a very sacred ritual!

We had a long, 45-minute phone conversation with Amy and Nicholas (6-1/2) right after this walk. I told Nicholas all about the deer and the buck. I asked him if he knew what a buck was? Oh yes, of course. He said the buck rubs the bark off the trees! HA! How did he know that? So then I told him about the wire fences they have to put around some of the trees.

I'd give just about anything to have him here, doing show-n-tell in person about where the buck stops!

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Big Brown Machine

HA! What can Brown do for YOU?!

When I walked out of our Hannover apartment a couple days ago, this UPS truck was stopped across the street. I had to laugh and then get out my pocket camera. The UPS headquarters is in Atlanta, just as is Coca Cola's. And they're both everywhere!

Worldwide Services
We Synchronize the World of Trade

Today Christina and I meet up again at the hauptbahnhof (train station) in City Center. This is a "tradition" we both look forward to every time I come back to Hannover. We've been having blustery winds and rain the last two days and hopefully won't have to swim! If we have to stay inside, we'll find a cozy place and chat our heads off.

To all of us everywhere, TGIF.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Size Matters?

While waiting for my plane to Germany at the Atlanta airport on Sunday, I snapped this pic of the control tower, hoping to God I wouldn't get arrested! It looked pretty spectacular for the busiest airport in the world since 2005: the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

The next day, Monday, I landed at Hannover's airport, the 8th largest airport in Germany. This is the tower I snapped on my very first visit here in March of 2005.

DreamWalker asked on my last post what airports were the best organized in my opinion. That led to a conversation about how the smaller airports, like Hannover's, seem to be easier to navigate. That's a no-brainer, I think. But I'd like to know how people feel about getting around in Atlanta's airport, since it's the busiest in the world. We're used to it by now, of course, so we natives don't count.

At any rate, I was glad to see the size difference of our two towers, adding some perspective to the question!

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Next Best Thing

Stuttgart Airport, 9a, 8 January 2007

We're here in Hannover, safe-n-sound! Thanks to all of you who sent your travel wishes, which always means the world to both of us, I hope you know.

My trip over the pond was a new circuitous route for me this time: from Atlanta to Stuttgart to Paris to Hannover. How weird! You would think I could have flown from Stuttgart to Hannover, right?! I guess not (and this was even a paid ticket, not on miles!).

I knew the Christmas markets would be down everywhere, of course. We missed them this year because of Donica's surgery. But look at THIS! All over the Stuttgart airport it felt like the decorations were left up just for me. Not in Paris; not in Hannover. Just in Stuttgart.

They really were the next best thing to the Christmas markets. So yes, I'm one happy camper this new year in Hannover. I don't feel like I've missed a thing.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Hello and Good-Bye

This week we have said Hello to 2007 and Good-Bye to 2006. This past Monday, the 1st, we said Good-Bye to Hukilau, our family cottage in Michigan. On Sunday, in two more days, Donica and I will fly to Germany and say Hello to Hannover.

But first, let's say Good-Bye again to Hukilau since we won't see her now until July.

On the one sunny day we had, I'm standing on the beachfront with my back to the lake, looking up at the cottage, with the deck on the left. My sister, Nancy, donated the money to build that deck a few years ago when a dear friend of the family, Esther, died from breast cancer. The cottage, BTW, is deceptive from this view. When you drive in from the back, it seems huge with its 2 stories. In the summertime, of course, those glass windows are replaced with screens, making the porch our favorite room of all.

During the winter the chairs on the deck are sparce because they're used only at night if/when a fire is lit. One night I sat out there with Dennis and Amy (their feet in the pic below) and my brother and SIL. Cozy conversations happen in that setting!

The boats and dock hibernate on the beachfront during the winter months because usually the lake freezes. Hmmm. Is it possible the lake will NOT freeze at all this winter? If so, my heart is saddened. That means global warming is really taking its toll.

Good-Bye, Hukilau. And now, Hannover, here we come. Hello, Uschi and Wolfgang (our landlords). Hello, Christina. Hello, horses (from the horse pastures). October seems a long time ago since we were last there. But surely we will simply pick up from where we last left off.

Since we're just barely one week in, Happy New Year, again!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


I hate these signs!!! When we were at the cottage in Michigan this past week, I took a lovely walk along the gravel road and saw these signs everywhere, marring the gorgeous scenery of the woods.

I understand owning our houses. But when was it that we lost the Native American spirit of no one owning the land? It belongs to everyone! Maybe that was one of the things we should have taken from them--their convictions about property. (Sigh)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Most of you know by now that Michigan did NOT win the Rose Bowl game yesterday. Boo-hoo-hoo! Dennis' Trojans, I'm afraid, took away the prize, 32 to 18. Sigh. Oh well. So be it.

After all that pit-in-my-stomach on the very first day of this new year, I had to "release" it and NOT let it affect the joy and expectation of yet another year before us. HAPPY NEW YEAR again and again. We have several days to say it, I'm sure, while it's all so very new.

In the meantime, we had a lovely reunion at the family cottage in Michigan, with a total of 29 present at the big meal on Saturday. Thanks to all of you who wished us well! It was a splendid time for the 5 of us in my family group represented. And Mr. Dennis was well-received, as we all expected!

Now I have lots of blogrolling to do, to catch on YOU! And that I will do, trust me. :)