Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Humor from Cologne

My father is "Kölsch" -- which means from the city of Köln am Rhein (Cologne/Rhine). He is a very serious German and speaks standard or "High" German, but once you get a few glasses of wine into him, his more light-hearted side and the Kölsch dialect from his childhood start to emerge.

I too was born in Köln, but moved away as a wee little lassie. Perhaps I'm so serious (straight-laced) because I did not spend enough time in Köln or the Rhineland...?

Next to my father's computer, there are some "Ground Rules for Life" consisting of expressions in the Kölsch dialect, in red following the "Hochdeutsch" or High German, then my English translation below. Part of what makes this funny is the contract between the high-fallooting (sp?) High German and the simple Kölsch expressions.

Artikel 1: Sieh den Tatsachen ins Auge. Et es wie et es!
Look facts in the eye. Kölsch literally: It is what it is! /Things are what they are!

Artikel 2: Habe keine Angst vor der Zukunft. Et kütt wie es kütt!
Don't be afraid of the future. Kölsch literally: It comes as it comes!

Artikel 3: Lerne aus der Vergangenheit. Et hätt noch immer jot jejange!
Learn from the past. Kölsch literally: It went well -- barely!

Artikel 4: Jemmere den Dingen nicht nach. Wat fott es, es fott!
Don't mourn for things that are gone. What is gone, is gone!

Artikel 5: Sei offen fuer Neuerungen. Et bliev nix wie es wor!
Be open to new things. Nothing stays as it was!

Artikel 6: Sei kritisch, wenn Neuerungen überhand nehmen.
Kenne mer nit, bruche mer nit, fott domet!
Be critical of new things. Don't know it, we don't need it, get rid of it!

Artikel 7: Füge Dich in dein Schicksal. Wat wellste maache!
Accept your fate. Whatcha gonna do!

Artikel 8: Achte auf deine Gesundheit. Maach et jot, ävver nit ze of!
Take care of your health. Do the right thing, but not too often!

Artikel 9: Stelle immer zuerst die Universalfrage. Wat sull dä Quatsch!
First ask the universal question. What is this nonsense!

Artikel 10: Komm dem Gebot der Gastfreundschaft nach. Drinkste ene met!
Follow the rule of hospitality. Have a drink with us!

Artikel 11: Beware dir eine gesunde Einstellung zum Humor. Do laachs de dich kapott!
Keep a good sense of humor. Laugh till you break!

Herzlich Willkommen in Deutschland

I made it to old Germanz (the y & z are reversed on the German keyboard -- causing me to constantly mistype)! Still it's easier and cheaper than using my iphone without wireless!

My brother picked me up in Frankfurt and I was going to stay 2 nights, but an impending strike by railroad workers made me decide to hop on the train the next morning and get to parents' house while the transportation system was still running uninterrupted. I arrived in Saarbrücken just fine, albeit still jet-lagged -- although there is no direct connection between the 2 towns and I had to transfer several times, everything went smoothly with German efficiency and punctuality.

It's good to be "zuhause" or home, but of course "home" now is in Alaska with mz husband and children. We talked this morning on the phone (their bedtime), and they just got their first snow (brrr!). Here we have beautiful fall weather with frost and fog in the morning, then sunny during the day. My father and I just took a nice walk through the beech forest on the hill behind their house. My mom and I got to sewing/quilting right away and I'm thoroughly enjoying all the pastries, bread, cheeses and Wurst -- seems like it is always mealtime, "Brotzeit" or "Kaffeetrinken".

I'm starting to work on a list of "Best and Worst" of being back in Germany, and I already know that toilets feature on the latter. I'm loving the beauty of the countryside: the quaint houses and gardens (often build into the hillside making use of every last square meter) and the churchtower in the middle of town, often with an old castle overlooking the village. I have a feeling that I'll be looking like a tourist everywhere with my camera -- it's an interesting experience documenting one's childhood turf as an adult!

Tschüss! Bis bald...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Oktober and Germany

Oktober and Germany go together like beer and brats!

I'm very excited to be flying to the "Old Country" at the end of this week to visit my family. Alas, I'm leaving behind my own husband and kids.

Here are some pictures from last weekend's Oktoberfest: My girls and I dressed up in our dirndls, the traditional German/Bavarian dress.

Friday, October 15, 2010

My baby is a TEEN!!!

Youngest turned 13 today, and is thus officially a TEEN.
Seems like yesterday when she was a red-cheeked toddler calling "Mommy", and now she calls me "Mom".

My sweet daughter: You're such a gift, such a wonderful loving person. Keep up your positive outlook on life!

I love you!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Technology catches up with an old lady...

If it weren't for our kids, I'd probably be completely stuck in the last century, like using paper and pen to communicate!
We now took the BIG plunge and became an i-phone family. Youngest is turning 13 this week, and is ready for her very own cell phone -- and this forced the issue we had been debating for a while: "to switch or not to switch?"
Well, we did switch! Now the whole damn family has i-phones, and we can not only call or text, but also check emails, surf the web, facebook, listen to i-tunes, navigate using GPS location/street maps, take and share photos...

Our oldest daughter spent the last 6 months hiking the PCT, and I've been amazed at what all she can do per i-phone, even posting entries on her blog! Hubby pointed out to me that i-phones are the equivalent of a digital Swiss Army knife: one tool does everything. Nifty!

Now, I need to learn how to use it!!! Luckily, I got kids...
PS (very embarrassing): I only learned to retrieve text messages on my old cell phone yesterday -- I've got a long way to go....

Friday, October 8, 2010

Is Yoga Un-christian? and who cares...

A Baptist minister has been making news lately with his assertion that the practice of yoga is un-christian. Reverend Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, warns Christians of failing to see the "contradictions between their Christian commitments and their embrace of yoga."
How narrow-minded! As if anything that does not come down directly from the bible is automatically circumspect. I'm often aghast at the intolerance of many Americans toward non-Western culture (just look at how they treat muslims!) And this is especially strong among evangelical Christians who look at everything through just one filter, namely the bible. Rather than seeing humanity and communality between cultures, they see only "Either you're with us, or against us". How is that going to make for a better world? How arrogant to think that your world view is the only correct one!

In an article at the Huffington Post, "Calm Down Christians, Yoga is Not a Thread", author and interfaith minister Philip Goldberg traces over 100 years of history of how yoga has been perceived in America: Mohler is not the first American to warn of dire consequences! Still, the vast majority of yoga practitioners aren't doing it for any particularly religious reasons (nor are they about to be converted to Hinduisn) -- rather, it's a form of exercise with a spiritual component.

I go to yoga, and I don't go to church.
Those are not connected!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm not much of a fair-weather blogger

Dear reader -- you may have noticed that I don't post much during the summer.
Well, now it's officially Autumn, and foul weather has arrived in South-central Alaska. We've had wind and rain the last couple of days (and snow last weekend!), and the frost has put an end to our gardening efforts.

Therefore, chances are I'll have more time to blog again now. In fact, I started blogging two years ago around this time of year. It's been fun -- I'm not at all a regular or dedicated blogger -- I only blog "when the mood strikes". After all, it's only a hobby, and one should never become a slave to a hobby!

So what am I up to these days? Well, my olderst daughter is about to return from hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), roughly 2660 miles. It will probably be a difficult re-entry into "real" life, after having spent 6 months away from "regular" civilization -- probably on par to returning from a stint in a war zone or in prison, where one has gotten used to a life very different from "normal". Now she has the challenge of re-entering the job market, which has not improved a whole lot since she left...

At my own work, school class fieldtrips are slowing way down, and the Nature Center has started "winter hours". For me, that means I'll have time to bake and start quilting again -- I've agreed to make a 15th Nature Center anniversary quilt for next spring, so I better get started on that. Also, I'll be taking a trip to visit my folks in Germany later in October.

For now, I'm busy with "fall" cleaning around here (sort of the equivalent of spring cleaning): mosquito screens are taken down; the garage has been cleaned out enough to make room for the family wagon. The camper is winterized and stored, and firewood stacked for the winter. Soon, we need to change the summer tires to studded winter tires so we can drive on the ice and snow that is sure to come soon.

But not too soon!