Sunday, May 31, 2015

May Highs and Lows 2015

What's not to love about May? Magnolia trees, lilacs, forget-me-nots, rhododendron blossoming, Pfingstrosen... even one of our climatis bloomed early. I just took these photos this morning...


These Pfingstrosen didn't get the memo -
they're late.

Pfingstrosen - Peonies
we love our rhododendron - they remind us of Scotland

Among other highs, May is rife with holidays. A holiday for us means that M only has to spend up to two hours at the office - though sometimes he takes the whole day off - rather than his usual 9 1/2 hours. These were this month's holidays, which meant that three of the weeks were short ones:

  •   1. May   Tag der Arbeit (Labor Day)
  • 14. May   Christi Himmelfahrt  (Ascension Day)
  • 25. May   Pfingstmontag  (Pentecost Monday)
In addition, this coming Thursday is Fronleichnam (Corpus Christi - I still have to look up the significance of this day, though I know what the words mean), and we're in the middle of the two-week Pfingstferien (Pentecost holiday), so I even get a break from my school-related volunteer responsibilities.


  • attending our third Kochkurs at Straub's Krone - this time the focus was on Spargel, Bärlauch, and Rhubarb. Once again, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience, the cooking, the company, the new tips, and the food we prepared! (photos below)

  • getting a new phone - a smart phone! My first, because I've been holding out since I've never needed one. I'm optimistically putting this in the highs in the hopes that by the last day of the month I will be used to it and actually know how to use it.
    Update: this has turned out not to be the case, but my daughter assures me it just takes time and practice.

  • watching Circus Halligalli where the two hosts had to sit in a room for 3 hours together and not make any sounds louder than 30 decibels, which is whispering. During that time they were given various challenges, such as sitting on a Furzkissen (whoopie cushion). The last thing one of the guys had to do was a "suicidal tequila" - instead of the usual way of doing a shot, he had to squeeze the lemon into his eyes, snort the salt through his nose, and drink the tequila. He actually did it without setting off the noise alarm, but as soon as the time was up, he screamed like a little girl.

  • receiving three cards in the mail for Mother's Day - one from each of my kids, and one including a letter from my parents!

  • seeing this adorable little hedgehog cowering next to the wall of M's man cave after M had chased him out. He looks so very sad! I'd never seen a real hedgehog before, though apparently they're nearly as abundant as bunnies. And M says they're full of fleas, which is why - although I named him George - I couldn't keep him.

  • meeting my friend HC for lunch and trying out a new place - a Berghütte in Lauterbad. We took the scenic route there, and one can't park there - you have to park in the village below and walk up to the "hut" - perhaps a 15-minute walk. I had a venison burger - delicious!
  • attending an English Speaking Circle group meeting and making a new acquaintance who lives in our village, then meeting her several times for walks around the neighborhood. I've been a bit of a hermit for 2+ years, but now I'm getting out and meeting some very nice people! This is good for my language skills, because at home we speak mainly English.

  • booking our flights to Scotland in September. Ok, we had already booked our cottage on Mull, but still... Each step toward finalizing a trip is always exciting.

  • booking a hotel for a weekend in Bamberg because I want to finally see this town and visit our former exchange student who is studying there!


  • watching Moonshiners on "the man channel" (DMAX), which is a show about a bunch of hillbillies in Appalachia who distill and run moonshine with far less class and sex appeal than the Dukes of Hazzard. I could feel my brain cells trying to kill themselves throughout the episode. It's on Friday nights, in case you want to check it out - but I don't recommend it.

  • this Marmorkuchen fail:
Broken cake, however, still tastes pretty good.
  • learning about what's going on in the realm of education in my home state of Wisconsin.

  • having to drive myself unexpectedly to a volunteer thingy, which meant a 50-minute drive to a remote village in the Black Forest. I made it there and back, so this should probably be a high, but I did not enjoy the drive. I did it because horses were involved.

"Oh shit" Moments

You know what they say about dementia, right? It is not at all a big deal if you forget where you put something, go downstairs to get something but forget what you were going for when you get there, and so on?  The problems start when you start finding things in wierd places, like your car keys in the medicine cabinet, or your watch in the pantry. Well... M may or may not have found an empty and clean measuring cup in the refrigerator the other day. Now, while he willingly takes the blame for everything that goes wrong around here (he prefers that to discussions), he does not put away clean dishes. That's not a criticism - he just doesn't have to because I do it. was I who put it there.

And then there was the day I arranged to meet my new friend for a walk. She called my cell phone and we agreed to walk in each other's direction and meet half way. I got to her house without seeing her, and then thought I should call her and find out where she was. I could not figure out on my rarely-used cell phone how to find the last call and redial it. Luckily she called me back. She was standing in front of my house - we had missed each other at the one place where there are two options - she went one way, and I went the other.

"Oh well" Moment

One of M's employees, someone I'd call a friend of ours, helped me set up my Mi Band fitness tracker with the app at his desk in the office. There's a point where the app asks for the user's height and weight. When we got to my weight, he discreetly looked away, but I couldn't remember my weight in kilos. So I had to ask him to look online what xxx pounds is in kilos, which was still only a guess. Turns out I estimated 3 pounds over my actual weight. If I were younger, I'd probably care.

Kochkurs Photos

getting the Schinkenchips ready to go into the oven

squeezing out the gnocchi

starter: Roher Spargelsalat mit gebratenem Garnelen Tarter
raw asparagus salad with fried shrimp tartar

second starter: Bärlauchgnocchi mit Spargelschaum & Schinkenchips
wild garlic gnocchi with asparagus cream and smoked ham chips

rolling the Spargel-Pfannkuchen

anrichten: serving the main course
Kalbsrücken im Kräuteröl gegart & grün-weiß Spargelpfannkuchen mit Kräuter-Hollandaise
veal tenderloin cooked in herbed oil & asparagus pancake roll with herb Hollandaise sauce

serving up dessert

Rhabarber "Carpaccio" mit Zabaione und Rosmarin Crumble


  1. Aww hedgehog! Love them. They usually are full of fleas though.

    A few weeks ago, I was trying to find the margarine. I was sure it hadn't run out, but it was nowhere in the fridge. I finally found it in the cupboard with the cereal, where Jan had put it the night before. He doesn't remember doing so or know why though!

    1. Just today I read an adorable story in the newspaper about a hedgehog - look for it in my next "In the News" post. It makes me love the little critters all the more (except for the lice).

      I guess things like that happen, especially when one is doing a mundane task and talking at the same time. And then there was the time I went to the fridge in the morning for milk to add to my coffee, and when I looked at what was in my hand, it was a wine bottle from the night before. Yikes.