Sunday, February 20, 2011

Splendid Vienna - the achitecture

One of our very favorite cities is Vienna.  In every way, she reflects the grandeur of a capitol city most especially because of the extraordinary architecture, wide boulevards, and open parks.  My favorites are the 19th century apartment houses but then, I turn a corner and see Jugenstile from the early 20th century and I question my first choice.  Turn another corner and a stunning yellow Baroque palace, most associated with Maria Theresa in the second half of the 18th century,  stops my heart. No doubt I look like a "peasant come to town" as I gawk at the fantastically designed store fronts and sophisticated citizens wearing stylish leather boots and full-length fur coats.  If I lived here (or Salzburg), I have to admit, I would wear one too.
Kettenbrückengasse - beautiful buildings (and the Nasch Markt - more that later).
Close up of one of the pretty apartment buidings.
Schönbrunn - Maria Theresa's summer palace -  the unfinished palace was a gift from her daddy.
One of the Jugenstile facades.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New Year - The Quickening

The notion of the quickening is old and the feeling is ageless.  Those in our dearest circle know that we become more alert and aware when there is life or threats to it.  Today has been one of those days.  First, we received a call from Ria that Melanie was in the hospital.  Eight months pregnant, gestational diabetes, and a lung infection - not so good.  News from home about two of "our kids" needing to check in with doctors.  Lastly, our Chancellor Ken - a heart incident (is expected to fully recover - thankfully).  Parents, family, siblings, and friends only want to reach out and make each of these people well.  The quickening - the awareness of life - it is subtle, special and scary..

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Taking in the Countryside

This week we have faithfully taken at least one 50-60 minute walk every day and if we walk in the morning, we also take another one in the afternoon.  It isn't just for the conversation - which cover topics from Arabic uprisings in North Africa (Tunisia and Egypt) to the type of car we will purchase when we return home (Ford Escape hybrid beats Audi Q5 for gas mileage and price but not style!) - but also for the views throughout the countryside.  Here are a few reminders of what we see everyday.
The Chiemsee - note the snow on the shores and the Alps in the background.

Erlstätt - our fair village - from the little hill

New Year - New Project

This week has been very low key ... we are in a routine that I would hope we continue at home.  We wake, have a pleasant breakfast, read the e-version of NYTimes or International Herald Tribune (iPad), walk in the morning to discuss world issues (Egypt has been this week's topic!), return for a warm lunch (lots of roasted brussel sprouts this week), take a short nap (love my naps), read/work/talk, make a phone call or answer emails, prepare Abendsbrot, watch Jon Stewart (show from the night before) and then head to bed to read our books.  My work for this trip has been a box of letters from my Uncle Randy to my Nana starting in 1968. 
Box of letters - cost over $50 to ship them to Germany
 I began reading these letters in November and tried to take notes on them as I read them... which caused me to avoid reading more than about 10 of them.  In the middle of January, Peter began to hint that I needed to get back to the letters.  I resisted because I just didn't want to keep taking notes.  He suggested that I should just read them like a novel.  So - this week, I picked them up and began to do just that.  I can't put them down.  There is much to say about what he has written - but for now, suffice it to say, I am reading them.
Uncle Randy was hired Mr. Sherman at Louis G. Sherman Wholesale Decorator Furniture in 1953.  At the time the letters begin, Mr. Sherman is dead and Uncle Randy and Homer Moore run/own the business and are taking care of Mrs. Sherman.  "Madame: (as they call her) is ever so friendly, if slightly forgetful. Located in Santa Monica, California - Louis G. Sherman was one of "the" places for the rich and famous to purchase their furniture and have their decorating needs met.