May 31, 2011

Unlike the dumplings, this bit from Oma’s kitchen I had no part in. Well, none other than a Chicken Little-like part: I happily tasted the fare after the fact and gave rave reviews. Then it occurred to me that perhaps I should not have given the report when I did, as it came early this morning, in the middle of her pre-bloodwork, liquids-only fast. But not long afterwards, we had gone to, and returned from, the doctors’ office, at which point Oma was also able to enjoy her fine traditional rye brot.

dandelion demolishings

May 30, 2011

I came home this afternoon frustrated. Frustrated by what felt like a wasted day of unsuccessful immigration attempts and job-hunting floundering. So when I got to the house I asked Oma if I could mow the lawn. It didn’t need mowing. I begged her to give me something useful, helpful . . . instant, that I could do in the garden. She understood me [I guess it figures that she would. And she gave me the most perfect job imaginable. I spent the rest of the afternoon, shovel in hand, cutting off at the root and then manually uprooting all the dandelion patches I could find in the lawn. I demolished those dandelions with gusto, I dare say.
Since a photo of uprooted weeds is not terribly interesting, instead I offer another shot of Oma’s garden, with an additional tidbit. I just learned that all that grows in her garden came from seeds not bought. Personally, I find it awfully inspiring that this beautifully sprawling bunch of blooms came entirely from her own creativity over the years, in bits gleaned from here and there–recycled, and “green,” in the truest sense of the word.


May 29, 2011

Today I asked Oma about the dumplings I remember loving as a child. So she showed me how to make them and left me to it. First, though, she scolded me for asking her to take over for a bit. “But you are making them, not me!” she argued as I handed her the batter. “Ya, I know . . . but I want a photo first” Well, at least I’ve never claimed to be that great as a chef :-)
Klosse . . . schmeckt zer gut!

purple pretties

May 28, 2011

Today’s garden glimpse . . . and what I happily deprived it of a few shoots, thanks to Oma’s daily pickings: swiebeln
Schmeckt gut!

a magic garden

May 26, 2011

She claims to be no gardener. Yet here, a good three decades since I got to first enjoy it, the garden blooms wondrously still. “I don’t know how you do it,” I told Oma, shaking my head as we looked out the window at twilight’s glow last night. There is a good reason, I think, that she has had people coming as “tourists” to see the springtime sights. After a while of watching strangers peering into her yard, Oma asked once what they were doing, and was told that they had come to see her magic tree. She laughed then, since she had played around a bit with it: when she noticed that the forsythia branches were weaving in among the lilac blooms, Oma decided to try letting it be–to cut the vine just enough for it to blend with the lilacs. Sure enough, the next time the forsythia bloomed, it turned the lilac tree brilliant yellow, as if the tree was a forsythia tree. But then, while some of the yellow blooms lingered, lilac blooming season began, so that this single tree morphed from forsythia to lilac.
Gardener or not, Oma’s garden is good, very good . . .
Dein Garten ist gut, Oma, ist zehr gut!


May 25, 2011

I gave the wrong reply this afternoon, when Oma asked me, “Braucht deer pracher auch bedienta?” Trying to think fast, I said “Ja,” handing her cup to her. She raised her eyebrows then: “Oh?” So I changed my reply to “Nein.” But she laughed and said that today, perhaps, “Ja” was right. Maybe today “the beggar does need service” . . . or something along those lines.
At any rate, I am trying to remedy my erring German ways these days. So today I celebrated my new local library card with this, my first check-out [which I posed next to the bouquet Oma picked from our yard this afternoon, as she laughed at my odd still life]

in bloom

May 23, 2011

It has been a bright, sunshiny day; so we celebrated the bright, sunshiny-ness by spending much of it outdoors. One thing I’ve been enjoying so far is getting to experience springtime for the second time around, now that I’m in the northern part of the northern hemisphere. So we played catch with the dog, we ate herbs straight from the garden [[dill being the consensus as the best just-picked flavor], and we noticed the different shades of various blooms: tulips, lilies and, in this photo, lovely lilacs.

canadian feet

May 22, 2011

Yeah, I know . . . another foot photo. But it seemed timely to do this, as my “feet” have once again brought me to another country. CanThese are my Canadian feet, in case you don’t recognize this clearly Canadian trampoline :-)

shuttle pups

May 19, 2011

A part of this morning was spent on an airport shuttle, busing from one airport to the next, in hopes that I would have better luck, the second time around, getting a seat on the flight. From my back row seat, I overheard the words “dog” and “boxer” in the same sentence, at which point my ears perked up [no pun intended].
The driver of the van was an apparently gregarious sort, compared to what I usually encounter on such business-like transportation settings. And he had begun to share with us all his recent musings on how his Boxer had saved his marriage. I found this turn of the conversations to be highly ironic, for several reasons:
One being the fact that I have just finished a 4-day visit with my mother who is, I think I can safely say, a bit obsessed with her own brood of Boxer pups. After some time of debating whether or not to find a man for Kiwi, they decided to pursue it and are now enjoying the 2-week-old results. The rest of us in the family are enjoying the ins and outs of the adventure from our various vantage points. At dinner last night I said Mom, you do realize you have a serious problem, as she held up her new bumper sticker emblazoned with an abbreviation of the name of her favorite brand of puppy food. And your problem currently has 20 legs and 5 tails. She shot right back with, “Yes, but are they long tails or cropped ones?”
I rolled my eyes and conceded that she had won.
The second reason that I found irony in this morning’s shuttle ride talk was that I just happened to be in possession of some digital photos of these pups. I also am enjoying re-connection with technology, as my replacement laptop arrived just yesterday. I was so worried that it would not make it in time, and so tired of being technologically deprived [my old faithful just bit the dust after a good 5-year lifespan], that when the Fedex man arrived at the door I ran a few laps of shouting joy around the house then jumped up and down as I signed for it.
So I chimed in on this shuttle conversation. Though I could not vouch for any marital benefits, I could certainly attest to the fact that Boxer puppies had allowed my mother to weather the latest holiday without her grandchildren far better than any of us had anticipated. Each event I accompanied mother to over the past few days resulted in a stream of children following us home to romp with the puppies for a while. And mother being hostess/mother-to-all-extraordinaire, she can’t get enough of it.
I then whipped out my laptop and gave a bit of a slideshow to all in the bus; I think it was just what the Doctor had ordered for a bunch of travel-weary souls.
Marriage-saving? Grandma-soothing? I think we can all have patience with a little bit of obsession if such are the results . . .

for this day

May 14, 2011

This auntie’s heart is full. Yes, I have an uncertain future ahead of me. No, I do not have any of this world’s requirements for security. I am, in most respects, a wanderer at the moment. But how blessed it is to be a wanderer with a family.
To spend this day with no greater, more pressing need than to be with my young niece . . .
We began the day with a morning at the local public library, for story hour, where I was professionally inspired by a kindred soul of a librarian [and I told her as much] who freely incorporated all manner of goofiness into our reading time. I galloped my niece on my knees as her gallant knight. I caught bubbles on the tips of my fingers and held them up to the light for her to see. She caught sight of a glimmering bubble perched on my head and gleefully “caught” it to show me. We squeezed the fat hippo and we rubbed the scaly snake.
Later, we walked to the park. She led me to one swing, happily swinging for a turn or two. Then she waved me over to the one next to it, certain it seemed that the neighboring [identical] swing would be superior. Apparently it was, for in this swing she smiled, then watched some wondrous spot on the ground for a bit, her hair all I could see from in front of her.
In short, we lived this day.
Now, a full day done, she sleeps. I sang over her [“The water is wide” was, for some reason, the song that popped into my head tonight] till time to slip out and wait for her breathing to slow. And I sit in the quiet, listening to music while I write. I may not know what tomorrow will look like. But for this moment, for this day, it is well. It is well, with my soul.