Sunday, February 28, 2010

Germany Is Just Around the Corner



Map is courtesy of About.com

I'm starting to get excited about an upcoming trip. We are going to Germany for spring break and to celebrate my 30th wedding anniversary! The idea came up about 4 weeks ago and April seemed so far away but now March is here.

My oldest son and daughter-in-law live in Germany and we are taking our grandgirls with us for a spring break visit. We have travel plans galore though I am a little worried about traveling over Easter. Many of the places may be closed because Good Friday and Easter Monday are official holidays in Germany. We have secured hotel stays (except for one night) but hopefully we can get this resolved this week. If things go as planned we will be visiting France (Strasbourg) and traveling down the Romantic Road. Tourism is easy when the country designates travel routes such as The Romantic Road and The Fairy Tale Road.

We had planned to take the girls to Charleston for Spring Break until this opportunity came along. I must say that I am going to miss the warm beach break but I can't wait to explore Bavaria!

I have a work trip to D.C. before our vacation and there is a very special exhibit I hope to squeeze while in D.C. Can't wait to tell you about that. Meanwhile I'll keep planning and dreaming about fairytale castles, half-timbered houses and the Alps.

The FETE DU CITRON is happening in Menton France. I hope to one day visit during the festival but in the meantime I participate online visiting here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Playing Mr. Right

My niece is a finalist in a student ambassador program sponsored by the Japan America Society of Georgia. It is truly an exciting opportunity and we are waiting to hear this week if she will be one of the four students selected to represent Georgia on a trip to Japan this summer. The Japan America Society pays all expenses for the students on this two-week trip.

The final interviews were over the weekend and I was lucky enough to tag along to observe. A part of the interview process were group games, and one of the games was Mr. Right. I'm forever looking for icebreakers type activities and this one was so much fun to watch. In the attached video the kids are untying the human knot. Unfortunately I was laughing too much at watching the confusion playing "Mr. Right" so I failed to tape it. Thought you might enjoy watching the kids try to untangle. You also might enjoy playing Mr. Right!

To play the game, participants need to be standing in a circle. Each participant needs to have one small object in their hand. The leader then reads the passage below in italics. Each time the players hears the word "left" they pass the object to the left and each time they hear "right" they pass to the object to the right. It is that easy - or not.

This is the story of the Right family. Last night the Right family went to see a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. They left the house at 6:00, right after the family finished dinner. Mr. Right drove everyone to the game in the red family van, which is always parked on the left side of the garage. In the van were Mrs. Right Bobbie Right, Katie Right and Joey Right. As they drove down the street, Mrs. Right waved to Lisa, their neighbor, who lives two houses down on the left. She was watering her garden on yhe right side of her house. As the right family approached Fenway Park, Mr. Right exclaimed, "I can't remember where I left the tickets!" Joey Right said, " Dad, I saw you put them in your right-hand pocket." Mr. Right checked but they were not there. Katie said, "No Dad, that isn't right. You left the tickets with me for safe keeping. I have them right here in my purse." What a relief," said Mr. Right as he turned left into the stadium parking lot. Joey almost left his baseball glove in the van, but right when Mr. Right was about to lock the doors , he remember he had left it under his seat. The Right family had to wait in line a bit, but finally made it to their seats in left field. As they sad down, Mr. Right looked to his left at the whole Right family and smiled. He had made the right decision in getting tickets for the game.

video

Monday, February 15, 2010

President Jimmy Carter Speaks at Paideia

UPDATE - So we went to hear President Carter speak on the topic of diversity and education and there were several things that struck me. First, his speech was delivered with a wonderful style. Rather than a lecture, he told four stories asking the audience to weave the stories together to draw their own conclusion as to how the stories illustrated diversity in education. It was an interesting approach to a lecture - simple storytelling. Another observation was his relationship with Rosalyn. He was talking to the audience but throughout the presentation he would address his wife. It was lovely and at moments, even with an auditorium full of people, he would speak to her. My favorite thing about his presentation was - when it ended, it was over! There was no lingering, closing remarks or reaction to the standing ovation which he received. Instead, President Carter said goodnight and he and Rosalyn headed out. In the end I came to the conclusion that when the time comes that we stop noting and focusing on differences in people, then, perhaps we have achieved diversity.

Charlotte is a wonderful city and it was such a good feeling to hear noises from construction in the downtown. With the economic downturn, those sounds aren't so frequent anymore. It was also great to see a city with a bustling downtown.

We are going to hear President Carter tonight and I am so excited about it! I'm leaving tomorrow a.m. early for a couple of days in Charlotte so I might not have time to post about his lecture, etc., before leaving town but I will be sure to post something later in the week. We are so lucky to have gotten tickets to this lecture and I'm so thankful. More to come later in the week.

10+C+M+B+10 = House Blessing


Have you ever seen this over a doorway? It looks like a formula of sorts which is why, most probably it caught my son's eye. In early January he moved to Germany and shortly after arriving he noticed this sign over the doorways of homes. He looked closely and found that this plaque, made of clay, is often hung in January as a house blessing. Interestingly C, M and B are the initials of the three Magi, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. The initials also abbreviate, Christus mansionem benedicat, meaning, may Christ bless this house. Click here for more details about this interesting blessing. Do you have a blessing marking your doorway?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Snowman Greetings!

Happy Valentine's Day from one of the largest snowmen that I've ever seen (keep in mind we just don't have many snowy occasions)! Hope your day is filled with love.


Check out the McDonough Snowdog!!! Our former neighbors made the snowdog and won a local photo contest.


P.S. Look at the size of the cars behind the snowman.

Friday, February 12, 2010

FINALLY!

WE HAVE SNOW!!!! I just swept off the front steps, then the walkway. Afterwards I sat on the front porch. It's amazing outside . . . all is calm, all is bright. How lovely, even if only for a short while.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Getting Ready for Valentine's Day

This weekend our grandgirls were here with us and we were busy doing all sorts of things including some climbing at Atlanta Rocks and watching some movies. One of the things that I thought might be especially fun was to make some valentine placemats. I wasn't sure if the girls had ever sewn but I thought they would be able to sew placemats fairly easily and figured that if they didn't get them finished that I could easily finish them in time for them to take them home on Sunday.I had picked out a really cute fabric and bought several different ribbons and trims so that they could add a little extra something to their placemat.
The girls loved sewing on the machine and when I realized just how much they liked sewing, I got out the needle and thread so they could do some hand-sewing. The craft project was a big hit!!It makes me so happy to know that this week they are going to celebrate the week with their own special hand-made valentine. Now they are already asking what they can make the next time they come to visit.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Bloggers Valentine Tea In Atlanta

I love when there's a blogger's get-together so you can imagine how excited I was to get an e-vite from Joyce at http://www.flourpowerjoyce.blogspot.com/. From the moment the invitation arrived it was fun to think about things to take and/or bake. I decided to take Margaret Furlongs Love Tokens. As a food contribution I decided to bake creme wafers. These have been my traditional valentine cookies for the past 30 years. These cookies are nothing but butter so they simply melt in your mouth. My husband waits the whole year long for valentine cookie time.I forgot to take a photo of the finished cookie but Fooding Through Life made these a couple of years back and posted a picture of the finished product. These cookies are so easy and are always a hit. If you're looking for a cookie recipe for this valentine's day, try these. My version of the recipe uses no eggs (unlike Fooding Through Life). Let me know if you want the recipe....easy, easy!

Atlanta blogger attendees were treated to a beautiful tea at Joyce's house. Everything was perfect! Joyce had asked us to wear red for National Wear Red Day, so even as guests we were color coordinated with the color theme. Everything about the event was lovely, especially the valentine tablescapes. I got so excited to see some of my favorite bloggers like Debbie at Confessions of a Plate Addict and Susan from Between Naps on the Porch. It was also fun to meet a new blogger, Robin, who has just moved to Atlanta. You can meet her too and learn more about what is going on in her new life at Fonville Farm.

Sometimes I get so caught up in the moment that I forget to take photos and that is exactly what happened yesterday. As you might guess with so many bloggers in one place someone was taking photos and I noticed that Sue at Rue Mouffetard has posted about the event. One thing I've noticed about blog gatherings. Bloggers have some incredible cameras!

Can't wait till the next gathering!

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Everyday Life

Do you ever get jolted with a dose of "what am I doing with my life?" The older I get I find myself working harder and harder and I start feeling sorry for myself thinking that I took a wrong turn somewhere along the way. Somehow I thought that the older I became, the easier my days would be. Well it hasn't happened yet, and in fact, things seem to be accelerating. Frankly, some days I just want to sit and be still - that is, until I meet people who amaze and inspire me.

Friday, I was honored to meet Susan Bissell of Unicef. She was passing through Atlanta on the way to Haiti in her role as Chief of Child Protection. It is impossible for me to put into words the work that she and others at Unicef are doing to keep the children of the world safe. She shared a 5 minute trailer from the film Not My Life and afterwards there wasn't a dry eye in the room. It was such an incredible experience to hear her passionate and emotional talk.Then on Saturday I was privileged to have been invited to a women's program that included an up close conversation with Justice Leah Sears, Maria Saporta and Noni Carter. There is no doubt that the women in the room are ALL incredible women but I am blown away with the idea of a 12 year old writing a novel (click on Noni's name and read the news story about her).

All weekend I thought about this amazing young woman, now 18 years old, and what great things are still to come. Meanwhile, I keep trying to remember what I was doing when I was 12. I think I was battling pimples and worried about trying to straighten my hair!

Today I learned that a good friend who has been an actress (a regular on Frasier for years) before law school has been working on a book. She is currently having an amazing work experience as a lawyer and today I happened to notice on her Google Talk status www.saveasdraft.net. To my surprise this is her NOVEL that has been picked up by Simon & Schuster and is soon to be published. When has she had time to write a book?
My conclusion - I need to stop sleeping, dream more often, start working harder, take more vitamins, focus on a goal, take a few risks and get busy!

What are you doing?