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Castle Above Vineyrd Good1

Farewell to Germany!

“Prost” my friends!

Here’s to Germany and

all its sights, sounds, and tastes,

to the beer and pretzels,

and Octoberfest toasts

Castle Tower Leaning

 to drifting along soft rivers,

past castle and church,

 to storybook streets and violins,

sliding past towers of ancient dreams,

and holding sweet memories of breathtaking scenes.

Farewell to Germany!

I’m going home.

I’m going home.

From: www.reuters.com Visitors toast each other on a sunny day during Oktoberfest in Munich, September 27, 2008. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

From: http://www.reuters.com
Visitors toast each other on a sunny day during Oktoberfest in Munich REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

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Hurrah!  This is not about Germany, and of course we are back in Virginia.

In spite of falling asleep at odd times for close to a week, I am semi alert and almost fully functioning.

Next:  A Family Visit

And having emerged from tracking in the footsteps of the ancients, I am  now enjoying the excitement of a visit from our son and three grandgirls.

They are volatile, young, fun, and sort of tornadic.

Black BearA Bear Stops By for a Look

To add to the excitement, a bear came for a visit too and my middle grandgirl, Kendall, fearlessly dashed out on the deck to get a picture!  The bear admired her beauty for a minute and then headed for the woods.

Celebrating Birthdays

Two of the three girls share close together birthdays, so we are celebrating those too.  Their birthday dinner request is always for Hungarian Paprikash, a kind of stewed chicken with “knuckles.”

When my brother and I were little we could not pronounce the word  Nokedli (little dumplings) so we called them Knuckles, and that stuck (the word, not the dumplings). And I still cannot pronounce Nokedli.

On a sad note:

Our old friend, Buddy died while we were in Germany and today was his Celebration of Life.  Buddy did not want us to mourn but to remember him with happiness.  We loved him so and had so many years of grand laughter and shared kindness.  The memories are many and we are grateful for that friendship and to continue it now with his daughter, Pam and the rest of his family.

Bill and Buddy

Bill and Buddy

To the Drive-in Movie

This evening our son and grandgirls are headed for Hull’s Drive-In Movie Theatre.  Remember those?

Tonight’s weather prediction is for FROST!   I will stay home in a warm place for dozing and predict they will not make it through the first feature.

Virginia Safari Park

Virginia Safari Park

 

Safari Park

Tomorrow is dedicated to pumpkin carving and a traditional visit to Safari Park, where we have been going since the girls were little.  No visit is complete without high pitched screaming in the car when an emu or other big critter sticks its head through the window for a little more snacking!

The Shock and Awe of Silence

When everybody leaves our home and life returns to a normal routine, I may be accosted by the shock and awe of silence.  But for now, it feels like an extension of our vacation and a time to contemplate the joyful ties of family and friends.

 

 

 

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Dor and Bill at Black Forest Clockmaker

Dor and Bill at Black Forest Clockmaker

I expected to find the Black Forest would be black – or very dark and forbidding.

Instead it was Christmas tree perfect.  It is suspected the name came from the contrast of desiduous trees and their autumn-changing leaves against the darker evergreens.

Black Forest Strem 1

We went to the House of Black Forest Clocks.

There we had Cherry Cake and coffee. and this put us all in a good mood for wandering around intricately handmade cuckoo clocks and Christmas ornaments.

My brother and I both found cuckoo clocks in the land where our mother was born.

From the clock house we visited a Farm museum center to see an old German country home.

The house is the same today as when families and livestock lived there under one roof (for warmth of course and easy access).  The inside was very dark and the center of life was a tile stove (again designed for exuding optimal warmth).

The out buildings are all there too – a bake house or smoke house with a black ceiling from all the cooking, and a mill, all close by.

Old Architecture

Mill House

There were horses to greet us too, and one in particular who never met a stranger.

A German Horse

A German Horse

This German Horse loves visitors.

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There is a lot to see in Germany, many places to visit, much history and charm, but there is something utterly irresistible about German beer, bread, chocolate, cheese, and pastries!

Here, a bakery window holds self-indulgent memories.

Bakery Window

 

 

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CostcoMoncton

Most days I amble around town unrecognized until someone cries, “Hi! How are you?”  That calls for delay and catching up and is part of the whole great thing about living in rural Virginia.

It is rare however, to be heartily greeted by complete strangers.

In the last few days, undoubtedly due to my astounding beauty I have garnered the attention of MEN.  Or maybe this is happening because I look motherly old helpless tired  safe?

It all happened first at Costco in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  It was our twice a year visit to a big store in a bigger city, and talk about exotic places!

Bill was perusing the bakery section.

I was studying  ingredients and drooling over some mini organic oat cake muffins

called Vegan Aussie Bites!

Maybe the drooling was the attraction?

As I resisted the idea of buying anything sweet (talk about noble!), a very tan hippie-ish looking fellow walked alongside me and expounded upon how much he loved those little cakes and how, “I can’t keep my hands off them.”  Still feeling astoundingly beautiful, do you suppose he meant “me” and not “them?”

“Good for you,” I said, clutching my purse which was safely cross-body slung anyway.

As I furtively looked around for Bill to come to the rescue, I noticed my devoted spouse was aware of the exchange, but he was even more immersed in studying some big luscious bear claws than in rushing into any rescue efforts.  Such are the perils of a long marriage.

As it turned out, the strange fellow was just friendly and as he kept nattering away on the merits of the mini cakes,  I determined he was harmless.

I also determined men are more interested in pastries than in elderly women.

However, he did see me drooling over those oat cakes too, so I could not blame him for experiencing unrequited love.

MAKING FRIENDS AT CHECK OUT TIME

Even though Bill and I managed to bring home a carload of “essentials” from Costco that equated to spending a carload of money, I still had to go out for groceries again the very next day.

Bill keeps telling me our food bill does not go down even with all the Costco savings.  Maybe that’s true, because there I was in a regular grocery store again stocking up on all the things we forgot the day before.

And in the check out line ANOTHER STRANGE MAN STRUCK UP A CONVERSATION!

No, it wasn’t the same man.

And I don’t think I was drooling.

 I was simply unloading stuff from the shopping cart onto the moving conveyor belt.

The new fellow began by saying, “I never check the length of check-out lines.  I check out the checker and I always choose this particular lady who knows how to get the job done.”

I smiled and said, “Good for you.”   You may have noticed, I am not too vocal when meeting strange men in markets.

The stranger  went on to say, “I am 68 years old and going for a Bachelor’s degree online and I put up (preserved) 61 jars of garden fresh green beans, and  I am providing  home care and support  for my daughter and grandchildren.”  And while he never stopped talking he reached over and helped unload my groceries!

“Good for you,” I said again,

and of course, “Thank you.”

I don’t know if my reticence scared the two guys away but after engaging in conversation (theirs, not mine), they both quickly disappeared.  Where were they when I needed help loading the car?

Well, now they are fond memories (preserved) in my WordPress blog post of

Exciting Things that Happen to Elderly Beautiful Women in Grocery Stores

(a similar process to preserving green beans).

Please do not pity me for a boring life.

When you live in rural Virginia on the edge of a forest, with only Bill and the deer for diversion, being greeted by two old fascinating men in two days is as exciting as going on Safari!

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Virginia Farm Stuff

Virginia Corn Silk

Virginia Corn Silk

Corn Hi as Elephant's Eye

Virginia Corn

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Friday arrives too quickly to invent mysterious melodrama.  However, if you read these mundane Ranblin’ Randoms, you may discover, hidden among them, some secret messages about preserving youth.

We had dinner with old friends at an old place we all used to love.

Over the years, the four of us went regularly to a favorite restaurant elegantly decorated in Colonial style.  New owners have stripped the drapes and painted the walls light green.  They added an enormous bar, and we’re told they plan to rip out the carpeting and add all hardwood flooring.  We were stunned and a bit saddened by the new décor, but the people were warm and caring and the food was warm and good.  They say to stay young, you have to tolerate change.  Thus, in the interest of maintaining youth, we decided to return another day for another fine meal in somewhat stark splendor.

Before

Before

Herman’s Produce again.

I returned for the best tasting tomatoes, homegrown garlic, the prettiest eggplant ever, and “donut peaches.”  Wow!  If you haven’t tried these sweet little babies, now is the time. Summertime and the living is easy, especially when you have  farmer’s market resources like in Lexington, Virginia.   Note:  Trying new things will keep you young or at least keep you in a state of shocked adaptation.

Can you find the donut peaches?

Can you find the donut peaches?

Our weather forecasts have been consistently Hot/Muggy/Stormy.

But the local forecast for tomorrow is simply written as “Beautiful.”  That’s nice because Noche (the German Shepherd) and Judy (my niece) are arriving tomorrow for a farewell visit before they move to California.  We have become attached to Noche of course and have always been attached to Judy.  I’m afraid there will be tears at the close of their visit.  But in the interest of preserving youth, we must accept the ravages of change.  And I do plan to go out kicking and screaming, “NO!!!!!”

Judy and Noche on a previous visit

Judy and Noche on a previous visit

This week featured a trip to the dentist. 

Speaking of kicking and screaming, clean teeth are” in.”

Tooth Selfie

Tooth Selfie

And after a visit to the dentist my teeth are Vogue-cover worthy and no cavities either!  Chancy is the best dental hygienist ever, but she just got married.  That means I worry about her longevity (in the dentist’s office that is).  Babies have a way of changing things.  Of course personal longevity is at stake too, so in the interest of at least looking young via bright white teeth, I continue to take my chances with Chancy.

Replacing the Bathroom Floor

On the Way to New FloorFinally, we are replacing a much abused 26 year old master bathroom floor! Two of our expert handy-person friends are working on it now.  My own preparations included finding a place for everything where there is already no room.  There are now items like the bathroom scale in the clothes closet, extra toilet paper in the kitchen cupboard, shampoo in underwear drawers, and lotions and medicines in the linen closet.  I hope to relocate such items and restore them to their proper places in the bathroom before Judy arrives tomorrow or she may be in for a shock.

All my floors are pristine and germ free of course, because germs are the roots of all evil and the cause of premature death.  Notice that Paranoia is not included (but maybe should be) in the following list.

In case you missed any of the hidden messages though, here’s a summary of how to live a long and happy life:

Get a good dental hygienist.

Avoid germs.

Get a dog.

Don’t let family move far away.

Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

Get a dog.

Try new things.

Accept change.

“Go with the flow.”

Get a dog,

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Ornamental Herbs

Ornamental Herb

Just look at my parsley and basil!  They were only little guys when I bought them at Herman’s Produce this Spring.

Yes!  Herman’s has a wonderful little nursery too!

Bounteous Basil

Bounteous Basil

Perfectly Perfect Parsley

Perfectly Perfect Parsley

Big Purple Basil in a Pot

Purple Basil in a Pot

The herbs are so lush and healthy, I think of them as ornamental landscape additions that can be harvested for food and health.

Talk about multi-tasking!

 

 

And would you believe I have harvested them for drying at least three times?

 

And of course, Herman’s Produce is known for (guess what?) it’s produce too!

 

 

They feature fresh-from-the-farm tomatoes –

and everything else that looks and tastes like Summer!

 

And the rumor is a local green house grower

is growing veggies exclusively for Herman’s!

 

We are already eagerly awaiting December

for tomatoes that will taste as good as Summer!

 

Imagine a tomato and mayo sandwich for Xmas?

Yummmm.

Herman's Produce Lexington, Virginia

Herman’s Produce
Lexington, Virginia

Herman's Produce Lexington, Virginia

Herman’s Produce
Lexington, Virginia

 

 

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Misty Morning Mountain View

Bill and I have been city transfers to Virginia country life for 26 years now.

The house feels brand new and happily, our visitors keep saying, “You have a nice place here.”

Oh, it needs a few tweaks like interior paint, but it is intimidating to think about moving big furniture around , so we invested in Mr. Clean’s Magic Erasers.

The ugly old wood stove still works to save our lives in winter when the power goes out.  You  can’t disguise an ugly stove so she has a place of honor in the living room.   After 26 years she looks a bit tired with rust stains and slightly dull brass edging, but  I consider them wrinkles and frown lines and signs of character (like mine) and we will grow old together.

Our Wood Stove

In the garden, where we dug and weeded, and planted, and weeded ad infinitum (reaching for the ultimate landscape and nature’s edible harvests), we are now content to watch bears, squirrels, and birds massacre the fruitful peach trees.  And the once raised-bed vegetable garden became a giant salad bowl for deer.   Ah well, there are two farmer’s markets in our little town.

hypertufa-pool-1

I used to make Hypertufa pots with my friends (they look like natural rock).  I still use them to enhance the garden, but if you ask me to make more I’ll undoubtedly be yawning and yearning for a nap! There are wonderful  memories of “Hypertufa parties” and how we worked so hard mixing cement with feathers. What fun we had –  like children playing in the mud.

Living out here in “no man’s land” is still exciting though. I can always look out the window to see a sweet doe and her spotted fawn happily munching flowers I thought they wouldn’t like.  And I always hold my breath in awe no matter how often I see them.

Or I can see so many wild turkeys strutting along that I call them a “herd” instead of a flock. Technically a group of wild turkeys is  a flock, whereas a group of domesticated turkeys is known as a rafter or gang.

Or how about that Mama Bear and her twin cubs who recently marched right past our living room window and dared anyone to get in the way?

Life does move on (albeit a bit slower) even in Rural Virginia.  And like anywhere else, the people are always who matter most.  Happily we are still surrounded by living characters who color our lives. But, we lost close friends over time and are frequently reminded of how important they were then and now as they inhabit memories and dreams.

  • Meche taught me all about laughter and fun, and even though I never caught on, the value of bargain shopping.
  • From Viola I learned about land and water cress  and never to allow a dog to kill  chickens or sheep “else he will be shot by the farmer or you will have to shoot him yourself.”   She was a gruff, impatient, kindly friend and I will never forget her shouting, “ARE WE GOING TO PLAY OR NOT?” when we talked too much before or during a ladies’ poker game.
  • Les was a man’s man and a lady’s idea of John Wayne – a big man, always ready to help in a big way.
  • Courageous, fun loving Mary Beth insisted on always trying new things.  We met as docents at the Stonewall Jackson House.  “MB” would never stop at a chain restaurant when we traveled together and everywhere we went was an exciting adventure.
  • Frank and Alice contributed Forsythia bushes when we were new, and told us about Puff Ball mushrooms that were safe to eat.
  • Brownie kept us supplied with homemade pickles that we didn’t like, but we did love Brownie.

 But as we go about the business of life, making new friends and forging new memories,  enjoying the old house in slightly different ways, Bill and I are still genuinely thrilled when visitors say,“You have a nice place here.”

And they don’t seem to mind the sign in the guest room that reads:

“Check out time: Noon! Gratuities Accepted!”

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SilhouetteI have been on a “diet” most of my life and am always shocked at how many different approaches there are to achieving a slim profile.   I think my slimmest profile was probably at birth because the search for a foolproof diet has never ended.

Well imagine my delight when looking through a box of old memories I stumbled upon forgotten words of wisdom from my long-departed mother.  The yellowed crackly piece of paper inspired my imagination.  I had found a long lost treasure on how to lose weight.

Talk about excited!

I was so thrilled I immediately began retyping the whole thing – for you, my friends, who may also be in search of a diet with a guarantee. And I graciously accept your words of gratitude (in advance) for sharing this with you now.

A WEIGHT LOSS DIET GUARANTEED TO WORK

BECAUSE MY WISE OLD MOM ONCE TOLD ME SO:

Monday

Breakfast – Weak tea.

Lunch – One bouillon cube, half cup diluted water.

Dinner – One pigeon thigh, 3 ounces prune juice (gargle only).

Tuesday

Breakfast – Scraped crumbs of burnt toast.

Lunch – One doughnut hole without sugar, one glass dehydrated water.

Dinner – One fish egg – shad or sturgeon (minced).

Wednesday

Breakfast – Shredded egg shell skins.

Lunch – Belly button from navel orange.

Dinner – 3 eyes from Irish potatoes (diced).

Thursday

Breakfast – Half ounce strained unflavored jello with one peeled grape.

Lunch – Half dozen poppy seeds.

Dinner – Bee’s knees and mosquito knuckles sauté with vinegar.

Friday

Breakfast – Two lobster antennae.

Lunch – One guppy fin.

Dinner – Fillet of soft shelled crab claw.

Saturday

Breakfast – Four chopped banana seeds.

Lunch – Broiled butterfly liver.

Dinner – Jellyfish vertebrae a la bookbinder.

Sunday

Breakfast – Pickled hummingbird tongues.

Lunch – Prime ribs of tadpole and aroma of empty custard pie plate.

Dinner – Tossed paprika and clover leaf (one).

Notice:  All meals to be eaten under microscope to avoid extra portions.

Good luck with this diet my friends.

You have now met my Mom, whose sense of humor was one of her most remarkable traits.

She is long gone to her better place, but comes back to me in strange and wonderful ways.

Silhouette of successful weight loss figure from www.fatlossmentality.com .

 

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