See Life MY Way!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Child named Leah, in a Country named Germany, many, many years ago

I must have been about eight when a little girl by the name of Leah entered our lives and became part of our family.
They said she was my cousin but I knew that she really wasn't. They also told me to never speak about this to anybody or where she had come from.
None of it really made much sense because I had never heard of her before, nor did I know where she came from.

This whole affair was just another one of those secrets, and I knew that secrets needed to be kept.

I was told she had no father and no mother... and she was therefore going to be my little sister, at least for a little while.
I really didn't care about any of those details, it didn't matter to me at all... all I was interested in was that little girl, that little Leah, and the fact that she was going to be my sister.

Now my secret wishes had come to pass... I had a playmate, and I wanted to keep her close to me at all times.

I loved her so very much... but it did not last. One morning Leah was gone, she disappeared just as suddenly as she had come.

I was told that there had been a mistake... that she really did have a mother, but this mother lived far away, in a big wooden house with lots of other houses just like it, together with many other mothers and children and fathers and grandparents, and aunts and uncles... and a great big fence was around all of it.

And that's where Leah was now, to be with her mother again.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Pink Flamingoes

As to the Daily Express

Every one thought it was a bit odd when two male flamingoes began performing an elaborate courtship dance for each other.
And pretty soon there was no doubt about it. The pink pair had come out of the closet and revealed to the world that they were gay.
They have even followed the trend in gay circles by adopting children to rear as their own - though in their case they did it by stealing eggs from their hetero-sexual friends, and then sat on the clutch until the babies hatched.
These two male birds have been together for five years and seem very happily paired... and this probably means that they will stay together for the rest of their lives.
They are not picked on by the other birds... if anything, they are afforded more respect because two males together can be a pretty fearsome prospect.
Even though they steal other birds' eggs, they are very good parents.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Bake at 325 degr. about 40-45 min.

2 1/2 c. milk
1/3 - 1/2 c. sugar
6 ounc. semisweet chocolate, broken up
2 lg eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
about 4 c. day-old broken up "seeded" bread
1/3 c. raisins

Heat milk/sugar in microwave, add chocolate and wisk until melted, add eggs, vanilla.

Put bread and raisins in baking dish, about 8 x 10 size,
pour heated liquid over bread and let it soak in well for a minute.

Bake til knife comes out clean.

This is excellent hot or cold.

Friday, January 27, 2006

A Slice of Bread

And this I remember:
We were to receive food.
Nobody knew any details... but then we saw what it was... Flour, yellow flour, also better known as cornmeal.
In Germany we had never heard of it, at least not while I was growing up.
The bakers in the bake shops -the ones that were still operational- quickly learned how to make the most wonderful delicacy, that crumbly yellow bread, out of it.
Ovens were kept going throughout that day and night... and soon the never to be forgotten smell of newly baked bread permeated the whole of our town.
In the meanwhile long lines were forming, where young and old alike stood awaiting their turn to receives that precious loaf.
I don't think that ever again did I taste anything as wonderful as that very first slice of bread that I was given to me on that day.

A Slice of Bread

And this I remember:
We were to receive food.
Nobody knew any details... but then we saw what it was... Flour, yellow flour, also better known as cornmeal.
In Germany we had never heard of it, at least not while I was growing up.
The bakers in the bake shops -the ones that were still operational- quickly learned how to make the most wonderful delicacy, that crumbly yellow bread, out of it.
Ovens were kept going throughout that day and night... and soon the never to be forgotten smell of newly baked bread permeated the whole of our town.
In the meanwhile long lines were forming, where young and old alike stood awaiting their turn to receives that precious loaf.
I don't think that ever again did I taste anything as wonderful as that very first slice of bread that I was given to me on that day.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Things aren't all bad ( a Joke)

.... I have sure gotten old.
I have had two bypass surgeries, a hip replacement, new knees.
Fought prostate cancer, diabetes.
I am half blind, can't hear anything quieter than a jet engine, take fourty different medications that make me dizzy and winded and make me subject to black-outs.
Have bouts with dementia, have poor circulation and hardly feel my hands and my feet anymore.
Can't remember if I am 51 or 92.
Have lost all my friends... but thank God... I still have my driver's license.
My memory is not as sharp as it used to be, and also, My memory is not as sharp as it used to be.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The end was coming near

I remember Hermann Goehring, the air force minister of Germany, saying in one of his speeches that no enemy plane would ever cross over a German border or his name would be Mayer... so... his name became Hermann Mayer.
Times were terribly stressfull even though we, the children, took it all pretty much in our stride... mainly because we didn't know any better. But I do remember how much my family suffered, and how hard life had become for them.
As very little official information was available that was of any value, rumors were rampant.
At those times when news bulletins were announced over the radio, they only spoke of victories and German advances into enemy territory. People were beginning to doubt the truth of these announcements, and yet, nobody ever spoke openly about it... it would have been treason.
Our leaders said that our greatest victory lay yet ahead. We were told that when or if the time came, every German man, woman and child must lay down their lives for Fuehrer and Fatherland. As long as there was breath left in any citizen, we must go on and fight.
Defeat was only for the cowardly, we were told, only for the weak.
And if the enemy should one day enter our cities, our streets, they would find nothing but rubble and brave dead Germans.

I didn't think that I would live very long. But I also thought that I wasn't really very brave.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Yorkshire Rock Cakes

1/2 c. butter or marg
1/2 c. sugar
pinch of salt
beat together

2 lg eggs
and beat together

2 c. self-raising flour
leaving a little bit out for dredging fruit

add flour to previous mix. This will be stiff... but you can do it.

Now add a good handfull of either raisins or dried mixed fruit that had been dredged in the reserved flour.

Use two spoons to fill greased cupcake tins 1/3 full and now add half a walnut (if desired), then fill in the tins with the remaining dough. Make sure to leave the tops lumpy to resemble rocks.

I then add a mix of PLAIN flour/sugar/butter/cinnamon and sprinkle this over the top. Makes it nice and crunchy.

Bake in hot oven for about 15 minutes or til it smells good and done.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Value of a Drink

About the Buffalo Theory
by Cliff Clavin of Cheers.

A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo.
When the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first.
This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members.

In much the same way the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. ( Cliff said it, don't you believe him?)

Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells.

In this way, (does he mean the buffalo way?)regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and a more efficient machine.

That's why you always feel smarter after a few beers.


Friday, January 20, 2006

My Mother

I see myself huddled on my father's lap early one morning, surrounded by many people. All were sitting on stiff, tall chairs in my grandparent's 'good' living room, the one that was only used on very special occasions.

This must have been one of those particular times.
Everybody was dabbing at their eyes... they were crying, and they were wearing their best outfits, their Sunday going-to-church clothes.

I didn't know that big people cried.

As I wiped away the tears from my father's face I wondered why they all looked so sad and why nobody talked or smiled.

I didn't understand.

I was frightened because they all acted like strangers, even though they were really my aunts and uncles... and so I cried, too.

I remember, this had been the day when my mother wasn't there anymore.

They said she had gone to heaven.

I had reached my fourth year when this happened.

I didn't know the meaning of death.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

... a funny thing... or maybe not so funny

Sometimes the days just don't go right.
Take last Friday, for instance... yes, it was Friday the 13th (not that I believe in that stuff... knock on wood).
I was running a bit late and I had to hurry to make it on time... to get to work, you know.
While I was filling the tub (low water pressure), I figured I would save time by eating my breakfast while taking a bath. Not such a bad idea, right?... Wrong.
I put my Peanutbutter and Jam sandwich on the ledge of the tub and my cup of coffee within easy arm reach to the left of me.
While relaxing for a few happy moments, luxuriating in the embracing warms of the water, out of the corner of my eye I saw something move. And sure enough, it was that P.&J. S., making its way down the slippery slope of the tub. I jumped, I made a grab for it, trying to catch it before it hit its watery destination. Alas, my hands had not even left the water yet, when the bread and its cargo were already sinking below the waves.
Not only had I failed in my resque attempt of the P.&J. S., but in my haste my elbow then touched the precariously placed cup of coffee and you can guess what happened...

I don't like brownish bathwater, nor soggy bits of fast disintegrating brown bread, intermingled with lumps of extra-crunchy peanutbutter... and not to forget those occasional threads of Damson Plum Jam.
In my haste to do the right thing, I also accidently swept my white paper napkin into the brink... or was I really trying to pick up that brown mess floating around?

Did you know that those paper napkins desolve very quickly? Well, I'll tell you, they do.

And this kind of brings to mind the claim of some toilet tissue manufacturers that their product disolves 'quickly'. But we really weren't talking about that, were we?

All in all, not a very satisfying beginning of my day.

But before closing this sad tale of mine, I do want to tell you that later, on my way home, on my one mile hike, the elastic on my panty hose gave out. And this is true... I am not making it up. Cross my heart!
I tried desperately to hold on to that slippery bit of nylon before it went past my knees, but.... and you know what can't keep back progress.... it soon had passed the point of no return.
So I just pretended I was all alone in this world.
I stopped... I unzipped my jacket, put down my packages, took off one shoe at a time, and delicately stepped out of the offening garment.
I never looked at anybody. And maybe nobody ever looked at me either.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

my complaint

Some people I just don't understand.
Why would a fine man, a lovely woman... obviously kind-hearted, caring and considerate...
why would they allow their beloved pet, their dog -or it might even be two or three... and each one on their separate leash- why would they let them foul the public walkway?
If the animal does have the urgent need to relieve himself right then and there, and this I can fully understand, don't you know that the pet owner is obligated by law to pick up the dog-do?
It's against the law, y'all... you can't just leave your dog's calling card behind!
You know it and I know it.
So please, do show some consideration for your fellow-human beings also.
With the fall leaves still littering the ground, it is impossible to tell where you and your dog have been... and how can one know if he did or he didn't give in to the call of nature?
This morning I was one of the unfortunate ones who stepped into the hidden mess, and I am still mad about it.
I was not even aware of what had happened until the smell hit me after I had re-entered my house. I searched high and low, wondering where it might be originating, that awful smell... didn't even take the trouble to take off my shoes first as I usually do after I have taken a walk... and in the meanwhile spreading the offending matter all over the floor, all over the carpets...
I am appealing to you, dear neighbors, dear friends, kindly show the same consideration to us as you would to your pets.
May it be here or may it be a thousand miles from here, nobody likes to step in doggy-do. It's disgusting and unsanitary, and really completely unnecessary... just takes a little consideration by the owners of the pet.
Well, I am not mad anymore... got it off my chest... so
Happy New Year to you all.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Isurium Brigantum

Does it sound strange to you? Well, I guess it might. It is the old name of the little English village where I live.
I am going back to the Roman days of long ago, actually to the year A.D. 71, when the Romans invaded and defeated the then largest and most powerful tribe in Britain, the Brigantes.

Here, where I have now made my home, an important civilian town was then established and it was named Isurium Brigantum, after the natives who lived here then.
Some of the reasons for this location were proximity to lead mining, a ford that was already established across the nearby river Ure, and... this being a focal point... so providing a network of roads leading to other important towns.

Roman roads here-abouts are known for their straight and direct line from one town to the next. Even now one can still detect which is a Roman road. There is never a bend or a curve in it. One still exists in front of my house. Even though the surface has been replaced untold times, it's still the same road. All one has to do is dig down and there are the stones that the Romans trod.

Isurium followed the usual pattern of a Roman town, covering an area of about 50 acres. The present village lies within the bounderies of the Roman town, but away from the occasional flooding of the river Ure.

When one digs in one's garden, chances are that one might unearth some old pavements or some mosaics. Chards of crockery are not uncommon, nor are bits of metal such as corroded iron that seemed to have been part of perhaps a utensil.

As I look out of my kitchen window I look down on the Manor Gardens. I see grass, lots of grass, and it stays green all throughout the year.
The whole area in that direction is somewhat hilly... or one might say that there are many humps and bumps.
These protrusions are deposits of time over the remains of a town that existed here in this spot almost two thousand years ago.
It boggles the mind.
Sometimes bits of stone wall will poke through the grass... and these are the remains of those long-ago Roman days.
At times digs, excavations, are in progress, when another bit of ancient history comes up into the light of day.

Where formerly there were the Roman Baths, I now see flower beds, neatly enclosed by low hedging.
Roses do particularly well, and so do the lilacs.
I see trees, old trees, and most of them are oaks and chestnuts. As a backdrop I see forest, old forest... alas, I can't identify the trees too well.
But I do know an evergreen when I see one ... because they stay green all year and at Christmastime we have one of them in our house. So I can say without a doubt that there are evergreens intermingled with perhaps oaks and chestnut trees. Now how is that for my horticultural knowledge?
As one might imagine, wildlife is rampant. They couldn't have a better place.
Yes, the pheasants are plentiful and always welcome, and the nearby butcher sells them for about a pound a piece.
It's a bit different with the foxes... and I guess the war between fox and man will always be with us. They are trying to make laws, new laws, that will protect the fox...... but now I am getting into politics, and that I surely don't want to do.

Wouldn't you like to visit England?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Did I or didn't I?

Well, yes, perhaps I did... I mean tell you about working as a volunteer in a Charity Shop.
(Remember, I am beginning to be a bit long in the tooth... and who knows when Herr Alsheimers will rear his ugly head and so decide to make me repeat myself).
Yes, to get back to what I first began to say before I interrupted myself... I work in this place on St. James' Square three times a week, and very happily indeed, I must add... and there I often run into something that I know I can't be without... such as this very curious pickle or olive piercer that I purchased just this very morning.
It's a narrow silver fork (hmm... silver? maybe more base metal than silver) with an old ivory handle. The three tines are quite long and very sharply pointed, with a rather large protrusion on the two outer tines, sort of like half an arrow head.
What else could it be but a pickle or olive scooper-outer, right?
I love those black olives, just always have a lot of trouble getting each one out of the jar. So now I think I have found the answer to my former dilemma (don't like pickles). Now I can indulge myself. Or... wait a minute... aren't olives supposed to be high in calories? How many olives does it take to give a person the same calorie count as one potato would do?

Have to read up on that now... sigh... The work of the obsessive seeker is never done.

But back to my main line of thought... what else could the object, hmm, the fork, possibly be? Please do let me know if you have an opinion that you might be willing to share.
IT, the Thing, has no markings or hallmarks, and I am inclined to think that it is of little value, just a piece of curiosity... and as I am one of the curious... I really do need to know. Please indulge me.
Luckily I sensed that you too need to know. Isn't blogging simply wonderful?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I've been tagged

... a long time ago......

I had stood there for almost half a day, in that line, holding on to my grandmother's hand, hopping from one foot onto the other, while my Opa stood in front of us... when finally he had reached the table. There he was handed a pen by a stern-looking thin lady... she didn't speak, she just pointed down at a certain spot on a sheet of paper in front of her and here he put down his mark. He looked unhappy and worried, his face was all scrunched up in wrinkles. He didn't smile. He then turned around and looked at my grandmother, and she looked at him, and neither one of them smiled. Yes, it must have been important business.
And then it was my grandmother's turn... she too had a paper in front of her, it looked as though she might or perhaps might not do it, but then she also put a little crossmark into that white empty square.
They called this the 'Voting Day'.
As we walked out the building and then down those many, many steps, there was a smiling man
handing each person a little round button pin with the word 'Yes" written on it. Everybody got one and had to pin it on to their coat to show that they had voted... or was it perhaps to show that they had just voted for Adolf Hitler?

It is most certainly true......... after that I don't remember ever going to bed hungry anymore.

It is also true that one night I was awoken by loud poundinging on our front door and a strident voice calling out to open up immediately.
When my grandparents unlocked the door, several tall and menacing looking men in black leather overcoats shouldered their way into the house and they then proceeded to ransack
every room, looking for hidden religious material.
They tore the house apart, but apparently didn't find anything that they were looking for.
This was the first time of many others like it to come.
They turned tables and chairs upside down, looking for hidden shelves or crevices, any place was looked into where a book or pamplet might possibly be hidden. All the drawers were pulled out, the beds were pulled apart, the wardrobes were emptied out, even the bucket under the granite gray sink in the kitchen was turned upside down.
I don't know... they might have found something during one of their raids because one day my grandfather wasn't there anymore... he had been taken away in their big black limosine.
He was gone and nobody talked about it. Not even the neighbors. When I asked my grandmother, she just looked at me and turned away. I think she might have been crying because her shoulders were shaking.

This is one of the things I wanted to share from my early childhood.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

does the memory go first?"

.... here I go again........ just wanted to share with you that I DID remember what I wanted to asked of Peter... where is my 'spell-checker'? And now I know... right above this!
I guess I was looking for something a little more outstanding... you know... with the color red or something.
It's not that I am a perfectionist... but I do dislike tremendously making silly spelling mistakes... and I don't want for my grandchildren to think that I don't know how to spell.
Must set a good example!
At times I feel absolutely intimidated by their tremendous knowledge... and I admire Mollie and Peter so much for having tackled this 'Home Schooling' thing. They are doing a most wonderful job... and I am afraid I don't tell them often enough how very proud I am of them, all five of them, the two teachers and their three students.
Well, that's really what I wanted to say to all of you out there, together with my very best wishes for these holidays and for the coming year.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

..Christmas Eve... the family came to pick me up and we drove to Harrogate for our evening meal. ' let's do this every year' ... we all agreed.
Went to the Noodle House (did you guess it's a Chinese place?) The buffet looked most interesting and that's what we all had, all seven of us. And this included Robert who would have been all alone if he hadn't been invited to join us.
Wasn't that nice of Mollie and Peter? Yes, they are surely two of the good guys.
Robert's wife is still in the U.S., packing, and she will be coming to join him the middle of Febr. He really misses her and he can't think of anything else to talk about but his wife. On the way home he took us to his flat and it is quite nice... rather sparce, though.
Hmm... where is she going to sit to be comfortable... we asked him... looking at his two ricketty wooden chairs that were obviously somebody's unwanted cast-offs. For a moment he looked puzzled... then he says 'what do you mean?' I think its really nice here.. he didn't get the point about the chairs and their lack of comfort. Well, after a little more prodding and convincing he finally agreed that he perhaps should consider getting a sofa before she get here. And maybe he will.
The idea of the auction house was brought up and he was all for it.
Its so hard not to buy something at an oldfashioned British auction. I went to a couple of them when I first came here and I absolutely adored it. Even did some bidding, and I g0t myself a good-sized refrigerator (German brand) for 8 Pound, an oak wardrobe with five shelves and hanging space for about a dozen garments... this lovely antique piece of furniture came to a whopping 11 Pound and it didn't have a mark or a scratch on it... Oh, I don't know, but I did acquire a few more pieces... Yes, of course, I remember now... also got an oriental carpet, 8 X 10, the real thing... and it cost 2 Pound. Admittedly, there is one rather worn spot, about 6 inch. long... but its under the coffee table so it doesn't show.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

let me introduce myself

Hello World!
This being the first time for me, my socalled emergence, my birthday into ciber space... this day is therefore a very special occasion and the question is, 'how can I do honor to it? '
But... I am so very sorry to say... can't think of one clever word to say.
So let me introduce myself. I do live in North Yorkshire, in a small and most picturesque village, and some folks call the area The Bronte Land.
Things have changed hardly at all since the Bronte sisters lived here-abouts, except that we don't die of horrible diseases anymore just because we live next door to an ancient cemetery. And the winters aren't what they used to be either, at least that's what they all tell me.
Actually, I can avow to this fact because I haven't really seen snow since I first came here, and that is now going on four years.
People love to complain of the terrible English weather, the cold, cold winters, but they don't really know, do they? Let them go and visit Fond du Lac, Wisc. in January, and then we can talk about winter.
Is anybody out there from Wisconsin? Or perhaps Florida? I have lived in both those places. I liked it alright... but I LOVE north yorkshire.
Any comments? Let me hear from you.

second test

here is a second test post. la la.


This is a test. La.