"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

germany at a glance

The best I can do .. because this being Halloween holiday week, I'm in mom mode and sorting vacation pictures isn't really taking top priority.

Still ... I'm squeezing in a glimpse because there are so many and plenty to talk about later.

I did eventually reach southern Germany on the edge of the Black Forest where I found Newel already finished with his audit and ready to see the sights. And... lo and behold .... there is much to see beyond Ikea after all ;)

First stop... Baden Baden. Beautifully serene with glamour and age, a town that speaks to the skill and craftsmanship of Germany's artistic and classical heritage.

An atmosphere not very unlike Colorado's Aspen or Vail.

I loved everything about it and what's not to love?

I loved walking the streets and taking in the sights and people.

Especially this person :)

Everywhere I walked, I could almost hear Bach or Beethoven or Mozart in my head. Is it any wonder?

I loved the colors.

And I loved the smell.

Newel said I was just overly influenced by diesel fumes from foreign fueled cars.


But maybe it was just the fact that the classical influence, art, and architecture, are everything I love and all of that went straight to my head.

Friday, October 26, 2012

factual friday

Vacation re-entry.

It looks kind of like this.

And this.

We'd spent hours upon hours on the night flight to Germany, loving every minute of each other. The trip home around the world with the sun creating a 21 hour, bright, non-stop day ... not so much.  And the side effects? Whew!

Acclimating, I haven't had a minute to post about our trip. It's coming, though, because we had a wing dinger of a time.

But first and foremost ... a little bravado confession for factual friday.

I had friends tell me I was crazy to attempt navigating a foreign country with a baby when I'd never, ever left the U.S.

How could I get lost? It's in my DNA. I come from traveling stock! I've never confused my bearings a day in my life. Yeah, I've gotten off beaten trails but never lost, lost .. the kind of lost where you really don't know where you are at all.

This wouldn't be any different, says I.

With navigation systems in every car, a husband who laid out a route, a glance at a map for re-assurance, it should be glitchless.

Charlotte and I hopped off after a good night's sleep on an under crowded airplane, into a land where Mercedes, BMW and Audi rule the road like our American made Ford, Chrysler and General Motors.

We kindly asked the Avis agent to program in our address destination, set the nav to English and point us in the right direction.

She did her job aptly and with a butterfly thrill in my stomach, I eased us out of the airport giving special attention to the foreign aspects of the rental car.

And we were on our way.

No matter that the navigation map didn't seem so cut and dried.

No matter that the navigation voice didn't speak to me, telling me which way to go.

No matter that, just as we might have "Cedar Court, and Cedar Circle, and Cedar Lane, and Cedar Hills ... " the Germans like to name everything the same, too. Only in German.

And once I hit that Autobahn, the cars were moving .. and I mean moving fast.

And I had no choice but to join them.

Or die.

But ... my senses did tell me I was heading north and not south as planned.

Which is when the voice in my head started telling me that I didn't know the laws of the road. That I didn't know how fast a car metered in kilometers was really going. That I didn't know if I even got off an exit, whether it would be in a "good" or a "not so good" area. That I couldn't even understand the word exit.


I had to turn around ... so I exited.

Finding myself headed in another direction on another fast paced highway.

My pulse started to race and I frantically looked for facilities off the road where I could pull off and reassess. But those Germans? They don't waste their time with strip shopping malls or convenient marts, much.

This is when that darn voice in my head started screaming, "Just stop the crazy train. Just stop the crazy train." because I suddenly felt like a girl spun too much, waiting to strike a pinata.

So ... naturally ... I took another exit.

And tried not to hyperventilate.

When I saw it ... over the trees ... a little piece of calm in the midst of my turmoil.

And with only a horn blare or two from native drivers who disagreed with my foreign techniques, I whipped into that parking lot, focused on familiarity and calmed my 200 kilometer per hour, autobahn induced heart rate.

And after a few stunned minutes of silence told myself that if I could navigate a store so large and aptly emerge with curtains under my arm in less than 20 minutes .... why, ...  I. Could. Do. This.

Safe in my parking space, I fiddled with the nav, reprogrammed my directions, made a mental assessment of my newly acquired road rules, breathed deeply and told myself that No, I did not need a plate of Swedish meatballs to make me feel better.

Pointing my nose southward, never had I been so glad to hear that soothing voice inform me to take the first left at the roundabout in 5 kilometers.

And never did I know that I could love a big-box store more than I already did.

And that's a fact.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

library rewards

The Denver Public Library rewards it's summer reading program readers with free tickets to our downtown Six Flags theme park.

We have a lot of kids, so, it's a deal. We walk in saying sign us up, and they look at us like we're cheating the system.

That's okay by us.

The amount of over due fines we pay, could probably purchase us our own theme park.

At the very least, fund a library branch.

Wouldn't you know, this year we waited to use them until the very last moment possible on our fall break and were hit with the first rainy cold of the season. 

No matter. It kept the lines down.

Grant claimed no fear for this free fall ride.

Sure enough. Dead inside.

This year, we were dad-less so it was the sidelines for a little while watching big kids.  

Then to the kiddie park, unleashing the big ones to do their own thing, staying together and just checking in every once in awhile. That's the beauty of an under-crowded theme park on a rainy day.

Funny how they just kept returning for some time with Eliza because this was the first year that she really "got it" and being with her was contagious.

We'd never used our prizes during the Halloween celebration before and decided procrastination had worked to our advantage.

Even if we were a bit chilly.

Until the sun went down and the drizzly park filled with smog machine fog and zombies traipsing out of every bush to frighten unaware kids.

No pictures.

Eliza, Charlotte and I fled determining that carousel horses were the happiest place on earth after dark, where we rode a hundred miles till we could ride no more.

And the rest was a teenager's dreamy nightmare. My big kids were in Halloween heaven and with that, they left hyped for the holiday.