Thursday, March 31, 2011

87/365 Monday, 03/28/2011

This was an impulse buy at the Hugendubel bookstore in Wiesbaden...I could not resist the cute kitty and pussy willow on the cover! (Weiden-Kätchen) Turned out to be a "back-to-nature-mag-for-Germany-city-dwellers"
The staff came up with some bird-house ideas and there's a picture story about a squirrel taking up residence in a box built for starlings! Pretty nice - if rather superficial read...

Madgeline Ratahi Taylor--my great grandmother

86/365 Sunday, 03/27/2011
One of the reasons I went to Germany was to go through some of the family documents that Louisa had in a box which she had brought back with her from New Zealand, when she and Ralf moved back to Germany from there at the end of 2002. (They lived there for about four years).
The box contained many interesting documents and photos. Quite a few had to do with my (maternal) great-great-grandfather’s family, the Taylors. And because I found out that Philpotts's middle name was Wright I have even come across an account of a stash of his letters that were found in the British Society of Genealogists basement some years ago. (I’m paying the researcher who found them to make digital copies of them for me).
This picture is of my great grandmother Madgeline Ratahi Taylor. She was a nurse and she married my great grandfather, Philpotts’ youngest son Colin McKenzie Taylor after his first wife died due to illness. (I think that is how Ratahi and Colin got to know each other, she came in as a nurse for his first wife).
Her grandfather was Frederick E. Maning—a very interesting character in New Zealand history. I have not been able to find out which of his children parented Ratahi. Her grandmother was Moengaroa of  Te Hikutu hapu (=the Hikutu tribe/clan). I have to admit I have always been excited and proud, as well as intrigued by the fact that I have Maori ancestors. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

85/365 Saturday, 03/26/2011

This was Bill's present from Germany. There is a quintessential Hessian dialect phrase that means approximately "How's it going mate"--in a sort of laid back friendly way--and that phrase is "Ei Gude" --the Gude being hessian for good guy...this cup from the Frankfurt tourist office is a geeky pun on that phrase..."Ei" and the english "i" are pronounced the same way. So its an inside Hessian joke...funny.

84/365 Friday, 03/25/2011

Whenever I go to Germany I like to catch up on things by looking at "real" as opposed to virtual newspapers and magazines. I have always enjoyed reading the German weekly newspaper "Die Zeit"--it covers a lot of different topics and comes at things from an interesting perspective. This time I was struck by how wide it is--look how much wider than the New York Times! And the headings are large too. I don't do a very good job at keeping up with German print media on the internet.

83/365 Thursday, 03/24/2011

There is definitely more bird activity going on at the feeder these days--a sure sign that Spring is on the way despite what the thermometer is saying! Mieze was taking it all in at the big window. We call this "cat tv."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Just to say that

I have updated my post from 69/365.

82/365 Wednesday, 03/23/2011

All the kitties missed me (and me them) but Sophie was perhaps the most adamant about getting her "me-time" with me...when she wants your attention she does her darnedest to get it...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

81/365 Tuesday, 03/22/2011

It was good to get back to my kitties--this is one of Hansi's favorite spots--my deckchair. I sometimes have to transplant him into his (heated) cat-bed, but still likes to nap here. (Or in Bill's chair).

80/365 Monday, 03/21/2011

Anyone who knows me even a little knows I'm a total cat person, but when I saw this bunny-rabbit postcard at the Hugendubel bookstore in Wiesbaden I had to have it! I love the floppy ears!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

79/365 Sunday, 03/20/2011

I took this shot a week ago-very early in the morning as I was waiting for my cab to the airport. (Yes with the help of Louie I splurged on a cab from Wiesbaden to the airport--it cost 45 Euros...thanks Louie!!)

It was a great week and I really enjoyed being back in Germany! Next time I will bring Bill and we'll try and come in the summer time!

We interrupt this photo blog with a thought I would like to get off my chest...

Perhaps it is just my own skewed view of the world but David Foster Wallace’s obsession with wondering about how to give “CPR to those elements of what’s human and magical that still live and glow despite the times’ darkness”  seems to me to be a peculiarly AMERICAN one…I cannot fathom, just as an example, Elfirede Jelinek ever obsessing about the same thing… (although I could be wrong…)

78/365 Saturday, 03/19/2011

This is the name of a popular chain of stationary and office supply store in Germany. I'm not sure what it says about German consumers, but it occurred to me, as we were sitting on a bench in the mall opposite this store having a short rest on Saturday morning that the store's name is supposed to bring "McDonalds" to mind...although why this would be a good idea for a stationary store I'm not sure--it probably goes along with a tendency in Germany (and elsewhere I suspect)  to use English in slightly non-idiomatic or nonsensical ways in advertising. I have to say I"m nt a fan of McPaper--too many crappy nicknacks and not enough classy moleskine-esque notebooks for my liking...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

77/365 Friday, 03/18/2011

Today was a fun day. In the morning Louisa and I did a little shopping in downtown Wiesbaden. We went to Hugendubel and I bought a book that a friend in the States had requested. (Cornelia Funke's Tintenherz=Inkheart). I also picked up the new book by Karen Duve called Anständig Essen, which looks like it will be a fun read--it's about how she tries out various different forms of "ethical eating" from Vegetarianism to "Fruitarianism" for a few months each. She is a very funny/witty writer. The title is a pun - on the one hand "anständig" Essen means to eat "properly" - i.e. along the lines of a "square meal" as opposed to just snacking or eating fastfood. On the other hand the word anständig also means "decently" -- in a moral sense.

In the afternoon Louisa and I drove with Martina and her son Colin, who just turned 4 in February to the Abbey that is located at (or near) the site where  Hildegard of Bingen  founded a community of Benedictine nuns in 1165. . In English it is referred to as Eibingen Abbey. The original abbey was dissolved in 1803 as part of the mediatisations that happened during the Napoleonic Era. (The lovely German term for this, that I did indeed make my students in my German history class learn is: Reichsdeputationshauptschluss). The church that is there now was built at the beginning of the 20th century and the artwork that adorns much of the interior is an example of the so-called Beuron_Art_School, which reminded me of the Jugendstil/Art Nouveau and the so-called Nazarenes. On the way there Colin, who is going through a "fish phase" (he loves them) showed and had me document his extensive collection of wood fish cut-outs.

After wandering around the church we went to check out the lovely gift store with lots of Hildegard-related goodies, plus a host of different food items, including many that use spelt (Dinkel). The nuns also have a vineyard and you can taste and purchase wine there too.

After our visit to the abbey we drove back to a very cute café in a little town just on the outskirts of Wiesbaden called Walluf. We fortified ourselves with coffee and cake before driving back to Wiesbaden.

We dropped Colin off and visited with his dad (Martina's husband) Peter before going out to meet up with two other girlfriends of Louisa and Martina for a "girls night out" in Wiesbaden. Our first stop of the evening was (briefly) my apartment--they just wanted to see what my "holiday-apartment" looked like. then we headed to a Vietnamese restaurant that was right down the street from my place where we enjoyed a scrumptious meal. 

We went for a walk through Wiesbaden and ended up at a Thai restaurant the girls used to go to a lot in their student days. We stopped in for a cocktail--which was very yummy too! It was a very fun way to spend my penultimate day in Germany.

Die Mädels! from left to right: me, Andrea, Louisa, Martina and Sabine.

76/365 Thursday, 03/17/2011

Today I visited a good friend from graduate school who happens to live in Wiesbaden. We had fun catching up. I spent a bit more time in my apartment today than on the other days. This was the kitchen. It was quite cozy even though the slanted ceiling took a bit of getting used to. I cooked an easy dinner here in the evening too. It was fun playing house in a different place from home. But it did make me miss my husband and kitties--playing house is just more fun when they are around.

75/365 Wednesday, 03/16/2011

This was our Frankfurt day. Frankfurt is where I studied for the first three years before leaving to study in America. (at U Mass, Amherst and then Northwestern). I still sort of consider it the city of my "Alma Mater"-- the Goethe University.

Louisa and I spent the morning walking around the very pleasant neighborhood of Bornheim, specifically the Berger Strasse, which had lots of nice shops and also a nice weekly market. We traveled to Frankfurt with Louisa's "adopted sister/close friend" Martina who went to the trade fair on bathrooms, buildings, energy, air-conditioning & renewable energies
 at the Frankfurt fairgrounds/Messegelände. (She works as an architect and consultant on energy issues).

In the afternoon we met up with Martina in a typical "old ladies" cafe where everyone was wolfing down pieces of yummy cake and lots of coffee. (See more pictures on my flickr stream). After that we took the S-train home to Wiesbaden. I enjoyed spending time in Frankfurt-which has a very different vibe from Wiesbaden--more cosmopolitan, perhaps more "big-city-ish". I liked hearing the Frankfurt dialect.

Monday, March 21, 2011

74/365 Tuesday, 03/15/2011

These caryatides which adorned the entrance to the building next to mine in Wiesbaden are a prime example of the neo-classical architecture that dominates the downtown area. The excellent German wikipedia page on Wiesbaden tells us that most of the downtown area's buildings were built between 1850 and 1914, which was Wiesbaden's heyday not the least because the city became a favorite summer residence of Kaiser Wilhelm II. This area also managed to remain fairly unscathed during World War II, unlike it's neighbor on the other side of the Rhein Mainz where over 80% of the city center was destroyed. Perhaps it is because I have been in America for quite a long time now, but it felt really cool to be living in a building/street where one got to walk by these lovely ladies on a regular basis! See my "Wiesbaden in March" flickr set for more impressions of the city.

73/365 Monday, 03/14/2011

This picture seems like it was taken longer ago than just over a week! My sister Louisa met me at the airport and we took the S-Bahn home to Wiesbaden. I took this shot of her while we were walking through the train-station.

Because we don't see each other on a regular basis I think we both regress a little bit when we meet--we sort of turn back into younger (even sillier or goofier) versions of ourselves--because that is how we are used to communicating with each other. This is neither a good or bad thing - it is just something I have noticed. We basically get along very well and we always have fun together! Thanks for a great week little sis!

72/365 Sunday, 03/13/2011

I took this at the Detroit airport while I was waiting for my 5:00pm flight to Germany. I was glad to be going but sad to be leaving home again so soon--after just getting back the day before from a busy week of travel. This is a cool fountain in the McNamara terminal. My gate wasn't too far away in the direction of this shot. The flight to Amsterdam was fine and seemed to go by quickly--just a short night.

Monday, March 14, 2011

71/365 Saturday, 03/12/2011

This was taken as we approached Wayne County airport. I was pretty tired but glad to be home. And then I left for Germany on the next day.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

70/365 Friday, 03/11/2011

This was my last full interview day--considering it was my third interview in a week I think it went pretty well. I might amend this post later. They were talking about the Tsunami and earthquake on TV. That morning I had turned the TV on at 4am and saw the first footage of the earthquake and tsunami -- no more sleep at that point.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

69/365 Thursday, 03/10/2011

This a picture of downtown Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where I had my third campus interview in a row. Even though I was not offered the job, I really liked getting to know the town and University. According to wikipedia Eau Claire got its name: "because early French explorers journeying down the rain-muddied Chippewa River, happened upon the Eau Claire River, excitedly exclaiming "Voici l'eau claire!" ("Here [is] clear water!"). 
The two rivers intersect downtown and the University campus is close-by. There was still a lot of snow on the ground but I'm sure the town is really pretty in the summer and spring. There are also many ethnic restaurants, in part due to the Hmong community, which is always a plus in my book! My impression was that German has a lot of institutional support at the University, which is always a good thing to hear, especially for someone like me who lost their job precisely due to a lack of said support. While I am somewhat disappointed at not being offered the job, I am glad I was able to get to know another interesting town and University. Over the years I have gotten to know quite a few places on campus interviews that I probably would otherwise never have visited!

68/365, Wednesday, 03/09/2011

I will blog this photo later on--when things are a bit more settled

Friday, March 11, 2011

67/365: Tuesday, 03/08/2011

Tuesday was a very long day. Part 2 of the interview in the morning, and then flights via Memphis and Minneapolis to Lincoln, Nebraska. Everything went smoothly, which was great. I didn't get much of a dinner, but that's ok. I took this picture in the flight from Memphis to Minneapolis (I think). I liked how we were flying above the sea of clouds. I didn't get to my hotel room until about midnight. And of course I still had to get everything ready--so it was a bit of a short night. But everything worked out and I was very happy!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

66/365: Monday, 03/07/2011

This was my first full interview day, so I was busy all day long and very tired at night. I might come back and say more about it at a later point.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

65/365 Sunday, 03/06/2011

This was taken what now (on Friday 03/11/0 seems like a VERY long time ago. In the past 5 days I have traveled on 6 different planes and one airport shuttle-van to three different destinations. I'm very glad that part is over. It's all over except for the waiting as they say...The Charlie Sheen story seems to have waned during the past few days--not that I was paying much attention to it...but I still thought this sign for a "Charlie Sheen omelette" was quite humorous. This was in front of The Roxy Cafe in Jackson-one of our favorite breakfast joints.. They have a number of novelty items like this one on their menus--and lots of funny, cheeky paraphenalia inside. And the food is very good too!

64/365 Saturday, 03/05/2011

Not much to say - packing for a week of non-stop work-related travel to be followed by a week in Germany, not work-related. It will be an adventure!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

63/365 Friday, 03/04/2011

I took this coming home from my errand. A greyish but warmer day in Albion. The snow is melting.

62/365 Thursday, 03/03/2011

I rescued this bag from Bill's messy office and went about "de-hairing" it so I could take it with me on my travels. After de-hairing it I thought I wouldn't take it and just put it down again in Bill's office. Mieze thought I must have put there for here since it's the perfect size!

Friday, March 4, 2011

61/365 Wednesday, 03/02/2011

Wednesday was a nice day- sunny, a bit chilly but not too bad. I went to Marshall and looked at the Goodwill offerings (I'm turning into a committed thrifter!) and then went out to dinner at "Applebee's" with a friend. The food was pretty good=not great but ok. The problem with Applebee's is that we once lived in a town where it was one of the few half-ways decent restaurant options which meant we ended up there a lot--we kind of got our fill (and then some) of Applebee's...This is a picture of our appetizer--the spinach and artichoke dip. It was good, but too salty. (I wonder if they make it more salty on purpose?) Spinach and artichoke are not particularly salty things on their own now are they?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

60/365: Tuesday, 03/01/2011

Not much to say about this one--just a cute shot of Georgie mid-stretch in the afternoon sunlight of the kitchen. Posts might be sporadic during the next week or two--I'll take pictures every day and just upload and blog them when I can. The good thing is that they will be from all sorts of exotic locales!!! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

59/365 Monday, 02/28/2011

This was a complete "desperation shot"-- later and while sitting at my desk working on something. It's a bookmark with kitties that move if you turn it and they look like they're running towards you. My sister sent it to me for a birthday. It's sitting on the base of my desklamp. (Someone on flickr asked what that was).

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

58/365 Sunday, 02/27/2011

Yes well the repairing of the computer did not work out so well--it kept shutting down without any warning and hence was becoming rather unreliable and treacherous to work with. Since I have to prepare for job interviews I needed to a more reliable internet connection and place to keep my documents. I already picked out with Bill's help the smallest and cheapest little netbook BestBuy had to offer: this adorable little blue Toshiba, which was really quite reasonable We ventured out on Sunday, even though we thought we wouldn't have to since we tried to get everything done on Satruday. We went in and almost immediately swooped in for the purchase instead of standing around awkwardly talking to a sales rep for what seems like ages...oh how I hate that--I just want to go in and buy and be done with it. The sales people are not used to that and keep trying to find things they want to talk to you about. I'm glad we were as efficient as we were. I'm typing this blog entry on it and so far I have no complaints! And its so much more portable than my old laptop too. I think we did good!

57/365 Saturday, 02/26/2011

So now this is in the right place!

Saturday was busy--I had to get my computer repaired, and I wanted to look for clothes for two upcoming campus visits. (Did not find anything--hated all the clothes I saw at Kohl's, T.J.Maxx and Sears...which is all this little mall has-oh I guess there is a Target, maybe I should have gone there...oh well), plus food and catfood etc.. shopping...we made a pit stop at the "Alpha Koney Island" where I came upon this picture of a typical German cake. I did have to giggle a bit because  it is hardly "known as >Schwartawalder<--if you asked a German what a "Schwartawalder" is I'm sure they wouldn't have a clue...the actual name for this delicacy is: Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte which in english is known as a Black Forest cake. If you click on the pictures you can see what this cake is supposed to look like--which isn't to say the one in the picture might not be quite yummy too. The main difference is that the german cake contains "Kirschwasser" a cherry liquor, that adds a punch to the flavor. I'll try and stake a piece out while I'm in Germany!!

56/365 Friday, 02/25/2011

So I just noticed that I forgot to post this picture and instead posted Saturday's picture instead! This is the first time that has happened and it was almost March so I guess that's ok! It's probably because I am busier now getting ready for my upcoming work-related travel. A project like this becomes harder the busier one is. It turns in to just another thing on the to-do list. So far that hasn't happened this time. And I think it will be fun to share some pictures on here related to the upcoming travel--just as a way of remembering it all. Anyway this was a desperation shot. We had spent a nice evening with friends at our favorite pub (The Dark Horse in Marshall, MI) and then at their house. But I forgot to take my camera and so I was looking around my room to see what would work. I almost went with a postcard picture of Garden dwarves, but decided to go with this picture of my bobble-headed Freud. He is pretty cool-I should use him in my German class-have them describe his clothes and face. He is an object that would be in my office at the place where I teach if I had such an office. For now he is happy standing around my home office.