Sunday, December 30, 2007
We did have a bit of snow here. Made for some pretty pictures.
Nora's back yard
We met Daniel's parents, brothers and the Trautner family for a goose dinner on the 23rd. Here's Daniel with Nora and Walter.
Christmas eve we did our last minute shopping (the line for the checkout at REWE grocery began at the front door and snaked around the store) and then headed over to Nora's. Here's an ornament on her tree - Daniel drew it when he was 11 years old.
The major drama was when Chou Chou attacked Carl's hand.
When all the guests arrived, we did our gift exchange. I ended up with a basket of homemade goodies from Nora's friend Hardi and Daniel got a Vanessa Paridis CD from Nora's friend Doris. Ruth's daughter Rebekah got Daniel's gift of chocolate and Helga's son HW got my gift of dessert tea, hot chocolate and a mug. Then we had fondue for dinner.
Florian, HW, and Daniel relax after the meal
Christmas day we hosted a lunch for Daniel's father Micha, stepmother Mietzie and all 4 brothers. I made sweet potato cassarole, baked potatoes, and brownies and Micha made steaks and brought salad. We had drawn names for this gift exchange and we opened them youngest to oldest and I took a picture of each.
Frederick (and a good view of our tree!)
Steffen (with his Zombie from Daniel)
(according to Daniel, Mietzie does not want her pic to be posted, so I am honoring her wishes)
Next Christmas, Frederick will be in pilot school in Phoenix so not only will I be home for christmas but we might just bring the whole German crowd with us again.
Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and thanks for reading my blog this year.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
That's Hans (with the bow) and Sydney on christmas day after they've ripped into all the wrapping paper. Silke wanted no part of the action and sat on Sandy's lap. Wild dogs!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Monday the 10th we went to the "leaving Franfurt" party of my former boss at Ogilvy, Folker Wrage. Folker is German but he is one of the few German copywriters that I have met here that can also write copy in English. He was a copywriting mentor for me at my first copywriting position and I learned a lot from him. He's not going too far - just to Hamburg.
On Wednesday and Thursday (Andrea's birthday) we were over at Andrea and Oli's to visit them and little Levi. Daniel totally monopolized Levi's time.
Friday I went to Neue Digitale's christmas party. My first ND christmas party was 5 years ago and it's amazing how much has changed. At that time there were 40 employees and now there are 150 in two locations. There are only about 7 people (including me and Roanne - below) that were around 5 years ago. The dinner was delicious and the company amusing - but since it was a private party, smoking was allowed which I am totally not used to anymore.
Roanne and me
On Saturday we visted Daniel's father and stepmother in Wiesbaden and we went out to Hausen to eat rabbit at Daniel's mother's place. There were two big pieces. Nora, Daniel and I ate one. Then we went to look at christmas trees. We picked out a small one and Henning (the employee there) cut it down for us (soooo sad!!). Nora picked out hers and we drove back. Then we discovered that we had left out the other piece of rabbit and the dog had eaten it. Oops!
On Sunday we went to Butzbach to visit Daniel's friend Florian and his wife and twin sons. Daniel is their godfather. Florian has a cafe there where parents can have a drink while their children play. Daniel did the logo for him (as seen below). I tried to get pictures of the twins, but they were just too fast for me.
Daniel was in the hospital for three days for a routine surgery. He got out yesterday is kind of puttering around now, but is happy to be back at home.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
1. On Monday November 26th, my 4 1/2 year old HP laptop gave up the ghost
2. From Nov 30-Dec 3rd, Daniel and I were in La Coruna, Spain
3. I am sick with a nasty flu - fever, cold and the whole works
Hope to be back soon :)
In the meantime, I do want to congratulate the Mullins family on the birth of their 3rd daughter Miriam and Andrea and Olli on the birth of their son Levi.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Friday we were supposed to go to the dentist. I saw beforehand that the train strike would affect our route so I picked a train that was supposedly still running. When Daniel and I got to the station, we got our tickets and went up to the platform only to discover that our train was not on its full scheldule and our train wasn't coming. With no alternate way to get to the dentist (Florian had borrowed our car) we had to cancel. Surprisingly we were able to sell our tickets to some Swiss guys - so at least we didn't lose our 4 Euro.
Saturday I finally bought a decent chair for my home office. It's an Aeron chair by Herman Miller - stylish and super comfortable. My cheapo IKEA one was breaking my back by the end of a long day.
Last night we went to Turm Palast, the only English movie theater in town, to see Atonement. I really enjoyed the novel so I was quite excited to see it. BUT, the Turm Palast really knows how to put a damper on your movie going experience though. The staff is usually surly (not uncommon in Germany to be sure), many seats are broken or have gunk on them (the last renovation must have been right after WWII - ha!) and last night the print had a big green line down the middle and the sound was ear-piercingly loud. There is always the rumour that they'll finally tear this junk pile down and rebuild which is sorely overdue. Of course where will we see films in English in the meantime? I don't want to have to resort to seeing dubbed films.
And finally, let me introduce you to my current Internet addiction: http://www.freerice.com/
For each vocabulary word you get right, they donate 10 grains of rice to help end world hunger. I always hover between a vocab level of 43 - 46. Some of the words in the upper levels are insanely obscure.
PS - Happy birthday Florian (Daniel's brother)!! Scoot on over to Daniel's Daily Drawings to see the wonderful present Daniel did for his dear brother.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Mother Revolution *
Caught A Lite Sneeze
A Sorta Fairytale
Friday, November 16, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Som and me
In addition to frolicking on the beach and experiencing a Pastor Will sermon, I also got to attend 2 of Eleanor's softball games. The first game they won with only 5 girls against 10 and the second game... well let's just say it wasn't their night.
El in her uniformTabby treasuring his secret garden
Friday, November 2, 2007
Kelly and I next to the fountain on Roosevelt's Island
I hung out with them until I had to take Kelly to the airport on Monday at 5 pm for her diplomatic trip to Sri Lanka. We had a blast. I loved seeing their highly-closeted new apartment, marveling at the planes flying taking off right over our heads at Gravelly Point (Reagan national airport), going to Kelly's church to hear Tommy (who I met at her wedding) preach (we chose church over the Spin Doctor's who were playing for free in Crystal City at the same time) and engaging in a professional level pumpkin carving.
After dropping Kelly off at Dulles, I drove two hours south to Charlottesville to visit college pal Gina and her husband Curby. I hadn't gotten to see Gina in years so it was a real treat. Both Gina and Curby were such gracious hosts despite her being 6 months pregnant with twin boys and sort of on bed rest. Curby made some delicious meals and we compared notes on Ecuador. Gina took me on a University of Virginia tour and to Jefferson's residence (Monticello) - both are UNESCO world heritage listed. Edgar Allen Poe's dorm room at the university is still preserved - here's a picture -
For Halloween, I was back in D.C. at Heather's and we went out to a great mexican restaurant (I will look up the name and post it soon) that serves the best guacamole ever. They prepare it fresh in front of you with big, ripe avocados. I am still thinking about it days later.
We also went to Mt. Vernon and saw the movie "Michael Clayton" (we went to movies a lot together in Frankfurt - just like old times). And so, after a very social and activity packed week in DC, it was off to sunny Florida...
Saturday, October 27, 2007
One advantage of my new flights was that they left later so I could sleep longer and Daniel was able to take me the airport to see me off. But I would only have 1 1/2 hrs in Atlanta to get through a) passport control b) getting my bag, going through customs and rechecking my bag c) going through the security check and d) getting to A terminal from E terminal. And then my flight landed 20 min late! So I was thinking I was doomed. But much to my surprise, there were no lines at a) and c) and my bag b) was one of the first to come. d) was no problem and I arrived at my gate right at boarding where I also found out I was upgraded - though first class on a 1 1/2 hr flight only means a larger seat, tea in a real china mug and a bag of chips when coach got nothing to eat.
Weather in D.C.? Pouring down rain. Heather picked me up at National airport and we took the metro to her apartment. We ate some hummos and crackers and then headed off to DAR Constitution Hall. Unfortunately for me, Tori opened her set again as the political doll (saw her in Frankfurt) so out of the 4 possible dolls, I have seen 1 twice. Wouldn't be such a big deal, except that her set was almost identical to the Frankfurt set - though I did get Scarlet's Walk for the first time.
Highlights of Tori's set for me were Hotel, Leather (first time seeing it live if you can believe that), and the aforementioned Scarlet's Walk. I did get quite a few repeats from the Frankfurt show and I did not get Sugar or Northern Lad (my faves which I still haven't heard!!) but her voice was really on and it was a great performance. Heather really enjoyed it, though we both were really tired by the last songs. We ended up leaving during the last encore to beat the crowd to a taxi and get home to sleep.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Baby showers are rare here so most of the guests had never been to one. We played two games - the baby picture guessing game (though only half brought a baby picture of themselves) and the baby food flavor guessing game (who knew that baby food was so ... not tasty?).
My favorite photo from the shower is of Roanne and Andrea checking out the baby photos:
In other news, I am off to the states again on Friday. I will be in DC to visit Heather, Kelly, Steve and college buddy Gina, then Florida to visit Sommer and family and then Wichita for a week visit with all my family and friends there. I will post updates when I can. And yes, that means I will spend my very first Christmas in Germany this year.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
The fair was of course very different than the book fair - we were in the hall with all the fruit juices and energy drinks so free drink samples were everywhere.
Daniel looking the part at the Pimp Juice stand
We also explored the gourmet food hall a bit where I was excited to see American products such as pastrami and twisslers. I also really liked this new Smooze fruit ice - made with coconut milk so it is lactose free. Yummy.
Passina had hired a band to play at the stand starting at 6 pm and it attracted many dancers and onlookers. After that came to an end, we went to have dinner with the client. I learned many interesting facts about fruit - that's for sure!
Monday, October 15, 2007
At Harper Collins they told me that any ARCs or uncorrected proofs I found I could have for free and all other books were 75% off the cover price. Charlotte and Tracy went into a buying frenzy and I went into a ARC frenzy - I got 5 ARCs, 4 children book mock-ups and bought 1 book. I also lucked out at Faber and Faber, getting 4 ARCs (including Junot Diaz' "The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao" which I am very excited about and the new Peter Carey "His Illegal Self") and Hachette Book Group where I got 4 thriller ARCs and a free hardback copy of Stephen Colbert's new book "I am America (and so can you)". I also got a free Lonely Planet East Africa guide for a possible future trip.
Daniel met us later, bringing pretzels and bakery goods and went off to look at design books -he got a few at really great prices.
In between all of our scavenging for books (I really could have gotten WAY more, but at some point, you just can't carry any more...), we kept Wes company at the PowerHouse book stand. Andrea, Silke and her friend came by at one point and we had to take a picture - it looked like the "party" stand!
As soon as the closing bell rang, we were out of there. Charlotte, Daniel, Wes and I ate at Coa and then Charlotte left to catch her train back to Bremen. We then had dessert at a cafe next to the old opera house and brought Wes back to our new place to check it out.
From my point of view it was a very successful book fair - I have a ton of books to read after only spending 5 Euro (plus the price of my entry ticket - 43 Euro) and I got to hang out with many dear old and new friends.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
The next thing we wanted to do was go to a book signing from Manfred Deix - another famous German cartoonist that Daniel likes. There we bought two of his books and had them signed - one for Daniel's father 65th birthday and one for us.
Charlotte L came down from Bremen and arrived at just after 2 pm, so we met her at the entrance and Daniel took her luggage home while Charlotte and I explored the fair a bit more. We walked around the German literature publishers and at one publisher, S. Fischer, I observed the reps giving out books to a couple of girls. I then asked the girls what they said to get the books and they said they were students. I marched up to the counter and asked if they were giving out copies and she asked me if I was a student. I said "No, but I am learning German". We conversed a bit about me being from the US and then she gave me a book which she really likes - "Family and Other Accidents" by Shari Goldhagen - in German translation of course. She gave me her card and said if I wrote to her after the book fair, she would send me a book from a German author - so let's see what happens!
I asked at a few more stands for books but no luck. We had to head home anyway to get ready for Micha's birthday party in Wiesbaden. We got there a little after 6 pm and stayed until nearly midnight.
My favorite picture of the night (because it is so typical of them) Florian, Frederick and Daniel looking in different directions
The birthday boy with Alice, me and Charlotte
Saturday, October 13, 2007
We also went around at looked at the design books in 4.1 and collected magazines. The Economist was free. The Spiegel was free (sadly Daniel had already bought the issue). Focus was free to take only if you signed up for a nine week subscription, but I told her (in my best "broken German") I could only read one in 9 weeks, so she just gave it to me. Stern had a huge stand filled with copies but they wouldn't give any out at all.
After all our walking around, we just wanted to relax a bit, so we found comfy seats in the FAZ (Frankfurt newspaper) forum. They even brought us free water!
I then had to go pick up Pete (who we know from virtual tourist) in Hall 8.0 to go out to dinner and Lin left.
Daniel met us at the Fressgasse ("pig out alley") at a German restaurant where we ate lots of spatzle - yum!
Friday, October 12, 2007
The second event I went to was in the Reading Tent at 2 pm. It was advertised as a discussion of writing good children's books but... I got nothing out of it. Oh well.
I also visited Florian's girlfriend Alice at her stand in Hall 4 briefly (she is working at a Swiss publishing house in Zurich right now) and walked around in Hall 3 looking at German children's books. I happened to walk past the Langenscheidt stand and saw that they distribute bags on the hour, every hour. Since it was nearly time, I joined the small crowd that had gathered - I mean these were "high quality" plastic - not just paper like other stands were giving away. After a few minutes, a sales rep came out and dumped a whole bunch of bags on the floor and ran away. That's when people began pushing and shoving from all directions trying to get at the bags!!! It was unreal. I did get a bag and a couple of bruises as well. If I had known it would go down like that, I would have just watched from a distance.
After that, I just wanted to get home quickly, but had to walk all the way through the hall to get to the subway. I happened to see that German publisher Goldmann was giving away reader's copies, but it didn't look like something I would read (especially since I have only ever read 2 novels in German). I asked the rep if it was easy to read and he said that I shouldn't read that one since it was translated from English and he gave me a book from a German author Leonie Swann. It's published in English as "Three Bags Full - A Sheep Detective Story". Looks pretty interesting - and free is always good :)
In the evening we went to a children's book launch at a gallery here with our new neighbor who has a baby, Jonah. It was a joint Spanish/German effort and since they just moved to Frankfurt after living in Barcelona for 3 years, I thought they might enjoy it. The illustrations were quite nice, but they story itself was rather bizzare. We left after an hour since Jonah was getting restless.
Daniel, Kerstin and Jonah with book illustrations in background