That Which I Have Been Fearing…

…happened last night. With a bang.

Right in the middle of playing Anno 1602, the laptop shut off. All by itself. All attempts to restart it failed, the first couple of times it started booting, only to shut down again. Dead as a doornail.

It was a miserable feeling, let me tell you. Kaputt. Yup.

Which left me no other choice than to purchase a new laptop this morning, which I did with quite a heavy heart, of course. By the time I came home with it, my mood got better, and I am right now taking a break from setting it up to post this.

It is a wonderful Acer Aspire with a – get this – wide screen – yeah. A wide screen. Tried that baby out too, with a Lord of the Rings DVD. Quite nice.

And now that I have a USB 2.0 port instead of USB 1.0 like on the old laptop to plug my dsl modem into, my internet connection burns rubber.

Lol, and when I put my mobile phone near the notebook, it is instantly recognized! Yes to Infrared!

I will get a repair estimate on the old one, however, as it never hurts to have a backup. It really was an “ugh” kind of feeling this morning without email and internet access – I feel LOST without a computer.

But this new one is NICE!

Silesian Specialties

My family – amazingly both my mother’s and my father’s side – originally comes from Silesia, a former region of Germany that is now Poland and Czech Republic. Both of my grandmothers and their siblings and children arrived in Bavaria as refugees – most Silesians who could fled the region when the Russians were on their way into the region. My great aunt Friedl can still tell the most incredible stories about fleeing the region; for instance, how she managed to bribe the train conductor with butter stamps to stop the train long enough for them to find milk at nearby farms for the infants. But I’ll let someone else tell those stories.

During a phone conversation with Mom over the holidays, we got into the subject of Silesian recipes – I was desperately looking for a Silesian dumpling recipe. Mom told me about a cookbook she had obtained some years back, “Unforgettable German Kitchen” (Unvergessene Deutsche Küche), which concentrates on the regions Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Pomerania, Silesia, Prussia, Thuringia and Saxony. The book is long out of print but I managed to find a copy of it in an on-line antique book shop.

It is full of wonderful recipes and regional specialties. I never knew, for instance, that “Bienenstich”(a cake with pudding filling and almonds and honey) and “Streusel-Mohnkuchen” (Poppy Seed Cake) are Silesian specialties.

And now I know that my love for pickled herring is in my genes!

Having said all of that, I will be making a “Streusel-Mohnkuchen” today (and will bring a good portion over to Friedl!).


Happy 70th Birthday Elvis Presley!

Amazing how time flies by, isn’t it? I almost couldn’t believe it when I heard it on the radio today.

More amazing, is that today, on January 8 – we have 60 F degrees and sunny skies here – I noticed this morning that the crocuses are pushing their way up in my rose beds. Though I am sure that in time for Easter, we will have more snow, it is a lovely pause from winter indeed – and everyone seems to be enjoying it. The entire neighborhood is out and about – splitting wood, washing cars, gardening – quite unnatural for this time of year.

On another note, I was someone irritated this morning. I am the first to admit when in the right mood (usually when I am completely drained emotionally and intellectually), I will read celebrity news and entertainment pages to wind down. But I just don’t think that the news of Aniston and Pitt splitting up belongs in the headlines (3rd place) of the latest headlines section of my internet browser. What d’you think? (Bring ’em on, lol).


The dog is just as chaotic as I am…..

After his long afternoon walk, he was quite muddy so I told him to get into the bathtub for a rinse, which he did without resistance at my first request.

Somehow, when jumping into the tub, he managed to “hit” the bathroom wall radiator with his body in such a way as to break the holding brackets – I only noticed this because all of a sudden the watering cans and other stuff I put on the top rack of the bath radiator came raining down.

Tobi was a champ. Just stood in the tub and looked confused.

I noticed that the pipes were being tried for all their worth through the extreme leaning of the radiator and placced a few assorted things I managed to grab (shampoo bottle, etc.) under the lowest water pipe to support the radiator, hosed off the dog, grabbed the radiator and called my father on the cordless phone to come over and HELP me.

He put a hook into the wall and tied the radiator to it for now, I placed “Webster’s German-English Dictionary, Joke Collection and the Duden” under the lowest pipe for additional support. And if that wasn’t enough…

An hour later, Tobi was napping at the foot of my bed in the bathroom when I heard a loud noise….

The two laundry baskets from the top of the closet had fallen down…..

He took it like a champ.

Enough Cobwebs To Convince a Theologician That There Might Be Ghosts

I finally got around to sorting out all the stuff I have just been depositing in the loft that we expanded in summer ’02. It is much too pretty to let it decay into a storage area and I just haven’t been in the mood for any “major” actions – but felt like it today.

Alone the dust up there was murder – all the fine ash from opening the door on the wood burning stove just seems to get sucked up there.

Now that it is all nice and cozy again, I thought I would post pictures of “upstairs” as I never did when we enlarged it way back when:

As viewed from the living room. (That yoyo is the cord for the ceiling fan).
The Way up….
The remaining half of my old couch..
The old (about 1900) bookcase I painstakingly restorated some years ago – the glass panes are hand (mouth?) made. Someone had painted it pink. Someone else (presumably) then painted it white over the pink laquer. Underneath all of that was the original wood finishing which was actually the most difficult layer to remove.
My “creative” corner, mostly courtesy of Jen.


On throwing the Constitution out the window – whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty”?

t r u t h o u t – FOCUS | U.S. Plans Lifetime Detentions with No Trial: “Administration officials are preparing long-range plans for indefinitely imprisoning suspected terrorists whom they do not want to set free or turn over to courts in the United States or other countries, according to intelligence, defense and diplomatic officials.

The Pentagon and the CIA have asked the White House to decide on a more permanent approach for potentially lifetime detentions, including for hundreds of people now in military and CIA custody whom the government does not have enough evidence to charge in courts. The outcome of the review, which also involves the State Department, would also affect those expected to be captured in the course of future counterterrorism operations.”

A Happy New Year!

(Better a day late than never, right?)

The New Year’s Eve celebrations here, as elsewhere, were subdued. The Bavarian Prime Minister Eduard Stoiber called on citizens to donate money to help the tsunami victims rather than purchase the traditional fireworks. In fact, there were noticeably less fireworks than usual, and some people interviewed on the radio stated that they didn’t want to skip the fireworks so they donated the same amount spent on the fireworks to the victims. Mourning flags are being flown until January 7 (I think).

I did my traditional New Year’s Eve fondue with all the trimmings and extras, and it was quite a nice evening. We (my father, stepmother and a family acquaintance) managed to hold through to midnight only to get a “second wind” and somehow ended up staying up until almost 3 a.m. Being as I am not a night owl, I napped for two solid hours yesterday afternoon catching up on shut eye.

I was quite surprised yesterday morning when the “Sternsinger” knocked on my door (three children, dressed as the three kings). They sang a song and wrote the traditional New Year’s blessing (20 * C + M + B * 05 – Christus segne dieses Haus (Christ bless this house)) in chalk on my front door. Turns out, this year their collections will also go to the tsunami victims.

All in all, it seems like regardless of what we do, it is just not enough.

Events like this disaster – especially in light of the scale of the disaster, always drive home (for me) the fact that for me and for those I know, life is GOOD. That should be appreciated but is most often taken for granted. We have a refrigerator full of food, a roof over our heads, warm rooms, running water, electricity, etc. The basic necessities.

Everything else – for example, an MP3 player, a bigger car, a faster computer – is trimmings.

But I guess it is human nature to thoughtlessly complain about things that are in fact, trivial, and to always want more than one has. I am guilty of it too.