Angels on Earth

It seems only yesterday when my Dad passed from
his earthly life. October 18, 1990. Crowded into a
tiny phone booth in Schweindorf, our two children
and I had a tearful conversation with my Dad.

He was dying of cancer and did not want me to
return home for a funeral in the midst of my
Fulbright teaching experience. Trying to explain
to small children is often difficult. Although my

Dad promised to wait for my July return to the
U.S., It was not to be. He died just shy of his
November birthday. Our children went to Maria
Buch, a small chapel near the Abbey in Neresheim.

There I sang Amazing Grace to my Dad and prayed
he as in a happy place in heaven. Unknown to us,
a man had quietly entered the chapel. On the
way out, I spoke German to him and said I

hoped I had not disturbed his prayer. On the
contrary, this angel on earth told me that his
wife had died on October 18 some twenty years
previously. He spent time with her each year.

He thanked me for singing and after wishing one
another well, I reminisced that there are indeed
angels amongst us. Today’s post will concluded
with a poem from my book for my Dad.

Just died

Got the news
He died.

Didn’t wait
For me to return.
Grief and sadness.

Sang Amazing Grace
In the tiny German chapel
In English.

And thought of
My father
With loving sadness.

Posted in Amazing Grace, angels, death of a loved one, family, Fulbright to Germany, Maria Buch, reflections | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

On Revolving Doors

There is an expression that good things
come in threes. Since our basement work
with water issues had to be reworked, the
foreman and crew arrived today. Earlier
than anticipated but fine nonetheless.

It seemed as if the good weather brought
more workers in droves with the lawn
maintenance fellow placing the yellow
flags in the lawn where it had been treated.
No one was to walk on the grass for 24 hours.

Right? Right! And not so. The doorbell rang
just now with our pesticide treatments outdoors.
Stink bugs, ants, mosquitoes -still mosquitoes?
I kept trying to work on this blog post in
between snippets of questions, phone

conversations for price quotes – yes! We
are not out of the woods so to speak. Now
quotes on walls and floors for work in
Nov. and Dec. With the POD still in the
driveway? Better hope for no snow!

For the better part of one month, we have
had ongoing work with jackhammers removing
the basement perimeter, putting in drains, etc.
Water still came in so today, more of the
perimeter removed, drains installed, etc.

Soon and very soon, this will all be history.
At least I tell myself that. There is more to
be done as I continue to learn my new pieces
of classical music for the December concert.
Never a dull moment at our end of the pond!

Posted in All good things in threes, basement work, good weather, PODs, Revolving Doors | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Lost and Found

Ever have one of those days? One of those
moments? Favoring pockets instead of a
purse, I am wont to put keys, cards, and
other such in my pockets. But which ones?
And where? Recently I locked myself
out of my vehicle with the fob ensconced in

a bag inside. No pockets this time. Luckily I had
just purchased food for dinner. Went back
inside to borrow a cell phone from a pleasant
employee. I let my husband know my dilemma.
He arrived to the rescue. Early dinner in
mid-afternoon! How could I avoid this again?

Well, I didn’t have long to wait. Planning to
run errands, I inadvertently left my fob
inside the house in a pocket! No problem.
I punched in the garage door pin on the number
pad. BIG problem! It did not work! Things
went from bad to worse. Another BIG problem:

my cell phone was inside the locked vehicle.
Fob to the vehicle in the locked house. In a pocket.
Locked out of the house on a cold and rainy
day in the upper 40s, I walked next door and
borrowed a cell phone and called my husband.
Left voice mail. Maybe he did not recognize who called?

Now what? Crossed the street to another neighbor.
They allowed use of their phone too and
this time I reached my husband and asked
if he could come home for lunch. Leaving
work, he arrived to the rescue me once more.
See the pattern here? Now our garage

door opener was not communicating with
our vehicle openers. It’s a miracle my
husband is still communicating. We await
a service call from the garage door place
next week. Short of burying something
underground, what is the solution to

avoid future mishaps? My neighbors
regaled me with their stories of similarly
misplaced keys and of locking themselves
out as well. We pondered where to keep
spare keys/fobs. Under the front mat?
Under a flower pot? Surely others have

found better solutions. Breaking a window
was not an option since I could not have
crawled in. Even phoning AAA would not
have allowed access to the house. Just the
vehicle. Annoyed and wondering at our
end of the pond this week. Laugh or cry?

Posted in cards, cell phone calls, lost and found | Tagged , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Our Neck of the Woods

The insect chorus begins anew.
Crickets and katydids entertain.
Signals of late August as I walk through
the gardens. The glorious colors of

leaves turning adds to the surrounding
beauty of Mother Nature. Our Montauk
daisies have blossomed once more and
are a sure sign that snow is not far off.

This turning of seasons is bittersweet for
we know that the long hard winter is
upon us as the Farmer’s Almanac
informs. We savor the sights and sounds

these early Fall days and make ready
for the impending next season. Lawn still
to be mowed. Garden to be harvested.  Bring
in the hoses. Cover the outdoor chairs.

Who would have it any other way?
Crockpots full of savory stews with
herbs from the garden. I, for one, love
my four seasons in Upstate New York.

Posted in crickets, Farmer's Almanac, Katydids, Montauk daisies, Upstate NY | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

Experience Austrian Culture at Klosterneuburg!

When I first arrived in Heidelberg, to study, I learned
the university was founded in 1386. Students were already
studying in Latin at this university before Columbus
discovered America in 1492. Imagine how old!

During our August trip to Vienna, we traveled north of the city
to visit and tour the Klosterneuburg Monastery founded
in 1114 by Leopold III who later became the patron saint of Austria.
We traversed ancient stone corridors. Two pipe organs sounded

hauntingly beautiful melodies. Imagine the rich history!
The Verduner Altar, made in 1181 by Nicholas of Verdun has
three parts containing 45 gilded copper plates similar to the Shrine
of the Three Kings at the Cologne Cathedral. Leopold also endowed

the Monastery with vineyards, Austria’s oldest existing vineyards.
Overlooking the Danube River, this Augustinian monastery houses
a museum, library, art gallery and the wine cellar. We left prayers
for loved ones and were awed at the architecture and history.

Posted in Augustian Monastery 1114, Donau/Danube River, Klosterneuburg Monastery, Leopold III, Nicholas Verdun, Verduner Altar | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Captivating Charm of Vienna, Austria!



Located on the Danube River, Vienna has a
rich intellectual and artistic history. The imperial
palaces such as the Baroque palace Schönbrunn
offer opulent interiors. This elegant palace
was the summer residence of the Habsburgs.

The pace of life was vastly different from today.
First impressions as we toured the city were
that the buildings were elegant. Horse drawn
carriages moved about the city and palace
grounds leaving the history to our imaginations.

Besides being the capital city of Austria, Vienna
has many famous cultural events, coffee houses,
restaurants and wine taverns. It is the city of
charm and a feast for the eyes. We enjoyed
the many outdoor cafes where we sat with

wonderful coffees and pastries. Our hotel room
upgrade spoke of an earlier period with its
chandeliers and large desk, a sitting area with
sofas and chairs, a wardrobe and high ceilings
by our standards. Fresh linens adorned the


tables to the breakfast room with floor to
ceiling windows overlooking the city. In
a sitting area with chandeliers stood a
beautiful Bösendorfer Grand Piano which
was handcrafted in Austria. After

inquiring about the piano, I learned
that it was in need of repairs. I was
allowed to play a few notes though. Such
a gem has long been on my wish list. It
also requires space to be appreciated.

After a tour of the city, we walked the
pedestrian zone near our hotel and browsed
the windows of shops. Lanz of Austria,
a quality name in Vienna and around the
world offered just what we wanted:

two beautiful sweaters in traditional
gray colors. These will serve us well in
the winter months. Day two included a
visit to a local monastery which will
be the topic of a future blog. Suffice

to say, Vienna is worth the trip. Go
inside St. Stephen’s Cathedral and
view the magnificent altars and stained
glass windows. We listened to the bells
toll and left behind prayers for loved ones.

Posted in Austria, Boesendorfer Grand Piano, coffee houses, Danube River, Habsburgs, Lanz of Austria, St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna's Schoenbrunn Palace | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

Speaking of Bucket Lists

Our trip of a lifetime included a singing
engagement in Prague, Czech Republic
followed by visits to Helsinki, Finland
and Vienna, Austria. Unplanned bonus:
a brief layover in Frankfurt, Germany.

The new place on our bucket lists
was a visit to Helsinki and sightseeing
via bus and boat. We explored this
beautiful city and tasted so many delicious
foods. New to our taste buds were

sea buckthorn juice and lingonberry
juice. Each morning at breakfast were
small amounts of both which left us with
a feeling of well-being. Both have been
incorporated into our diets.

We allowed a few hours of shopping at
Stockman, the largest department store
in Helsinki. We viewed Finnish schools.
Our harbor tour passed by several small islands.
In winter, Helsinki has about two hours

of daylight but in summer, almost 24 hours.
People used motorized scooters up and down
hills, rode bicycles and jogged. This visit on
our bucket lists simply whetted our appetites
for more travel. What’s on your bucket list?

Posted in bucket list, Finland, lingonberry juice, schools in Finland, sea buckthorn juice, Stockman Department Store | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments