Monday, October 11, 2010

Feeling the Love in Germany

I’m on the road this week, working from Germany and attending a conference of Travel Writers and Public Relation professionals. It’s my 4th visit to this beautiful country, and even though I’ve been lucky enough to hangout in its beer gardens, bond with the locals, boogie to the odd oom-pa-pa band - there has always been an element of Germany that I’m never really sure what to do with.

So much has happened here - it was only a few weeks ago that Germany finally payed off it’s World War 1 debt - imposed by the Treaty of Versailles - a financial obligation that was so massive, many historians credit it with opening the door to Hitler. I find all of this history fascinating, yet I’ve never had the courage to discuss it with my German friends. It’s kind of like traveling with an elephant - better to ignore than offend.

The conference is taking place in Saxony, even though I’ve never been to this area of Germany before it didn’t stop me from making assumptions....boy, was I ever wrong. I knew that the Allies had heavily bombed this area, destroying many of the cities. I came expecting to see the mammoth, concrete buildings that always seem to be a staple of Eastern Block countries. I had no idea how much time, effort and passion has gone into rebuilding and restoring. It is truly beautiful here.

More important, this place has touched my soul. The Berlin Wall only came down in 1989, which quite frankly wasn’t that long ago. The revolution started here, a small group of brave souls who brought down a regime without resorting to violence. In 21 years they have achieved amazing things - including a thriving economy.

I’ll be the first to admit that there are days when I worry about this world, wondering if we’ve already passed the tipping point. Being here reminds me that there is always hope, that it is always better to make love not war, and to never stop believing.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lost in Translation

Compared to most people, Tom and I don’t have a traditional marriage. We live in a condo without a white picket fence - it isn’t unusual for us to be working on separate continents - he's milk chocolate and Beatles - I’m dark chocolate and Stones. In other words, we don’t do Ward and June at our house.

While I would like to think that we’re special and unique, I’ve come to realize that we communicate like every other couple on the planet. Some things are universal. For example, he says exactly what he is thinking, while I have a more indirect approach. Tom recently admitted that it's taken him 25 years to realize that “whatever” actually means no.

Like most guys he likes to fix things, which means most of our discussions end with him giving me advice. Tonight while trying to explain that sometimes I just want him to listen, I realized that most men don’t even know what that looks like. In fact, I’m not even sure they have the necessary vocabulary for those kinds of conversations.

This gave me a brilliant idea, I should make a set of flash cards with phrases Tom can refer to during those times I really just want him to listen while I vent.

My list goes something like this:




oh dear




how do you feel about that?


Laugh if you will, but this could be big people.

Friday, May 28, 2010

It's All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses an Eye

Anyone who has read my blog will know that my husband is a real character. Truth is without him I'm not sure I would even have anything to blog about. Lately I've been thinking I should keep a list of some of the crazy lines that come out of his mouth. Like the time I heard him say to a police dispatcher "look I watch CSI and I can tell you right now that my scooter is at a chop shop in Surrey".

To make a long story short, one day Tom discovered his scooter was missing. After giving it some thought, he realized that there was a moving truck parked in our neighborhood the week before - which was actually a disguise for a band of thieves, who obviously stole his beloved scooter. Poor guy spent days on the phone filing police reports and insurance claims, getting very upset that more wasn't being done to recover it. For god sakes why wouldn't they just listen to him and send an undercover team out to raid those chop shops?

Four days later he walks to our neighborhood market and notices a scooter in the parking lot - upon closer inspection he sheepishly realizes it's his scooter! Seems he rode it there to buy flowers, got distracted and walked home. By the time he realized it was missing he had totally blacked out the whole shopping thing, assuming the scooter was already on the black market.

Good news is he did learn a few really important life lessons.

Lesson #1 - it is not an easy process to go back to the police and say it was all a big misunderstanding. Especially after declaring yourself a CSI expert and giving them tips on how they should be doing their jobs.

Lesson 2 - if you are going to take the easy way out and tell the neighbors that your son took it on a joy ride - or the police that your wife did a crazy thing and forgot that she left it at the should make damn sure you're out of earshot.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Amazing Things I've Seen

Gita, a beautiful Miniature Schnauzer, is a regular patron of John & Zekes Bar (Healdsburg, CA).
Don't worry, she only sips out of a small glass of beer, every few days.....
Tom thought this was a great idea and for a moment had visions of bonding with Tex and Maggie in our local pub - problem is Maggie is more of a Cosmo girl.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

We are Family

Years ago, long before there was a Tom and Mika – my husband had a really strange breakup. It happened in Boston where he and the “girlfriend of the month” decided to go see a psychic (who are we kidding, she decided. Amazing the things men will do for women, if hard pressed they’ll see movies with subtitles, endure the odd spa treatment, etc.) During the session the sooth-sayer predicted that the girlfriend would have one child………(drum roll please)…….and Tom would have three. Needless to say this didn’t go over all that well and to this day Tom shudders when anyone mentions Beantown.

Fast forward 30 years – last night out of the blue and totally unsolicited Tom says” that lady in Boston was right, I did have three kids”. Love, love, love the fact that Tom considers Tex and Maggie his children. The thing is, families come in all shapes and sizes – the lovely gay couple who live next door have a beautiful daughter – many of us have step parents - and in our case we just happen to be part of Tex and Maggie’s pack.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Weekend in The Emerald City

One of the hazards of living with a photographer, it's easy to stop snapping your view of the world. Just bought myself a simple point and shoot to play with, so.......
Nice to see a familiar face shopping for doggie treats in Seattle.
Okay, so it isn't the Eiffel Tower but it works for me.
Mexican food for lunch and dinner - does it get any better?

Seattle icons.