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10 March 2014

Chienbäse in Liestal

Wooden wagons - chariots - of fire being pulled through the streets of Liestal, Switzerland as part of an annual celebration in conjunction with Fasnet.

01 March 2014


A beautiful, sunny winter/spring walk from the woods to Zähringen to the homestead of Gufi.  So empty and open and ready. Just a feel-good time, enjoyable day, and a breath of fresh air.

20 February 2014

Meet Betsy

As you can see, this is her first re-string.

Isn't she pretty?

16 February 2014

Fasching on Film in Kollnau

This is what happens when they spot you...


…and then there was confetti under my hat and down my jacket.  C'est la Fasnet!

A milder Narren, this is what happens when they just want their picture taken:

A common pose to strike is the nose-pick, usually followed by blowing a kiss or handing over some candy.

I did not receive any candy.

30 December 2013

Strasbourg (round 2)

The Cathedral, from the outside this time.

Miniature Strasbourg under the town tree.

Close up of the tree decor before they de-decorate.  Is there a word for removing decorations?

28 December 2013

Strasbourg! Weihnachtsmarkt and Cathedral

No trip to any Christmas market is complete without a Glühwein, or in this case a Vin Chaud.  And this one was made by a forest gnome, so you know it was the real deal.

The incredibly old, amazingly intricate, once-referred-to-by-Mark-Twain-in-some-story-of-his (according to my travel buddy) clock.

Death rings in the hour.

Just as no trip to a Christmas market is complete without a warm beverage, no trip to a cathedral is complete without a pic of a beautiful stained glass window.  And this was on an overcast day, so just imagine the beauty when the sun shines through it!

17 December 2013

Pre-Christmas in Canters

A brief visit to an alma mater.  Can't believe it's been 5 years already…

22 November 2013


This post is dedicated to my Nan, one amazing woman.  She recently died.  She was 91 and incredibly healthy, aside from her poor eyesight.  She had a stroke and then slowly faded away.  She died on October 11th, just a little more than a month away from her 92nd birthday.  She was ready.  Though of course many others were not ready, myself included.

She was an extremely creative, active, independent, and stubborn woman.  And I loved her very much. I don't really recall when or how my love of baking developed, but I always attributed it to her as I would aspire to make my cookies and cakes and pies as delicious as she did.  I was also incredibly shocked when she told me that a lot of her cakes came from boxed mixes.

She had lived in the same house for 60-odd years.  If I wanted to make it to 60 years in the same residence before my timely demise, I would have to settle down ASAP… but I don't think this is something I will ever have.  And that's okay.  It's what she had, and what she always will have as it was hers until the very end.  It's quite impressive that she was able to live alone and take care of herself almost entirely on her own (aside from some help with gardening, shopping, and eventually heavy household cleaning) at her age, and I don't think she would have had it any other way.

It's quite easy to glorify a person's life after they're gone, especially for the ones you love the most.  But I know her life wasn't all sunshine and rainbows.  And she had her bad moods, of course, as everyone does.  I was in that sweet pocket of knowing and loving someone near and dear - close enough to know so much and yet still distanced enough never to see the claws come out.  But I know they were there.

I loved my Nan, and I felt quite close with her, even though most of my life was spent rather far away.  As a kid, I was just excited to play games on her porch, explore her basement, try to befriend her cat, and eat cookies.  As I grew older I wanted to walk with her through the cemetery, which she used to do almost every day.  She's one of the few people I liked to tell stories just as much as I liked to listen to them.  Even little, seemingly mundane accounts, she was always interested.  Maybe she was just being nice, but what's important is I felt heard.

She was awesome.  And I'll miss her greatly.  But I'm very thankful to still have as much family around as I do.  I'm quite lucky, in fact.  A lot of people my age don't have grandparents, let alone great-grandparents!

No matter where I am or what I'm doing or how I've changed, I know that my family loves me.  They love me unconditionally as families do, and I love and miss them all very much.

It was nice to be in New England in October, despite the circumstances.  It brought back many wonderful memories. It's where I feel grounded and I will always consider it to be my home, no matter where I roam.  I may not live in a house for 60+ years, but I will always have my roots.  Despite what some may think of those who follow their hearts hither tither and wish to move about, I do know where my home is, I do cherish it, and I have not left anything or anyone behind.

Home is not a place nor is it people.  There is no distance nor time to travel to get there.  It's a warm, familiar feeling of love, hope, trust, and comfort.  This is a feeling you can get when you're in the company of others that radiate it, such as your family and friends.  What's important to know, is that it's always there, this warm feeling, no matter where you are or who you're with.  I feel it all the time.  My home.
And it never fades.

"Love you everyday."

20 August 2013

My what big...

Three delectables of Antwerp:

Lange Wappe (in front of Het Steen) is a statue from Antwerpen folklore about a giant who sounds a bit like Paul Bunyan's evil Belgian brother - he taunts drunks, cheats at games with children, laughs like the devil, and if Wikipedia is correct he also steals great milk...

mmm…Carolus, a dark Belgian brew.  This was recommended to me by the bartender at a little pub with a massive selection of beer.

...and one massive pot of mussels in a delicious white wine sauce, yum!  This was dinner at an Italian restaurant (however practically EVERYWHERE had mussels) just in front of the Cathedral of Our Lady.  It was delicious and picturesque.