Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Power of Music..........

I'm sure that most of you have songs that once you hear them, they take you immediately back to a different time and/or place or maybe they bring back memories, people, a particular mood, a feeling, situations, events, or perhaps even a moment frozen in time?

One particular song for me is the song: American Pie by Don McClean

It was a hot summer night in the 1970's in Oklahoma and I was about 17 or 18 years old. My date had just brought me home and we were outside, sitting on the hood of my boyfriend's car, talking under the big gnarled old oak tree standing guard in front of my grandmother's house. I lived in the country and the night air was full of crickets chirping the temperature. I can still remember the night full of twinkling stars. Stars just don't seem as bright anymore either.

My boyfriend was very tall; about 6' 4" to my 5' 6 inches. The song American Pie came on the car radio and we were softly singing along with the lyrics. Soon my friend stretched out his hand and we started slow dancing to the music. Everytime I hear that song, I am transported back to that time with my entire world ahead of me... life full of promises and the unknown.

Another song that brings me immediately back to a frozen moment in time, happened the first time that I heard the song. I had moved to the Philippines as an art teacher at Clark Air Force Base in the fall of 1989. It was always hot, muggy, and humid in the Philippines. I lived off-base and I had been on base visiting with a friend. I was driving my little red 1973 Volkswagon Karmann Ghia with the windows down to let some of the night air, which is barely cooler than daytime air, flow through the car. I was driving along the perimeter wall of the base on the road that would wind about and eventually lead me to the main gate turning left to the 'off-base' road and on to my house.

It was August 1, 1990 and this particular night just happened to be the night 'before' it had been announced that war would or wouldn't start in Iraq which later became known as Desert Storm.

I had just driven past my school and was on the curve going down to the area where the road dipped down sharply. There was a bamboo forest located here and the air always seemed very still and eerily quiet. Or maybe I always felt that way since the military guys had found the huge boa constrictor in this area that was featured on the miltiary news one night? It was so large that it was being held up by about 12 men.

I was on the uphill part of the road when a song came on, sung in such a crystal clear voice, with such beautiful stirring words... that I actually started crying. The tears continued to flow unheaded and I finally had to pull my car over until the song was over.

The song which to me had lyrics that were so fitting for our world and a night full of brave young men and women... just waiting to see what the future hours would hold for them... how lives would be forever changed.

The song?

From a Distance by Bette Midler

From a distance the world looks blue and green,
and the snow-capped mountains white.
From a distance the ocean meets the stream,
and the eagle takes to flight.

From a distance, there is harmony,
and it echoes through the land.
It's the voice of hope, it's the voice of peace,
it's the voice of every man.

From a distance we all have enough,
and no one is in need.
And there are no guns, no bombs, and no disease,
no hungry mouths to feed.

From a distance we are instruments
marching in a common band.
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace.
They're the songs of every man.
God is watching us. God is watching us.
God is watching us from a distance.

From a distance you look like my friend,
even though we are at war.
From a distance I just cannot comprehend
what all this fighting is for.

From a distance there is harmony,
and it echoes through the land.
And it's the hope of hopes, it's the love of loves,
it's the heart of every man.

It's the hope of hopes, it's the love of loves.
This is the song of every man.
And God is watching us, God is watching us,
God is watching us from a distance.
Oh, God is watching us, God is watching.
God is watching us from a distance

Do you have a song that transports you back to a memory? A person? If so, please share your song.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Signs of spring in Germany?

These little green mesh fences start sprouting up along the roads along the small ponds, streams, and river banks.

What are they for you might ask? Good question...

So, as the waters begin to thaw along with the frogs who suddenly find that they have a desire to meet other 'unthawed frogs' for some spring time fun... The Germans put up the fences along the roads wherever water does gather... to protect the frogs.

Apparently, it is someone's paid job to check every so often and remove any frogs trapped on one side of the green mesh fence and take these frogs wanting to meet 'frog friends' to the other side of the fence which is where the larger water areas are located.

The little green mesh fences on both sides of the roads... help keep the frogs from being SMASHED on the roads as they try to find frog friends/families.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Eat, Pray, Love

Some of you might have read the book or have watched the movie based on the book: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

When my friends and I went to Bali in April 2008, they had both read the book- but, I hadn't (shhh, I still haven't) read it at that time. They were determined that we would find the Medicine Man/ guru that was mentioned in the book so that we could get our fortunes told.

We hired a local guy to help us find this man and drive us to see him. Our tour guy had to ask around a lot and he finally got a lead and off we went. We did manage to find him. He was quite charming. It was a fun adventure and he liked that we were all 3 teachers. He told us that teachers were very important.

Oh my fortune? He told me that I would marry a good man, a man with enough money that we would never have to worry, and he would be a man would would always love me. He did seem to mention something about this man being a good lover too!

All I can say is, "Hey, Ketut, (the medicine man/guru that gave us our fortunes) I'm still waiting."

I guess that I should have asked him WHEN??? ha ha

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The SUN came out today.... Maybe, MAYBE spring will arrive in Germany SOON?

The sun shines so rarely in Germany from October until the end of March; that I actually took a photo of one of these rare days of sunshine about 3 months ago.

The endless grey overcast skies really do get to me. You can just sense a lightness in everyone's spirit when the sun breaks through and shines down on us during our long, long, enduring winters. Of course, we are still wearing winter coats around here- so, this one rare sunshiny day does not mean that WINTER IS OVER! I have had a heavy frost on my car windshield 2 out of the previous 5 mornings. I have also noticed a heavy frost on the grounds during my morning drives to work.

I'm going to go and check the progress on my tulips tomorrow. I have planted a variety of tulips during each of my three falls that I have lived here.

The first spring here, after being initially excited to see the tulips that I had planted that fall; I was later quite disappointed to discover that the garden snails deemed some of my tulips as a quite tasty dessert item and devoured them to the ground!

I went to bed early last night and I'm feeling a little better today. I came home from work and made home-made soup for dinner tonight. I'll have plenty for a few other meals too!

I'm sure that most of you have been enjoying spring-like weather for a few weeks now and I hope that we will soon enjoy spring-like weather here too.

Snowfall around here happens from October until the end of April. It has snowed in March and April the three past winters that I've lived here. However, this March, while being cold hasn't been as snowy as the past 2 winters were. YEAH~

Monday, March 21, 2011

Some Days are Like That....

You feel weary, lack of energy, and consider going to bed super early that night.

It's either tiredness or I'm getting that 'evil' bronchitis or pneumonia again! I was dragging last night too.

*I took the photo in April 2008 while visiting the "Monkey Forest" in Bali. My friends and I also tracked down the guru that was talked about in the book: "Eat, Love, Pray"

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Woke up at 5:15am on a SUNDAY

Why body? WHY?

I tried to go back to sleep. I used all of my life-long tricks to try to fool my body; no lights being turned on, I flipped my body over to the 'other side' which had the added bonus of not having the 'time' on the alarm clock in view, I stuck one leg out from under the covers, I smushed up my pillow, I smoothed out my pillow. Nothing helped.

So, after about 20 minutes I finally gave in and got up.

I guess I should make a list of things to do before work tomorrow:

1. Laundry This is not an easy task in Germany- the wash and dry cycles
take a long, long, long time.

2. Pick up the mess that I made while looking for paperwork yesterday.
I'd love to have just enough money to hire an assistance to take
care of things like paperwork- because, you know that they wouldn't
have to LOOK FOR PAPERWORK and thus wouldn't MAKE A MESS looking
for it in the first place.

3. Write a few emails and a couple of real letters.
I have 2 friends that we only correspond with letters as we have for
the past 21 years. Truthfully, I like getting what I call:

4. Clean out the fridge -Toss anything that is bad or is going
to go bad in the next few days into the 'refuse trash' which I call
the BAD FOOD TRASH that goes in the BLACK CONTAINER that will be
picked up by the 'refuse trash' people on Monday.

*When I first moved here, I had to associate the colors
of the bins w/ the type of trash that goes into the different colored containers.
The refuse trashcan is BLACK and so, I use the term BAD FOOD to help me remember the type of 'trash' that goes into that container. The paper recycle bin is GREEN- so, trees make paper and the leaves are GREEN. The yellow bag trash is made out of YELLOW PLASTIC and the recycle trash that goes inside? Plastics, styrofoam, and foil pieces. Hey, you do what you can when the words written on the sides of the containers, to let you know what goes inside, are written in a foreign language.

*Trash pick up in my little community is limited to once a month for the different types of recycling and the 'bad food' trash is picked up twice a month. So, you don't want to miss any of the recycling days. Not that I would have had any personal experience in having missed the recycle days in the past or ANYTHING like THAT.

5. Cook SOMETHING that I can have for dinner and for lunch at work for a couple of days.

See, I told you it was pretty dull here.

*I'm not going to add 'cleaning up the house' because even living alone... that is something that I have to do on a regular basis. Problem is- I have no one to blame but myself if things are not put back where they belong/etc. Maybe I should start having an 'invisible friend' to blame the messes on- like young children imagine?

I haven't been knitting anything in the past several weeks.

Reason? I woke up one morning with a 'stiff neck' and thought that I had just slept crooked or something like that. Well, as the morning progressed- things got worse and soon I wasn't able to turn my neck in ANY direction. Of course, it would have to happen on a SATURDAY morning, right? I went through pain and no sleeping because of the neck situation until work was over on Monday. After the students left my room for the day, I went down to see one of my teacher friends- who had briefly saw a local physical therapist in the German town near the base. (she'd had knee surgery in the states that summer)

I asked her who she saw and she gave me the location of this guy. I went straight to his office and begged to be seen that AFTERNOON/NIGHT. He agreed to stay late and saw me at 7pm after all of his appointments for the day were over. I found out that he could only give me a neck/shoulder massage without doctor orders for physical theraphy. However, this massage, was enough that I was finally able to sleep for 4 hours that night. It's now been several weeks of therapy and I think that I'm well enough to start a new knitting project... or 'shh' pick up something that isn't finished.

So, what have you been doing? I'm sure much more exciting things than I have been doing.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Famous last words... or I plan to start posting to my blog again real SOON...

Well, there were several factors that have kept me from posting entries to my blog:

1. I live in the boonies and not much happens... I figure no one wants to hear
about how much snow has fallen each day, right?

2. Super slow Internet compared to what I had in Korea and that makes posting
photos a chore. *Often the photos will time-out while I'm trying to download

3. Since, it had been so long since I had posted anything- I actually forgot my password for accessing my blog and then when I would try to
to figure things out... everything was in GERMAN so 'since
I can't read GERMAN' ... I had a very frustrating time trying to figure out where
and how I could get some help with accessing my blog. The blogspot areas where
you could try to find the different help categories and help w/ blogger were all in GERMAN! I guess
that they (blogspot) could tell that my computer address was in GERMANY - so -
they just assumed that I would want all of my 'messages/areas' in German??

4. Did I mention that not much happens here?

OH, the biggest news that I do have... the LAST OF THE SNOW melted from my yard on March 15. Yes, that is the level of excitement these days.

So, dear readers... is this thing on? AND, is anyone still out there? Are you ready for some more stories, photos, and a knitting project posted every so often?