Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sailing Club

Maggie's in the school's sailing club. They have a whole fleet of boats down in Potsdam. On Monday they did their last sailing of the season and she had a great time. Now, in the cold weather season, the club will meet and study sailing theory and learn boat maintenance. She's loving it! She's the one in the purple hat in the big boat below. What a gorgeous day it was!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It's my half birthday! Yay me!

Yeah, my wife made me half a really delicious chocolate cake for my half birthday! Spoiled, or just really worth celebrating?

By the way, read my friend Shannon's blog. There are some unnatural goings-on with a mongoose.

Touring about

Last Monday, I took my folks for a drive in the countryside south of Berlin. The method was just to type into the GPS the name of a village on a small looking road, admire road, admire village, eat cake, repeat. We saw lots of great countryside, tree-lined lanes and fall color. The highlight of small towns was Luckenwalde, which sports a beautiful church and walking mall at its center.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Life at its usual pace, with visitors!

My mom and dad are officially our first visitors to Berlin. They got in on Thursday after some rerouting and delays and they're starting to adjust to the time zone.  So far, aside from a tourist cruise on the Spree, we've just been showing them what our lives look like on a regular day.  

Maggie had soccer games yesterday.  She's new to playing with a team but she's picking it up fast.  Currently she's playing defense and she got in some good plays.  

Saturday afternoon, we took a walk through the Grunewald to Chalet Suise for some time in the biergarten.  

Unfortunately, the crud is working its way through the family.  Kate's not been at full power for about a week now and for the past couple of days her voice has been down to a whisper.  Very uncharacteristic!  Maggie's looking a little wilty today but so far Aidan and I are hanging on.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Potsdam Apfelfest

We went to the Potsdam Apfelfest yesterday. (That's Apple Fest, if your German is even more rudimentary than mine.) Having missed the renowned Dahlem Kartoffelfest (Potato Fest) a couple of weekends ago, we were eager to see what was going on. They seem to celebrate every harvest here. I'm especially looking forward to Spargelfest (white asparagus fest) in the spring. Now I have to say that I thought Apfelfest would have been full of apples, but all we really saw were some boxes of apples and a guy making cold pressed cider on the spot. The Apfel puffers will have to wait for another day. There was no shortage of good food though, cheese, sausage, crepes, Hungarian fried dough things, hot wine and cider. The whole fest had a medieval theme, as though the apple harvest were a ye olde apple harvest. The knights' show was a highlight. Presumably the presentation was about how the knights would use different formations in battle, as the knights kept lining up in different ways as the guy described... what it was he was describing. Just when we were about to get fed up with not getting it, things started getting silly. The knights lined up in a sturdy phalanx and the emcee threw himself against this unyielding wall to show its strength. Then a bunch of little kids lined up, charged the phalanx and the knights all obligingly went down like a house of cards.  After that there were several battles in which they kept adding elements, like lances, bowmen, etc. After it got good and complicated they did it all in slow motion which was hilarious. When a rubber tipped arrow would hit a knight, he would pick it up, stick it in his armpit and spiral to the ground and act like a corpse, unless he was in danger of getting stepped on, in which case he might scooch over a little, all the while maintaining the instrument of his impalement in place with one hand.  Wunderbar! I'll be hitting all the fests I can from now on!

Kate and Maggie, ready to fest


Brave knights in battle.
Actual apples.
Sausage, brown mustard and nutty bread!
Medieval goths.

Settling In

Finally a post about Germany! I've just about got you to the present date. Here are some pics of our new digs, mostly before we got the majority of our stuff. The place looks a lot more lived in now.
Where our back yard ends, the Grunewald begins.

Dining/Living room, before we got most of our stuff.


Aidan's room. We got the loft beds in a small shipment before we got most of our stuff.

Missing the big LCD. Is that Ballykissangel?

Unpacking the household effects. Maggie amidst her lovies.

Summer o' Fitness

The summer of 2010 was all about getting fit. For me, it was cardiac rehab at Munson Medical Center three times a week, getting myself back after my surgery. Eventually, I was strong enough to ride a bike and I treated myself to a new cyclocross bike, which I put miles on just about every day I wasn't at the gym. I guess I scared Kate a little bit with my cardiac incident (understatement of the century) and she got really serious about not just my health, but hers too. The Mediterranean diet kicked in for the sake of our hearts and Kate took up running. She quickly built up to a 5k+/day habit and culminated her efforts at the Elk Rapids Harbor Run. She's feeling great and looking great!
Kate's running cap, heart rate monitor and fuel

Kate and Maggie ready for the Harbor Run

Maggie sailing across the finish line of the 1 mile Harbor Fun Run

Is that a healthy glow?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Passover (3/29/10)

We had a wonderful family Passover dinner on the 29th of March. We all planned to attend a community Seder at some friends' house but while Kate and the kids made it, I had to fly to South Africa that day for some tests.  This was the beginning of a medical saga that ended in a triple bypass for me and a slightly premature end to our tour in Lusaka. I returned to Lusaka in the middle of May and helped Kate with the packout. We were back in Elk Rapids by Memorial Day for a nice long summer.

Visiting Germany

In mid-March I got to go to Frankfurt, Germany for Citrix training. I took advantage of the location to visit our buddies, the Mullins, and to bop up to Berlin for a weekend and check things out.

Old Church at Kudamm, Berlin

US Embassy, Berlin, Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag in the background.

Housing in Frankfurt
Dakota's drill team at Wiesbaden
Dave, proud dad
Mullins boys!

Downtown Frankfurt

Kate's bday

She likes her new sparklies.
Maggie got sparklies too!
Happy birthday! (2/8/10)

Whole lotta naners

The bounty of our garden in Zambia 1/25/10.  These naners are the most delicious ever!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

New Years Day

This year brought a long, hard, cold winter in most of the north and I think I was particularly struck by the contrast of our existence on New Years Day.

A Christmas Visit

A definite highlight of Christmas Day was a visit from our housekeepers grandkids, Douglas and Katie.

Christmas "Tree"

We contracted an artisan from one of the local markets to make us a big baobab sculpture that we could decorate and use as a Christmas Tree but he let us down and failed to come up with the tree by Christmas Eve. We agreed that we'd get our money back and went home wondering how we'd make Christmas Christmassy without a tree and what should be greeting us in our driveway but some sisal plants that were going to flower. Suddenly our perspective on these ornamentals changed and, with our gardener's trusty machete and some lights and baubles, made ourselves some holiday cheer!