Friday, October 30, 2009

What happened to Halloween?

I used to look forward to Halloween, when my mom would sew adorable costumes for the kids (she made all four of these!) and we’d take them trick-or-treating once around the block, then marvel at the 25 pieces of candy they each got, comparing, organizing, and maybe even tasting their loot.

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Such excitement was almost more than they could bear and by 8:30 they were in bed in their feet-pajamas, exhausted and happy.

These days, this seems to be Halloween (taken at our local Halloween store):

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Seriously?

This woman, rocking methodically in the creaking rocking chair, was just freaky.  Her mouth was absolutely terrifying!  Can you imagine a 4-year-old ballerina-princess coming upon this in some prankster’s front yard?!

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This refrigerator was jam-packed with… body parts. 

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Adorable, isn’t it?

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This kid was seen just a few minutes earlier, exploring the fridge.

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And this was just… well, call me a stick-in-the-mud, but this was just inappropriate!  This girls was just alone on the carpet…

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In her case, seeing her face actually added some levity!

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Kat found a new friend…

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As did Tom.

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I was just happy to run into George Clooney!

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He saved me from all the freaky, scary, disgusting stuff. Oh, George!

Fortunately, Shasta’s still willing to be cute on Halloween!

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See that adorable Raggedy Ann there in the first photo?  My sweet angelic Kat is going to Elisabeth’s Halloween party tonight dressed as a… well, you guessed it --

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…a devilish temptress!

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I just KNEW it!

I can’t remember how I found Tonya and her wonderful blog (Kingfisher Cove), but I immediately knew that she and I were peas in a pod.  Not only do we share so many of the same attitudes and interests, but we tend to constantly be on the same wavelength!  It’s just little things, but it’s a continual, almost spooky, similarity.

IMG_1565Today, Tonya and I finally, we met in person.  And it was absolutely NO surprise to me that we hit it off fabulously, just as we’d hit it off online!  She’s exactly who I know her to be online and who I expected her to be in person – warm and friendly, articulate and intelligent, funny and sweet.  We chatted for almost two hours, about our families, our jobs, our blogs, and just generally about life.

I cheated on my Weight Watchers program (OK, I didn’t “cheat” as much as I probably used ALL my flex points for the week), but I have to say it was worth it!  The appetizers –filet mignon strips, scallops, and breaded artichoke hearts --were out of this world! 

Thanks Tonya, for the wonderful time!  Let’s definitely do it again soon!

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Opa’s Magical Bookshelf

This bookshelf stands next to the bed in Opa and Lou’s guest room. 

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Had I not opened the first photo album… and the second… and the third… and the twentieth, I might have gotten some much-needed sleep this weekend.

Instead, I stayed up till the wee hours on all three nights of my visit, transported to another time and place with each photo, exploring my family’s past – from the very distant past to the not so distant past.  With no scanner available, I could only take photos of the photos, but now I have them, and they already feel priceless.

First I explored photo albums filled with the results of Mom’s detailed exploration into her genealogy.  There are a hundreds pages in that album; here are just a few:

Mom’s family coat of arms:

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Mom’s family made hats in Straubing, Germany.  This is from the celebration of 225 years.  Now that’s what I call a family business!

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Apparently, my mother’s family had to prove their Aryan descent in 1936.  This is that “proof.” 

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My great-grandfather left Straubing and opened a hat shop in Traunstein, Bavaria, Germany -- Mom’s home town.

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This is that hat store late in the 19th century.

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Mom’s father, Max, took over the business early in the 20th century.

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There’s now a “dollar store” at this location. How sad.

This is my grandfather, Max, the body builder!

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This is the only photo I know of with both my maternal grandmother and my maternal grandfather:

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And then there’s Dad’s family albums!

This is my paternal grandmother and paternal grandfather and their house in Chemnitz:

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My grandmother was married to a part-Jew.   That served to protect the family, to some extent, from Nazi persecution.  That’s my dad, in the middle. (Pretty dang cute, eh?)

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And just because I can’t resist, here’s another photo of my dad as a little kid.  I wish I’d known him then!

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I never met “Tante Adele,” my father’s favorite aunt, but word has it that she had piercing sky blue eyes.  You can almost see the color in this black & white photo!

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Dad’s bookshelf wasn’t only filled with old photos of people I never met, they were also filled with people I know and love:  Like Mom and Dad:

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And my favorite – a picture I’d never seen before:

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There were photos of my parents with me that I’d totally forgotten about:

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Some with my parents and their grandchildren:

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Some of Tom and me as young parents:

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And quite a few of our kids that I’d completely forgotten about:

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I need to completely ignore the magical bookshelf tonight because the airport shuttle will arrive just a few short hours from now, at 4 AM, to take me away from Ashland, where I finally began to really relax today and back to my current reality, which is so very far away from relaxing!

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