Gratuitous Cute Puppy Shots


Termi is on front. Rocky has the white “bib”. Need I say more?

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Mr. Kellerman’s 5th Grade Class

Mr. Kellerman’s 5th Grade Class

We moved to Willow Grove when I was nine years old. I basically went from a striving, tightly-knit black family who were an integral part in their community to an almost exclusively white neighborhood and school. There was only one other black family in our apartment complex (they had a son, Billy), and only two other black children in the entire elementary school. This picture was taken the second full year I attended North Willow Grove Elementary School. It must have been about 1968/1969 at the time.

Talk about culture shock.

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Herbs ~ Kräuter ~ Kruiden ~ les herbes


One of my major projects last summer was planting an herb garden. I have kept pots of fresh herbs on my kitchen window sills for years, but I had a vision of a time when I could wander outside just before a meal – armed with scissors and a small basket – to pick bunches of fragrant herbs for cooking and adding a zesty garnish to the salad.

After letting the puppies use the garden as their playground in 2006, we had sod laid out over the whole section this past summer. We then spent quite some time pouring over gardening and flower books, before trotting off to garden centers in the Netherlands and open markets here in Germany. I originally envisioned am herb garden as a simple affair:  a square bed somewhere along the edge of the garden as a home for whatever struck my fancy. But ChessMan and my many books quickly taught me that I was thinking much too small!

Herb gardens can be quite complex and ornate affairs, so I had to up my game considerably.

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Shabby Chic in the Dining Room


Apparently I have saved a false memory where the origin of my first pieces of depression glassware is concerned. I thought I had inherited a few pieces from my Great-Aunt Gaynell; my mother, however, says she put away a few pieces for me that she’d found somewhere and liked. In any case, I kept my first few pieces around for a number of years without having any real use for (or relationship to) them. Every once in awhile I displayed a piece or actually used it in a pinch. By the time my children were walking, though, most of it was relegated to a kid-proof place in the bottom of a cabinet somewhere.

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Flea Market Find


The above is a flea market find. Despite the fact that I’m an avid fan of antique/flea market shows in 4 countries (from “Flog It!” to “Antiques Roadshow” to “Kitsch und Kunst”), I seldom buy anything at flea markets, only to later regret not having gotten this or that great ‘find’.  This is one of the few times I actually jumped over my own shadow and bought something on impulse.

It turned out to be a signed, limited edition lithograph by a German art professor, Wolf Hoffmann, who taught at the University of the Arts (formerly HdK; now UdK) in Berlin. This lithograph was made in 1959. I have since found several of his works featured on online art sites, including references/pictures to his participation in exhibitions in the USA during his lifetime.

Although Wolf Hoffmann was killed in an automobile accident in 1979,…

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Living on Moscow Time

From a Taxi in Moscow

I first had the opportunity to travel to Russia (then: Soviet Union) in 1975 with a study tour. While there, I visited both Moscow and Leningrad (now: St. Petersburg). Years later – after glasnost and perestroika had been added to the international vocabulary – I made several trips back to Moscow on business in both the mid- and late-90’s, as well as in 2005 and 2006.

It was a daunting experience in the 70’s to be in a country I had heard so many contradictory things about. I had taken a course in Russian history in high school, and signed up for an introductory Russian language course in Strasbourg, so I was well aware of the rich history and the propaganda – on both sides.

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Born Free!

Termi & Rocky in Belgium

Terminator (“Termi” for short) and Rocky are our 2 year old, black & tan, standard dachshunds. Or – to be more precise – our furry, 4-legged “sons”. 

Although I can sometime go overboard with affection and spoiling when it comes to my favorite pupsters, ChessMan (Mr. They-Will-Not-Be-Allowed-On-The-Furniture-Or-On-The-Bed) has taken the concept of spoiling to a whole new level. Oh, it’s not like he doesn’t get irritated with them or sometimes wish them to the moon (esp. at 4am when one of them decides he has to pee), but if ChessMan had to make a choice between me and either or both of “the boys”….

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Leaving on a Jet Plane


I first came to Germany the summer between my 9th and 10th grades in high school in June 1972. I can still remember how other-worldly the whole thing seemed once all the arrangements were confirmed and the departure date set.

For the first time in my life I headed off to New York City with my parents and younger sister to meet up with the groups leaving for Germany with the Carl Schurz Organization that summer. I think it was the first time in my life that I stayed at a hotel – the historic Roosevelt Hotel. I can even remember the room with its two double beds, as well as the knee-length, short-sleeve yellow cotton nightgown I wore that night.

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French TP-ing the Past

Me, Prune and Carol in Strasourg 1974

Once again I sat down behind my laptop to work. Once again I was immediately distracted by a quick trip to check out what’s new on some of my favorite expat blogs.

Madame K, of My So-Called Life in France fame, got the wheels of nostalgia turning when she shared her personalized version of a questionnaire a well-known expat site publishes. It was a howl! And made me instantly regret that there was no such thing as blogs/blogging/bloggers when I first moved to Strasbourg, France  in 1974. Although I have my memories, much has been forgotten. Although I wrote lots of letters, a lot of them probably no longer exist.

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From City Mouse to Country Mouse

winter frost

The weather has actually been unseasonably mild recently, so the pix I made during a cold snap we experienced a few weeks ago seem like a real blast from the past. A glance out of my living room window today seems much too lush and green for this time of year. Only the windiness and lack of sunshine are a reminder that’s it’s still January and not April.

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