Monday, January 31, 2011

Münster—It’s not about Cheese

Since we’ve been back, our walking journeys have remained in our town, and my Sweets was getting a bit antsy. I decided we take a ride to Münster—a town he’s talked about us visiting. Early in the morning, I woke and made a pizza for it to cool, packed it along with sandwiches, and we headed out. Of course, he loves taking these long rides because I plug in my iPod and sing along. :D

Münster is a University town, built in the 13th century, and the cityscape was almost completely destroyed during WWII. There’s a lot of history in this town ranging from its inception founded by a Frisian monk on the orders of Charles the Great to where the Thirty Year War ended to WWII destruction. In 2004, the city received the LivCom Award by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) for the best city in the world to live in.

Near the University is a lake where everyone seems to hang out, kick back in a café or walk along the perimeter of it. And bikes! Geez, I thought Amsterdam was a huge bike city. Here are a few pictures I took on Saturday. The sun was shining bright, but the temperatures were cold.

This is a walkway near the lake, but directs you into the city center.

Here is a picture of Rathaus (City Hall). This building—from the 14th century—is identical in its reconstruction in the 1950s. 

This is the steeple of Lambertikirche (St. Lamprecht’s Church) where you will see three hanging cages above the clock. Back in the 14th century, they used the cages to execute the Anabaptists as a warning to the rest of the population; of course these are no longer used.

A full view of Lambertikirche (St. Lamprecht’s Church). Ever since I first came to Europe, I became fascinated and fell in love with cathedrals and churches, like Ken Follett, except he doesn’t believe in God. I think the beauty of the sculpting, the details, the blood and loss to create these magnificent buildings is incredible, especially knowing they were built by hand—without equipment. They are such a big part of Europe, because if you ever wonder where the city center is just follow the direction of the church steeple. When established, European cities built the cathedrals and then the rest of the town around it—at least that’s what I notice wherever I visit.

Another thing I love about European cities are the construction and location of statues. This statue wasn’t connected to any particular building. It’s like someone went around placing these beautiful statues around the city.

We went inside the Münster Cathedral, which suffered extensive damage during WWII. This is what I first saw upon entry. It’s an astronomical clock made in 1540-43. The main purpose was to calculate Easter since the date was related to the phase of the moon. It was important to know this date 6 weeks in advance to begin Lent. It also represents the popularity of astrology for the Kings and emperors and popes for important decisions. 

This plaque is something we found interesting. This Bishop collapsed and died at the spot of this plaque and then it says R.I.P. I didn’t even know they used that term so far back let alone on a plaque in a church. 

Here is a statue of St. Christopher—built in 1627. This statue is gigantic and thankfully avoided destruction during the war.

Originally the castle, this building now serves as the main building of the university.

I had to take a picture of this store. It’s original location is in Chicago (Murphy&Nye).

Here are a few pictures of the lake with parts of it frozen.

And here-YAY!—are pictures of my writing bowls. Once on LinkedIn, people were looking for suggestions for writer’s block and ideas. Someone suggested writing bowls where you write down different words whenever you think of one, fold up the papers and keep them in the writing bowl. When you run into writer’s block or lack of ideas, pull 10 words out of the bowl and create something. I’ve been looking for my writing bowls since last summer, and knew which kind of bowls I wanted. I know you can buy these online, but I wanted to buy them at a location for meaning. This was perfect. There was a store that sold third world country products and these bowls are made out of recycled magazines. I was so excited that I found them that my Love bought me two of them. :D

It was a great day, so I had to catch a picture of deer and the setting sun. 

Hope you enjoy my bit of history and photos. Have a great week.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Nothing matters, except…

 It doesn’t matter
whether the moon does splatter
or the sun never finds the sea

The only thing
I’ll need to bring
is another cup of tea

Because out there
I took a dare
when I heard a silent plea

I found his appeal
brought back with zeal
to be part of the family tree

Monday, January 24, 2011

Take the Long Way Home

Since the Bears ended their season leaving fans with weeping hearts, I thought I’d move on and look to the future. Besides, I can always hope “Big Ben” crushes Green Bay at the Super Bowl.

Change in script: We’re still committed to our daily walks—yesterday being our longest—6.7 miles. We walked more miles than we drove the car since we arrived back in Germany, which is much better when you consider the price of gas. This helps us save money and lose weight at the same time. It’s so easy walking around here that I’m usually surprised at how many miles we’ve done.

Sometimes I’ve taken my camera along so I could share with you.  This first one I took of a car for sale because I thought this tiny car was so cute.

These two pictures show how much it’s flooded in Hattingen. The first picture is from June 2009, and you can see the green field in front of the house. The second picture is from this past week, and the field in front is under water. I couldn’t believe the path we rode in 2009, where the picture was taken, was gone too.

I thought this was quite interesting. When we started into the forest, we came upon a little shack that you can see in the background. Here are steps and a locked fence for the shack. I think it was built to keep the thieves out...then I asked myself, "Why?". 

We exited part of the forest for a little bit that opened up, and I was able to get a shot of the sun starting to dim and an airplane path in the sky.

This picture looks like a field of amber.

We finally made it up to the castle ruins, but then my camera died out. 

On another walk though, I did capture this picture of a broken tree. I thought it was cool the way the tree branch rests right next to the trunk.

Hope you all have a great week.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


The Chicago Bears are the NFC Division Champions and tomorrow are set to play their 90-year rivals, Green Bay Packers, for a spot in the Super Bowl. My family has been Chicago Bears’ fans since I can remember, and my mom had the pleasure of going to Super Bowl XX: Bears vs. Patriots. The love of Da Bears starts at a very young age.
But that was many years ago and many changes. The team we have now is low key than the 85-86 Bears, and our present coach’s blood pressure doesn’t shoot through the roof during bad plays, penalties or poor calls from the refs. That’s all right though I’m still a Ditka fan. Anyways, don’t misconstrue their low key temperament as weakness. The Bears have worked their way through playing issues and are prepared to take on the cheese heads.

Yes folks, you too can be a cheese head if you’re cheering for the Green Bay Packers—a hat with a very large wedge of cheese on top. I think that explains it all when it comes to their fans. What can I say, Bears’ fans dislike Green Bay and vice versa—no love loss.

So come tomorrow, 5,000 miles away, I’ll be cheering for my beloved Bears with my Love and his brother. I think I got them interested in American football and they enjoy watching Da Bears. I’ll be making Cranberry Turkey Burgers, fresh vegetable salad and mashed sweet potatoes. After that we’ll have wine, beer and popcorn.

What are your football plans?

GO BEARS—DEFENSE—OFFENSE—SPECIAL TEAMS—CUTLER (who I just want to kiss)HESTER (Bring us more of this)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


This is an acrostic poem I wrote last April, which is a poem that uses the first letter of a word that begins each line. 

Keen quantity of care, offered an
Ice cream heap topped with chocolate
Sauce. A soft kiss after a lick
Mesmerized by his blue/gray
Eyes then led to the room full of
Taboo thoughts, but received sweet embrace

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Sundries


Check! We started walking every day—walked a total of 20 miles this week. I feel so much better, plus we’re eating well. I made homemade chicken noodle soup and my own concoction of chili.

Chicken Soup: Added left over chicken and juice to water and chicken bouillon. I let that heat up while I cooked the noodles and cut up the onions and carrots. (We didn’t have celery). I added salt, pepper and some other seasoning mixes. As all of that began to heat up, I added the noodles and let it simmer for 15 minutes. This was the first time I ever made chicken soup.

Chili: I cooked up ground beef/pork and slowly added chopped green and yellow peppers and onions. I added garlic salt, pepper, cayenne and mustard to the mix. In another pot, I emptied some tomato paste, kidney beans and stewed tomatoes. When the meat was finished with the vegetables, I added to the tomato paste and let it simmer for about ½ hour. This was the second time I’ve ever made chili. 

I wish I took a picture of my Love’s breads. He’s been doing great at baking them and I kinda told him maybe we should consider opening a small bakery where we offer four different kinds of bread. Not a lot of homemade bread in the U.S. and it’s so good. Carbs are good in moderation!


I sent out several of my works to different contests that won’t reveal the winners until sometime this spring. Writing is a waiting game. I’m still entering contests and sending my writings into magazines. It takes a while, if ever, to make it as a freelance writer.

I’m on the second revision, close to the end, of my novel. After that I’ll send it to my editor and my beta readers—more eyes the better. Along with revising, I’ve already started doing some research regarding query letters. There is so much pressure on writing a great query letter, because you could have a great story but if your query is weak you’ll never get in an agent’s door. So I figured I better start now. With hard work, maybe I’ll be able to start querying agents by April. *cross your fingers*


It’s been decent in Germany compared to last November and December with the highs in the low 50s/high 40s. And sunshine! We didn’t have much of that last year. It’s not showing any snow in the 7-day forecast. 

Well that’s my Sunday Sundries. What’s going on by you?


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Close of 2010's European Journey

It’s picture time! Before I left for the States for the holiday celebrations, we went to a little town called Monschau—nestled in a valley by the Eifel Hills. Because I have a crappy camera, I was limited on pictures because it got dark shortly after arriving, but this town is adorable. They got some snow, so it added to the charm of the Christmas market—the snow fell on lights and decorations. It instantly became one of my favorite places. It’s like a place you’d see in a romantic comedy and wonder if it’s real, or a movie set. I’m telling you, Hollywood, someone better get there and film a movie.

This picture is of Monschau Castle, which dates back to the 13th century. 

As we walked to the Christmas market, I took some pictures of the stream that ran along the walkway before getting to the center.

This picture doesn’t truly show the magic of the town, but it gives you an idea.

They had little evergreens hanging on buildings, so I had to take a picture of this one with snow resting on it.

We walked around the center where the markets were and then headed down another street. 

I took this picture of another stream that runs through town.

Here’s another picture taken from another area of town. On top of the hill you can see part of the castle. 

The next day, we went to my Love’s aunt’s house for a visit with his brother and his children. I took these pictures standing on a hill where they went sledding. It looked out onto the town.

So these pictures ended the sites of my adventures in Europe in 2010. Hope you enjoyed them.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I Got Your Back

My friend, June made this t-shirt for me.
Happy New Year! I’m back! We finally arrived in Germany yesterday, but pretty much slept until noon today since our travels lasted 24 hours. During the holidays, I enjoyed my time with family and friends, and now I’m prepared to take on my list of good intentions and challenges this year.

First, I hope to shed weight like part of Germany had shed the snow. Over the past decade, weight seems to top my list, especially since I quit smoking. Hopefully this year it won’t just be an early year want and fade into an end of the year blues. Another challenge is to sell my condo. The real estate market is horrid, and unless I plan on waiting it out for a few years, I’ll be extremely lucky to break even. BUT—I decided to sell and move on. If you’re looking for a condo, or know someone else is looking, just shoot me an email and maybe we can work something out. *smiles and crosses fingers*

Two more huge challenges are for my Love to find a teaching job, or another type of job somewhere in the United States, and for me to get at least ONE of my writings published. We both already started pursuing these challenges, so with a bit of luck something might come out of it. *smiles and crosses toes*

What about you? Are there any big challenges you face this year?

*raises glass* I wish you all a great year. May you keep company with happiness and good health. Remember—when times get tough, there’s always someone out there who’s got your back.