Saturday, May 30, 2015

Heidelberg Castle

Due to the nature of Tony's job, he is likely on a gig for most of the long holiday weekends. Memorial Day especially. So when he was given the following Tuesday off, we headed to Heidelberg. After finding a place to park, we followed the signs and walked about 2 kilometers up to the castle. About halfway up, we discovered a little playground built into the side of the hill. The slide was steep, metal, and zig-zagged all the way down. The kids flew off the end with a thud and a tumble and declared it the best slide ever. To get back to the top, there were rope bridges and rock walls and such. Once at the castle, we decided to pay a little extra for the guided tour inside the castle, which was the only way you could see the inside. It was not really worth it, for we only saw a very few rooms. Live and learn. The outside and the grounds were much more impressive and after having dinner outside there at the castle, we walked the grounds until dusk. It was a lovely day.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny again today to talk about knitting.

I finished the shawl I had been making myself. I really like how it turned out. The pattern is Saroyan and with thousands of other examples to look at, I came up with a plan for a shape that would work for the yarn I had chosen. The original pattern calls for worsted weight. When I found the color of yarn I wanted, it was only available in fingering weight. That was fine, since I pictured this being a lightweight shawl to wear with a specific dress I already owned. The dress needed a little something to dress it up for Mass.

I had recently ordered some blocking mats and wires and was able to use them for the first time to block this shawl. The garter edge was folding under quite a lot and I hoped to correct that. It did fix it somewhat, yet it is still not perfect. (A sort of funny, sort of not story about those blocking wires. The first time I ordered them, they showed up in a cardboard tube that had been ripped in half, badly taped back together and contained only one very bent wire. My husband didn't think to refuse the package and brought it home. The post office would not do anything about it the next day, stating that we did not refuse it. So I called Knitpicks and told them the tale. They sent me a replacement free of charge. This package also arrived in terrible condition, but thankfully all the wires were there, unbent.)

I have been trying to read "The Bird in the Tree" by Elizabeth Goudge, from Ginny's Happy Reading List. I really like it, yet I seem to have so little time to read these days. Also, I am so tired at the end of the day that I only read a page or two before I fall asleep. Thankfully, the library has not asked for it back yet.

Monday, May 25, 2015


Awakening early, I quietly snuck to the kitchen to start the coffee, and then put the final stitches in my shawl. I will block it later this morning and the anticipation of watching the pattern come fully into its promise is both exciting and sad. Like watching a wounded bird whom you have nursed back to health take flight.

After weaving in the ends, I poured myself a fresh cup of coffee, put on my shoes and coat, and opened the door on the crisp, cool morning. Mornings are like a clean slate. Everything is fresh. The air seems to be cleaner, somehow. Not used up and breathed out without even noticing it's delicious flavor by the rest of the world. Leisurely walking down the hill, I looked off towards the mountains which were shrouded in a silky mist. It seemed they were beckoning to me to come and explore what lay beneath their misty cover. My footsteps were all of a sudden muffled and I glanced down to see a pink blanket of fallen apple blossoms covering the sidewalk. The tree was behind a stone wall, but created a canopy over the walkway. The old house beyond must have hundreds of stories to tell.

It is a holiday and all the shops are closed, excepting the one for which I set out. The bakery. It is full this morning with hungry customers. My order is large, for we have our first overnight guests and that makes me happy. I enjoyed cleaning yesterday in anticipation of their arrival. Of creating a comfortable place for them after their long journey. And now I wait for the house and all the people to awaken. The birds are singing as only they do at the break of a new day. It reminds me of cheerful chatter between friends.

I cherish these rare quiet moments. They renew and fill me with fresh hope.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday afternoon in the woods

Everyone needs days like this one. We awoke and quickly dressed little people for Mass and were out the door with few complaints. Then off to the bakery for breakfast and a great cup of German coffee. A quick trip through the Commissary where we picked up the essentials for the week and the fixings for tonight's dinner. Peter fell asleep on the way home, so while we let him nap, Jack started on a new project (building a model car), Anna finally got to watch her beloved Star Wars with no little people, Therese busied herself with drawing yet more pictures, and I split my time between them and their activities. I was really just trying to be patient for my one request today. A walk in the woods. The last time we all went as a family was in the fall. How one place can look so different and still be breathtaking is one of God's amazing achievements. The weather was perfect, which is rare here in Germany. If you don't believe me, just look at this...

"Aaannd she's off!"

I don't care if they are weeds, I still think they are pretty!

Violets are one of my favorite flowers, for to me they mean winter is over for another year.

It is hard to photograph these two without bunny ears.

We are going to have fun hiking, or else!

One of my favorites of the day

These are my other favorite flowers. I asked Tony if he thought they belonged to anyone, because they were on the back side of someone's fence just off the trail. I was tempted to snap off a couple to put in a vase. Good thing I only took pictures because the homeowner quickly came out to see what I was up to!

These last pictures are from the other day. This is just outside our village and I have been longing to take pictures of the brilliant yellow fields for days, but we have always been on our way somewhere and haven't had the time to stop. I am so glad I did, because they are already beginning to fade.