Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sauer Kraut at Harley Davidson gang run junkyard today: "I need a loud horn for my car. I'm taking it back to Germany and there people just walk out in front of you, and I need something that will make them jump out of the way."

Harley gang: "Why don't you just run them over?"

Sauer Kraut: "Well, I can't do that. I don't want any legal problems."

Harley gang: "We just put loud pipes on our bikes so people get out of the way."

Sauer Kraut: "I had loud pipes on my bike in Germany and lost my license for two years."

Harley gang: "Go out back, there are some old Cadillacs out there, you can take a horn from one of those."

Sign on the wall in Harley gang's office: "Wanted: old motorcycles. No Japs." Good think S.K. didn't mention what kind of bike he had those loud pipes on, they would've kicked him out. Or run him over.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

What question could I have asked this 8 Ball one year ago during the planning of my move from Dresden to Michigan?
a. Will this move make me lose my mind?
b. Am I ever going to have more children?
c. Will we ever move back to Dresden?
d. All of the above.
Sorry to get all hocus-pocus on you and start writing about silly things like four leaf clovers and 8 balls lately, but I am feeling kind of hocus-pocusy. I guess being nearly six months pregnant will do that to you. Oh! That gives away one answer: b. could have been a correct question for that 8 ball answer. It's true, there is a baby on the way, and in honor of that, a baby joke I heard today:
Two babies were lying in the nursery of a hospital. One looks at the other and says, "I'm a girl!" The other says, "I'm a boy!" The girl asks, "How do you know that?" The boy says, "Come here, take a look" as he pulls down his blanket. "See! I have blue booties on!"
Ha ha ha. That one is from the Danish mother of a wife of a colleague, imported straight from Denmark.
Anyway, back to the hocus pocus. Along with all the four leaf clovers (see previous posts about my finding of 4 of them in the past week), all fortunes from fortune cookies at every delicious Chinese restaurant I go to have been telling me that prosperity is near, and soon you will be sitting on top of the world and stuff like this. Huh, well, we'll see. I quit my job today, so that won't be making me prosperous any time soon. It may be a surprise to some that I quit my job, but it really is for the best. You see, I feel like I am losing my mind once again planning yet another intercontinental move...so answer a. above was also correct. I probably did lose my mind last year during intercontinental move #1. Big news for those not yet in on it! We are returning to Dresden! And now, a little Westernhagen (or is it Nena?) in honor of this:
"Ich bin wieder hier
in meinem Revier
war nie wirklich weg
hab mich nur versteckt
ich rieche den Dreck
ich atme tief ein
und dann bin ich mir sicher
wieder zu Hause zu sein"
I know my readers could probably all qualify as members of Mensa, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this, so you've probably figured out that answer c. from above would have also been correct last year had I asked the 8 ball that particular question. And from the Dreck part of the song, you probably also figured out that we are returning to the Neustadt! Hooray! We're not there yet, so I can't smell the Dreck (dirt) just quite yet...but soon enough. July 9th, I will officially be smelling the smell of Dresden again!
Soooo, in all truth, the 8 ball could have just said "All of the above."
Things I can't wait for:
-delicious German baked goods
-going to the Plus Markt and having the cashier throw my purchases for me to bag them myself (I'll tell you what, that's a lot more efficient than the slloooooooww cashiers here, and I can deal with my thrown purchases much better when tired and hungry than with some friendly cashier chatting with me)
-giving people dirty looks for anything and everything (I've already been practicing, I am sick of all the niceness around here!)
-letting Wilhelm scream in the store and getting dirty looks
-did I mention sunflower seed rolls? Quarkkuchen? Roggenbrötchen? Kuchen? Any kind of Kuchen? Schokoladenbrötchen? Oh yeah, baked goods!
-my bike
-the tram
-delicious milk products
-Kartoffeln und Quark
-the smell of the bakery in the morning, oh my god
-the lack of fast food restaurants
-Neustädter Diechl!
-the playgrounds and all the über-moms there
-being sent to the butcher to buy some meat products I know nothing about and will not eat, looking and pointing at the totally wrong thing when placing my order
-mmm, the cheese! All the wonderful cheese!
-people outside walking, biking, running and skating everywhere, even in the rain!
-all of the sounds, the angry tram drivers and their angry bells, car horns honking, dogs barking, people talking, church bells, the music in the cafes...
I could go on and on, but it's getting late and we have a big day of packing the car and dealing with the debacle that that is sure to develop into tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Good Luck

I walked out the door today, and what was staring up at me from the lawn? Another four-leaf clover! The fourth one in a week. We must be heading for some luck, or needing some major luck soon...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What's going on?

We must be doing something right, because today I found my third four leaf clover this week. How can that be? Are these things really lucky? Do I need all of this luck, or is it a sign that we are just doing everything right? Some very big decisions were made and finalized this week, then I started finding these! One on the 17th, one on the 18th and one today. And it's just when I am walking along, looking down at the grass, they jump out at me, I don't sit and search for them like I did when I was a child (when I also found several). On the 17th and 18th, I was walking from the car to the house, and there they were. Today I was walking over from my neighbor's garage, and there was one. Huh. The really funny thing is that I haven't found one for years, and now 3 in one week.
C'mon Dresden...

The whole world cultural heritage site thing is getting old. For those not in the know, Dresden's Elbe Valley, a nearly 20 kilometer long part of the Elbe River Valley (it's the red outlined part on the map of Dresden above), was declared a UNESCO world cultural heritage site a few years ago. Now the title is in danger because the citizens of Dresden voted to build a bridge at one point within this area. Indeed, the planned (and currently under construction) bridge is not a pretty one (see below), and its planning has some flaws, but how can this bridge lead to the removal of the title of world cultural heritage site?

By definition, a world cultural heritage site is a cultural landscape in a large city that has been used and formed by humans. I know, I know, the UNESCO has 6 criteria all written out in pretty language describing how this cultural landscape is to be, but basically, what I wrote above is what it boils down to. The criteria are written in such a way that one could understand them to mean that the new bridge in Dresden, just as an example, is acceptable or unacceptable (the architecture in the area unifies one or more significant cultural epochs) . It all depends on how you want to understand and view the whole thing.

How can one ugly bridge ruin 20 kilometers of an incredibly beautiful landscape full of architectural and natural treasures? There are other existing ugly bridges in the 20 km stretch of cultural heritage. Everyone claims how these incredible meadows that are so nice for picnicking, etc. are being destroyed. But do you know what? I rarely saw people picnicking or playing sports where this bridge is being built. You know where the people are picnicking? By the other bridges! People put cows out on these meadows to chow on the grass, and bale it up when the time is right, but that is still doable when a bridge is there. You can still go for a walk down there by the Waldschlößschen where they are building the bridge, it will just be a bit louder, but guess what everyone, you're in the city, and it's loud in the city. Should they close the Königsbrücker Straße in the Neustadt because it's loud and it stinks? NO! I live on a quiet road in the country right now, and I am losing my mind. Bring on the noise!

My main beef with the Waldschlößchen bridge is that I hear it has no opportunity for pedestrians or cyclists to cross. Also no trams. Please correct me if I'm wrong on this point, but I find this unacceptable and silly. Of course, that is just in my own personal interest, as a pedestrian and cyclist. In my current life I am forced to drive a car, but at heart, I am a pure pedestrian and cyclist, and would love to bike across this bridge to work or wherever I might need to go on that other side of the river. It would be much more convenient than biking over one of the other bridges and then rattling my brains out on some of those cobblestone streets they've got over there. Why not build big with space for pedestrians, cyclists and a tram that could be added later should the need arise (though the need is probably already there)?

Maybe the whole thing is just a set up, maybe someone in Dresden paid off the UNESCO to give them the title then threaten to take it away (even though they knew upon awarding the title that this bridge was planned) for publicity. I've got to say, if nothing else, this whole debacle is spectacular publicity for Dresden. No one would have even known that the Elbe River Valley in Dresden was a world cultural heritage site if it weren't for the title being endangered by the bridge. A lot of people never would have even heard of Dresden or thought about Dresden had this not happened. The only problem is that a lot of people are probably shaking their heads and saying "Those silly Dresdner!" about the bridge trouble.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Assorted stuff of late

Not a whole lot has been going on around here, but that's probably just the calm before the storm. We had some visitors, a couple of birthday parties, and lots of asking ourselves "What's next?"

I love this sign, it is posted near Beaverton on Dundas Road. Someone really wants to scare people off of their property. But, if you look closely at the lower right hand corner, you notice that this sign was ripped off from the city of San Diego, where, unlike in Michigan, they must actually have rattlesnakes.

My sailor friend pointed this out to me on a stop in Traverse City, MI. "Oh my God! Come look at this! You've got to put it on your blog!" All I can say is: shame on you, Mother Nature!

Wilhelm is only 3 years old, and on two of his birthdays, he has had hail storms. What are the odds of that with a late May birthday? On his first birthday in Dresden there was a sudden hail storm, and this year on his third birthday in Beaverton, there was a sudden hail storm. Weird.

Wilhelm's birthday wishes? Balloons and bunny cake. He got both, and the excitement was immense.