Archive for the ‘Books & Tapes’ Category

It will be Sept

August 28th, 2015 Comments off

Did I mention that George and I are looking to relocate sometime in the not so distant future (next year? Year after?)? I realized as part of the move a requirement to shift from my German web host which I have been using since 2006/7. Using the same system and software for that entire length of time; including Smart-FTP which works so well that I have forgotten how to set it up.

Seriously. My FTP software is running on an old netbook. Old enough that it runs Win98. No hassles, no problems, not supported for a long time. I had a major brain cramp in getting it all organized in the first place. Ran over my limits a couple of times and had to regroup. The help guys are great – or at least they were at last pass in 2007. Under the adage of “if it ain’t broke – don’t screw with it” I have left the system alone.

Webpages are easy. I can cut, paste and reload pix without a problem. But eight years of blog posts just aren’t going to happen without some help. Then I had the brilliant idea of using a WordPress plug in to automate the process. OK – that part sort of seemed to work – except that you first scan and build the backup. My sites + build is higher than my allowable server space.

It is 1900 in the evening. I am packed. And tired. And leaving early tomorrow for the train station. I’ll be home for a couple of days end of Sept. I will deal with it then.


20 Books to Rohrbach this morning and 121 to the Heidelberg Altstadt Shelf.
Basic numbers here 1261 + 123 yesterday = 1384 + 20 + 121 = 1525. I have 40 more children’s books to be dropped tomorrow at the USO.

Categories: Books & Tapes, computers Tags:

To the ends of the earth – or my garage

August 27th, 2015 Comments off

Driving to Wallhausen is fun, especially when I do it with someone else. We had a good time there and back. A stop at my house involved Nana and the kids books. And some old shirts for wearing, painting, crafting with kids.

I have the yarn I need which I promised people for later in the year. I have knitting projects for the next month (well, I had those anyway but….).


123 books to the good…. I mean to someone else. Nana, bless her heart, went through both the English and German children’s books and was easily talked into taking boxes home for nieces and nephews.

Categories: Books & Tapes, Knitting, yarn Tags:

What do I do with this?

August 13th, 2015 4 comments

I have this yarn –


My Silk. ~ sport weight - 175m/50 gm and 200gm total

My Silk. ~ sport weight – 175m/50 gm and 200gm total

It’s a 1/3, 1/3, 1/3rd mix of silk, cotton and acyrlic with a nice feel, shine and bounce. It’s not my color but it seems to want to be knit. But into what?  Never mind it is just a bit orange which is so not my usual color..

It is growing

It is growing


The blue will eventually be an afghan. It will be as big as it gets (i.e. till I run out of yarn…) . Right now it is just knitting back and forth as I listen to a course on Antimicrobial Stewardship. Actually both interesting and entertaining (except for one speaker who has an unfortunate voice quality of about a nasal six year old with a lisp. Neither cute nor particularly comprehensible).  I will finish up the lectures tomorrow, then go pay my fee, take the exam and hopefully claim my CME credits.


137 books this morning along with the 60 yesterday+ another 35 added to the previous 954 (which made it actually 989 I forget to include one trip to the community bookshelf and books dropped off at the Fraport USO).

Resulting in a whopping 1186 books gone. Of which 40 were childrens’ books, five cassette audio books and the rest a mash-up of mystery, science fiction, fantasy, romance and politics. Guess which ones were George’s contribution……

Categories: Books & Tapes, Knitting Tags:

Also in the box

August 12th, 2015 Comments off

We dropped off books this afternoon in Rohrbach, the next community down the B3 from Heidelberg. Apparently they have added a community bookshelf. While George talked to a neighbor who was walking by, I unloaded books. Sixty of them.

Children’s books in German, adult political books in both German and English and a miscellaneous collection of novels, romance, science fiction, fantasy and mysteries mostly but not complete in English.

I also found these in the box

say what?

say what?

The sheep card is unopened, the two photos have to date from Blue Factory days, the negatives don’t have a date but I am guessing about 1996, 25€ and a tube of K-Y jelly. It is the last one about which I don’t have a clue

Categories: Books & Tapes, packing out, Photos Tags:

The Book Pile

August 8th, 2015 4 comments

I waved good bye to our household goods; all boxed up and on their way to California. Actually it was 7 Aug 2014 but this is close enough. Since then, they were delivered. Shifted around several times. Several things have been relocated to storage since the house was under construction . A few things made the trip across the ocean and have (are finding) new homes.

Which still leaves the house here with its invaders (the four footed kind) along with the more than occasional house guest and friend. It also explains why I still have too much furniture here, a partial closet of clothes, knitting supplies and three storages + the garage full of what could most politely be called junk.

George has found a local agency that is similar to the Goodwill/Salvation Army. They take just about anything that can be redistributed, refurbished, gifted or sold. They don’t, however, take books.

You knew I was going somewhere with this didn’t you?

It was on 8 August last year that I asked everyone to guess how many books I had left over that needed to be redistributed. No guess below 4000 was allowed and I took pictures of my former studio. The offer was for a dinner gift certificate

Nana guessed an oodleplex
Cat bet me it was less than in her house (I have been there – it is a close call).
Alison picked 4444 (cost of a hearing aid)
Carmen 4567
April – 6289
Isobel – 4882
Mary – 5777
Steven – 5280 (feet in a mile)
Christian – 4997
Kim – 7012

and I started dropping off books anywhere I could manage
9 Aug – 148, 10 Aug 130 = 278, 11 Aug – 67 = 345, 12 Aug 72= 417. It wasn’t till Oct that I managed to off-load a dozen books on Zandra = 429,

And then I headed off to LonCon, Denver, the Legend, the Oasis (Chaos of the Seas), Serenade, before bopping to both Berkeley and Germany before the end of the year.

Won’t get into this year’s travel summary, but over the course of this past year I have managed to drop off another 537 books. Hardly a dent in the pile at 954 which is still looming mightily in the studio.

just a close up of the disaster..

just a close up of the disaster..

from the window size

from the window size

most of the children's books

most of the children’s books

as you enter the room

as you enter the room

Starting today – I am going to make a concerted effort and see how much I can diminish the pile in the next ten days. Secondly – if you want to compare the size of the pile – 8 Aug 2014 is the original post.

I am also going to reopen the bidding on guestimating the number of books. For those of you already in the running – I am going to honor last year’s effort at the end of the run. If you want to enter the new bit of insanity – please feel free to do so as you could be a double winner. Cat? I am assuming that you still want all numbers above the highest bidder to infinity? In any case, please add your vote to the comments on this post.

Categories: Books & Tapes, packing out Tags:


August 5th, 2015 2 comments

It is a new day and my sense of humor is somewhat restored. Made better by my husband getting back safely from Switzerland last night and taking me out for dinner on the way home.

I was getting pretty sick of nutella and string cheese (don’t ask).

For the last several days there has been a chorus of “oh poor me” signing a song in my head; distracting me with high levels of whine, self pity and other assorted irritants which has made me a not very popular person in this household.

Please consider that I am currently in Heidelberg and George, as mentioned above, spent the last two days in Switzerland. Leaves us all with the understanding that I haven’t been particularly fun to be around. Not for anyone else and certainly not for myself.

I have been attempting to sort out my multiple backup drives, consolidating important things like photos, edit a couple of articles, audiobooks and just generally be a bit more organized than I have in the past.

Never mind (grin). I will be fine. And here till the 16th of Aug.

Categories: Books & Tapes, computers, Photos Tags:

Ok, I voted

July 30th, 2015 Comments off

for the Hugos.

Hello? I don’t know where you live, but I haven’t ever lived anywhere that there is much of anything to vote for at the end of July.

Small things around home – like do I sit inside or out? Do I sit in front of the fan? Do I drink this nice cold glass of water or just pour it over my head? Important things to me but of no relevance to anyone not in my immediate vicinity or responsible for mopping up my mess.

The end of July marks the closing of the Hugo voting. For those of you who aren’t SciFi/Fantasy fans – these are the annual awards nominated and voted on by fans. Nothing to do with which books are promoted by publishers. No committee of experts deciding what book/story/graphic novel/bit of art is the best from the past year. There are other categories as well – fanzine, pro-zine, podcast, long and short forms (think TV episode & movies), as well as editors and some fan recognition awards.

Most years the nominations are about what would be expected, the voting is without controversy. At WorldCon you find out if your concept of great matches everyone else’s. Anyone who is a member of WorldCon (last year and current year) gets to vote. In recent years (say, from when eBooks became popular) those voting are also provided a link which allows downloading of a personal copy of the written material.  It isn’t actually a bad deal, provided the fiction is worth reading.

And there in lies the rub. For various reasons, this year’s nomination and voting process turned extremely ugly and political. There was a group which decided to “stuff the nominations” in order to have some less well know authors have a whack at spaceship for their mantle. In response some extremely misogynistic group got their friends together to stuff the nominations.

Two significant issues: the first is that sometimes not well know is because you just aren’t that good. Both excellent writing and some heavy duty self-promotion are required. Real world, way it goes. The second issue is that I am a liberal – I believe in the right of the totally idiotic to be able to write whatever they want.  I can chose to read it or not.

But I don’t want them to tell me what I “should” be reading. Or flame those who question or have characters in their fiction which don’t conform to someone’s 1700’s view of skin color and gender superiority.  And the solution, apparently, for the second group which really can’t write at all it is to establish one’s own publishing house. Outside the US of course since the IRS believe that electronic publishing generates income. Authors with income should pay taxes.

Where was I?

Oh, yes, marking my electronic ballot which was blessedly free of hanging chad but not of “no awards.”  Must be that I am old fashion, but an internationally recognized award means something to me. And that means quality is required. Not a statement of “I’m important and deserve it!” but writing that is interesting, gripping and carries you out of this world. This year, for the first time, I couldn’t get beyond the first couple of pages of most of the nominees before quitting in disgust.

Here’s hoping the children pack up and go home, leaving the adults to discuss minor things like plot, consistency in word building and spelling…..

Categories: Books & Tapes, Cons Tags:

reading & Hugos

July 29th, 2015 1 comment

I seriously thought about what I should be doing this morning. Two loads of laundry won over cleaning. Then I remembered that the Hugo voting closes in two days and I hadn’t read everything.

There is such thing as intelligent voting and then there is blind pick and chose. Because of the all the controversy this year I am unwilling to take a chance on voting and felt the need to really be honest and objective.

And for the first time in my life I will be using the “no award” button because, frankly, in some of the categories the ballot stuffing by certain groups resulting in nothing worth reading much less awarding.

So much for an objective process based on quality in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy field. Perhaps all the pundits and essayists are correct in believing that most of the fans are influenced more than a little by factors outside what is on the page, screen or in their ears (podcasts).

Me? Drek is drek.

Categories: Books & Tapes Tags:

Chicago Literacy Festival

June 6th, 2015 Comments off

Once a year the part of Harrison Street that starts at the Dearborn Station as well as a block of Polk shut down on Saturday and Sunday for The Chicago Lit Fest.  I had decided to make another attempt at locating Loopy Yarn (I needed a tape measure that had both inches and cm) since the weather was lovely. Or, that was my excuse for a walk as I was setting out. Loopy Yarn is located at the Old Dearborn Station.

Obviously, I found it and the long line of tents just loaded with lovely people and thousands of books. It wasn’t just local booksellers. There were also lecture sessions, autograph tables and cooking demonstrations. Local organizations were running food and drink booths and dozens of local presses were peddling their books.

I had a lovely couple of hours wandering and not buying books. Other than reference or cookbooks, I have completely given up on DT (dead tree) books. They weigh too much, are too bulky to carry and cost more to publish than eBooks. Most of the time authors get higher royalties off the eBooks. Win-Win for everyone. Except of course, those who make their living on the press side of publishing.

I think there is something fundamental for an author about holding a book in the hand and seeing one’s name on the cover.That solid weight of accomplishment made physical. It makes it real in a way that seeing the same thing on a scree does not.

Which leaves aside the complete issue of horrible book covers. As a rule, reference books do the best in relating whatever there is for cover art to the subject and small press romance/horror/mystery/sci-fi do the worst. But that is probably a rant for another day; the sameness and boring stereotyping of book covers.  I will just wandering off to drool over the two cookbooks I purchased for me.

Categories: Books & Tapes, Travel Tags:


June 3rd, 2015 Comments off

It has been a long time since I have had hours and hours to browse a real book store. Brick and mortar – major chain – shelves and shelves of books.

Barnes & Noble seems to wisely have scooped up the contract for most of the University Affiliated bookstores which is probably just as good a deal for them as it is for the school.  In this case, it is DePaul just a few blocks up State Street.  I happily spent hours wandering the shelves.  (aside: I think that the current cover trends in several genres reflect either lack of imagination or brain death. Boring…. but I have to remember that these covers are probably chosen by the same idiots who are enraptured by vampires….)

I found a good dozen books which I think might be interesting and bought…. none. I’ll watch for them on the eShelves of the Chicago Public Library and online books sales in either electronic or audio format. Plus, my back is sore and I really don’t want to add to the weight I am dragging to California.

Categories: Books & Tapes Tags:

Walking to town

May 11th, 2015 Comments off

It seemed logical to walk into town today. Cheré and I wandered in, dropped off another 16 books at the Give-away-Shelf. This takes me up to 642 books that have found a new home so far. I wish I could say that I have made a major dent in the pile, but it really doesn’t seem so. I might have even more books remaining than even I suspected. So no – not a winner yet named in the “Guess how many Books” contest.

I will repost the list, the guesses and a new picture of the boxes when I get back in June.

Meanwhile, we walked into town, visited a few stores and walked back. I managed to not buy anything at either Wolle Rödel or Jack Wolfskin. Hunger struck part way back. The stop at Kaschmir Tandoori netted great food at an extremely reasonable price. The food is great. There is no ambiance, rather you get plain tables and chairs with self-service (take-away also available) and really good prices.

Walking through the cemetery on the way avoided the students escaping Helmholz Gymnasium and instead provided peace, quiet and industrious people maintaining the grounds and planting flowers.

Categories: Books & Tapes, home Tags:


April 25th, 2015 Comments off

For those of you who don’t remember from the last two springs – 25 April is ANZAC day – standing for Australian-New Zealand Army Corps.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli in WWI. The casualties on both sides were horrendous. What was supposed to be a preemptive strike turned into 8 months of hard fighting with little to no progress.

The significance of today (25 April) hit me a few days ago which should not be surprising considering that I was on the Mariner two years ago when there was standing room only in the upper lounge for the memorial service complete with New Zealander bugler from the crew. Last year was the Legend. With a bit of nudging from Val, Ian and a few others the CD managed to get together what turned out to be an impressive service with ANZAC biscuits at the end.

This year I asked the Cruise Director about a service and mentioned that I still had the documents and audio clips I had pulled last year. We also have a larger Australian contingent on the ship one of whom came equipped with flag, readings and the audio for the Last Call.

So there we were, a small group of 15 this morning at 0600. On the pool deck with the wind blasting and the temperatures barely over freezing. There is the Aussie who has the readings, the Padre (Catholic, USAF (ret)), passengers, cruise director and two Yanks (Cheré and I, and she is from Oklahoma).

A second service was held at 1100, up in the Vortex Lounge. Much better attended.

Meanwhile, it is first formal night and we have already started the time jumps ahead. So need to change clothes, wander to dinner and then go back to reading #NewHugoAwards and #NewHugoCategories…

Categories: Books & Tapes, Travel Tags:

the plan falls apart

December 5th, 2014 Comments off

I had this afternoon all planned out. When I returned back to the hotel after hiking all over in the inner city of Vienna I had a task list. Update all of you so it didn’t look like I had completely fallen off the planet. Finish up the green hat and start on the crazy orange. Consider knitting cowls to match both of the above. Put together a Roll Call for a Feb Cruise.

Unfortunately for all of the above good ideas – I stopped at Thalia on the way back to the hotel. I saw their fiction section upstairs yesterday but failed to check it out since I hadn’t see any indication that they carried anything for English Language books. Today I decided that I was willing to pick up a German version of a familiar book. So what do I find when I go upstairs? No German, but the UK versions of popular fiction: Mysteries, Thrillers, Romance, Fantasy and SciFi.

FoxGlove Summer was sitting there on the table as bold as you please.

new plan for the afternoon!

new plan for the afternoon!

Categories: Books & Tapes, Travel Tags:


August 28th, 2014 1 comment

No, not a coat. Just the knitters’ abbreviate for …


which I now have embroidered on this lovely project bag courtesy of Dagmar (NanaWolf’s Sister). She thinks I did her a kindness by giving her most of our pegged together bookshelves while I know she did me a huge favor by hauling them out of here and sparing me from lifting, toting and taking them to the charity shop. We are both thrilled at the results.

My Stash Treasure

My Stash Treasure

Now, SABLE can apply to just about any craft, hobby or indulgence in spite of the fact that the addict may be able to look you straight in the eye and lie:

“No, I don’t have too much [fill in the blank with the category under contention]”

when it is perfectly obvious that one man could never, ever, under any circumstances personally restore more than 110 antique autos even if he manages to live another 30 years. With certain kinds of collections – survival in terms of financial or life/limb may be seriously under question. I don’t recommend either poisonous snakes, scorpions or tarantulas.

Women are more often accused of having this condition (SABLE) than men. After all, how many 3.00 circular needles do I really need? Oh, wait! Someone just told me about one made of a material I don’t already have in the collection….

Or skeins of yarn, or fleece (which can lead to goats, bunnies and llamas none of which are particularly healthy for your budget or your lawn). Then there are the fabric fanatics who don’t restrict themselves to just fabrics. After all, you need thread and patterns and sewing machines and sergers and books and interfacings and notions and…

In traditional households part of the problem might also result from those gender roles and lack of understanding on the part of someone that both parties are working and therefore the outside income rightfully belongs to both, even if the he-man is the one drawing the formal paycheck. This brings a certain sneakiness to stash accumulation with an air of “I’m not really entitled” around the edges. Neither excess purse string controls or hiding stash are conducive to healthy partnerships.

Since I have a more than healthy income, buying yarn, fiber toys etc is my choice. I wouldn’t begrudge George his hobbies,,, if he had any. But that is a whole different story and why I think sometimes he is happy to see me traveling.

There are sanctioned activities which are socially accepted. If you are a bibliophile, no one blinks twice as you overload your house with books. After all, it is a legitimate passion. Until the firemen can’t get in the door or the smell of moldy books causes the neighbors allergies to erupt in full force.

Then there are the fly fishermen. Hundreds of flies, most exquisitely unique and hand tied in that tackle box. Why? Only one fits on the line at a time, right? So why worry when I need more than one knitting needle. We all know that one size doesn’t ever fit all circumstances.

For the purposes of my sanity, I am going to completely ignore the civilian gun nuts. 16 handguns, 2 shotguns and 5 rifles? In suburban Maryland? Why? Have you grown extra arms?

All in all, collecting is fun but not profitable and can cause the occasional bit of anxiety. I will carry my new project bag on the Legend of the Seas with pride.

(See Brad, you don’t even have to collect elephants to play! Other people have far larger collections!)

Categories: Books & Tapes, Fiber Tags:


August 16th, 2014 Comments off

or costumes or masquerades. That is what a lot of the day seemed to be about. However, you will get those tomorrow since Sunday is Hall Costume Day and it is more fun to batch the insanity in one place.

Rather, I am going to detour to talk about pants. For men, the styles haven’t changed much in decades or centuries. It is solely a matter of fabrics and textures, textiles. It is not a matter of length, blousing or tightness. Face it – doublets have been long gone. Instead the only challenge seems to be that of the younger make generation actually managing to keep their pants high enough to cover both essentials and underwear. Most adults don’t want to see sagging, boxer shorts or have a visual of naked buttocks skin burned into their mind. The thought of having a visual as persistent as that jingle which converts to an ear worm is enough to produce shudders.


And then there is women’s fashion. Pants that go to various lengths, change color, move zippers from front to side to back to more than one of the above. Men at least have the sense to place trouser zippers/buttons in a logical and useful place. Recently, apparently to better show off belly piercing, tattoos and make oversized guts more comfortable, there has been a change in the height of waistlines. Technically referred to as “low rise” many of these items feature 10-15 cm (4-6″ for those stuck on the English system) of height above the crotch of the garment. For comparison, hips are normally measured 9″ (~22cm) below the waist. Unless you are wearing clothing that is a size or more too small, there is a significant risk of clothing going south.  So here we have it – another clothing item designed to create equality  between men and women. And slide off the ass of both.

Can you tell I am not thrilled? What is worse? I found I had inadvertently purchased one of these evil pairs of trousers. Even more fun is that while I purchased my normal size, apparently these either run large or I have shrunk. The second is extremely unlikely so I will continue to grumble about the latter. It couldn’t possibly be my fault for purchasing clothing without trying it on. Not after having been able to do this from Jack Wolfskin for years.  Not accepting any responsibility here, not me. Must be the clothing.   Now, all you need to add to completely understand my joy is airline security. Belts aren’t worth wearing through airports and packing one would mean that you knew you needed a belt.

So there I am, in the middle of a Science Fiction convention surrounded by literally dozens and dozens of young men in jeans popping in and out of the gaming tent. They are wearing various appropriate to the Con T-Shirts. None of them are cool – their pants fit.  And there I am, having to wear my shirt untucked so as to not spend the entire day yanking at my trousers.


Categories: Books & Tapes, Cons, Knitting Tags:

What got left behind

August 12th, 2014 Comments off

When I discovered the first of the “oops” items not even an hour after the truck left, I thought it might be fun to start a list and see how it goes:

  • a basket containing parts of two spinning wheels which are in one of the containers
  • one & 1/2 boxes of books (surprise? not.) including a couple of historical books and a travel book from Israel
  • a sealed envelope marked “LLadro” which I know contains the arm which was broken off one of the statues about 2-3 moves ago.
  • one of the legs for my large embroidery stand.
  • the bag of cardboard spools for the warping rack
  • the zebra wood plate (over 30 cn across, it is not exactly small) that is mostly for display but is really nice to look at and feel
  • (and this is a place holder since I haven’t looked in the laundry room yet, the kitchen or double checked our bedroom….)


Apparently the critters have scored another victory in their attempt to invade every wall in our house.  One of the more adventurous apparently managed to get a new access to the wall between the back hall and the living room. Haven’t heard them in that area before. Idiot apparently couldn’t find its way back out. When I went to bed last night, it was still wheezing and scrabbling. This has been an ongoing battle over the last several years. I think emptying the attic has emboldened them.



Which leads me to the high point of the day. I got this lovely toy to replace yet another non-functioning coffee maker. I don’t know what it is about this house, but coffee makers have an average life expectancy of six months. I was sick of continually running out of my coffee because someone else has no clue as to how much coffee to put in the filter, or balancing the cone on top of the thermos since the small broken piece that lets the coffee go into the pot rather than all over the counter has gone AWOL.

I saved up my little stickers from REWE and got my coffee maker at 40% of the normal price. Color me happy. Then I ran into a slight issue. They didn’t have the capsules. And, as it turns out, each fancy little machine has a slightly different shape and size designed to prevent you from buying anything other than theirs. Really, it is the same issues as printers – money is not made on the machine – it is made on the supplies.

Anyway – neither REWE nor Aldi had them. The Tschibo shop on the Hauptstrasse did. So off I went to buy coffee for my machine. Since I walked into town (and back) I figured to stock up. In the future, I will just order enough on line to get free shipping….

And the coffee? It was wonderful. I had two cups!

Coffee - 9 choices - no broken pot

Coffee – 9 choices – no broken pot

What I did find at REWE (no I didn’t buy any) was beer with carriers in anticipation of Oktoberfest.

For 10E you can buy a six pack complete with a Trachten Wool Carrier

For 10E you can buy a six pack complete with a Trachten Wool Carrier


New project on the needles. This one is easy and portable. What more could I want besides a Hanne Falkenberg design (not her yarn) and garter stitch for travel?

right front - Ypsilon

right front – Ypsilon


Only dropped off 72 books this morning. I hadn’t planned on making the run, but since I was awake I went. Put out all the garbage/trash containers while I was at it. Wonder of wonders – the rubbish was picked up today (say good-bye to three blue bags full of horrible, moldy stuff) as well as the recycle container emptied.

For reasons that you already know – I took a hike downtown around lunch time. Had five books which I was going to drop off at the local to the Cemetery Coffee Shop (they have a swap shelf) but they are closed. Both school holidays and looking for a new manager. So those five books were added to the Neuegasse shelves. It wasn’t fast – about 1/3 of what I had dropped off this morning was already gone – because there were about 10 people rooting through the shelves when I got there.

Categories: Books & Tapes, home Tags:

It is Monday, might as well clean

August 11th, 2014 2 comments

Well, the kitchen is clean. As clean as I can make it considering the water pressure in the sink decided to give up the ghost providing me only a trickle of water, a lot of buzzing with effort. To top it off, the temperature is somewhere between OUCH and cool without my having the slightest bit of say in the matter. I know for a fact that it is not the hot water heater that is creating the problem since the water in the downstairs bathroom (same circuit) is just fine.  So I gave up on even thinking about scrubbing the floor since filling a bucket might take me till I turn seventy. Since I have a flight to London on Wednesday, years before the above mentioned event, I will just sweep, vacuum and call it a day.

Did I mention scrubbing the sink? Some brilliant designer decided that every good German sink deserves baskets. Now, having a metal multi-strand basket liner to the sink just might have saved a few broken items over the years. In return, there are eleven rods in one direction and twelve in the other, crossing on the bottom to make a pretty diamond pattern. Lets see – (11 x 2)+(12×2) + upteen little diamonds on the bottom. See – look for yourself:


see all those stupid wires?

see all those stupid wires?

and every single one of those puppies needed to be scrubbed. I am considering hiding the basket. Some easy place like on top of the cupboard or in the broom closet where no one will ever find it. Now that there are just the two of us – I am willing to risk the breakage to avoid this particular shoulder pain.


notice the absence of litter

notice the absence of litter

But the kitchen hasn’t looked this good since, well it was renovated.  In fact, when I forwarded the picture from my iPhone earlier to certain family members they weren’t sure whose kitchen I was visiting.


Which lead me then to the next project on the list: trash. This is Germany where everyone is big on recycling.We have four separate bins: Gelbetonne (recycle packing, plastics and the like), Bio (garbage), Pap (paper, cartons flattened) and Restmuelle (which is exactly as it sounds). Not included in the above are batteries, electronics, clothing, glass. The upshot is that it is only the rare item that goes in that last bin. In due consideration of the fact that no one is supposed to have a lot of items that can’t be recycled, the Restmuelle is only picked up once a month. Right.

So after a fast run through the house grabbing all the bags and partial bags abandoned by offspring and hubby alike, I wound up with this pile to haul to the garage. Not included are two boxes of papers which desperately need shredding nor does it include more items set aside for those wonderful charity shop people.

six blue bags, two white, jars, boxes and papers

six blue bags, two white, jars, boxes and papers

In fact it was too much for the elevator –

first trip down

first trip down

which meant two trips down to the garage followed by sorting. Leaving about 50% of it as total and complete trash which is not going anywhere tomorrow since it isn’t a trash pickup day.

At this point, I decided I could rest on my laurels.

After all – I made the early run to

11 Aug, added 67 books

11 Aug, added 67 books

since if I go before 0600 I can drive the car to the shelves and not have to schlep all that weight.  278+67= 345 donated to the Neuegasse shelf

and the guess list grows longer:

Alison 4444 (cost of an object)
Carmen 4567
Cat – TNTC (but less than her, so I guess she is taking all the really high numbers)
April – 6289
Isobel – 4882
Mary – 5777
Steven – 5280 (feet in a mile)
Christian – 4997

And, since I didn’t think the impact was all that clear – here is a photo of the books-in-boxes through the window

yes, lots of boxes and there are 10 you can't see

yes, lots of boxes and there are 10 you can’t see



Categories: Books & Tapes, home, packing out Tags:

Reprise –

August 10th, 2014 Comments off

Ok. I was going to give you a long and happy rant about how I finally have MY house to MYSELF. Sounds like a cat doesn’t it? Purfectly happy without all those pesky humans about who don’t deliver food on demand or proper respect. But it seems like everyone is still confused on what is going on.

Point 1: We are not moving. Repeat. Not moving. We shipped household goods because I had a shipping entitlement. Normally you have to make a final shipment within 12 months of military retirement. Exceptions are ok in some circumstances, but the Kaiserslautern Office is not granting them to anyone remaining over here unless they are a government employee on orders. I, obviously, am not.

Point 2: The stuff, as I have aptly named it, is going to CA because George owns a house there. There is a large garage which will become storage for the foreseeable future. This will not create a problem because there is no car in the US. The Eldest and College Guy will be living in the house while pursing further education.

Point 3: Except for the occasional visit, I have no intentions of living there. And trust me, my adult offspring no more want to share a house with George & I than we want to share with them. It is one of the joys of being an adult – not living with your parents. The flip-side is that few parents want to perpetuate adolescence even one day beyond the biological minimum.

Point 4: George is still working in Switzerland. Our home will continue to be Heidelberg for several years. I have lots of traveling yet planned for the next couple of years and most involves Europe/Africa or arrivals/departures from same on ships.

So to sum up – stuff shipped. We aren’t moving. I would move to California and start paying state income tax because?????

Ok – on to the house. Today’s joy was to start on the kitchen and laundry. This was after I finished sorting out all the kids books and the left over boxes from the terrace. Several hours, a bit of screaming, and a late night snack later most of it was accomplished along with listening to a series of history lectures, dealing with audio files and knitting. Can’t forget the knitting.

Tomorrow I need to update Roll Calls for two cruises, finish the kitchen, see how many bags of trash can fit into the garage and drop off more books.

Next – the guess the  book count list
Alison 4444
Carmen 4567
Cat – TNTC (but less than her, so I guess she is taking all the really high numbers)
April – 6289
Isobel – 4882
Mary – 5777

I dropped off 130 this morning. So that is 278 gone and no visible dent in the pile of boxes. I think I will take another couple of pictures of the incredible non-shrinking box heap in the morning. Seeing is believing.

Categories: Books & Tapes, home, packing out Tags:

Loose ends

August 9th, 2014 2 comments

My muscles this morning announced with no uncertain creaking that I was not going to be doing a lot of heavy lifting today. Revising my plans – I still dropped off the first batch of books at Neuegasse (148 books), drove by Wilhelmsplatz (but their bookcase is full) and came home to organize.

Given it is Saturday, I gathered up my projects and took a hike to red where it turned out I was the only one.  After a nice lunch and finishing most of a hat, I headed back home, went to the store and came back to a pile of projects.


projects and treats

projects and treats


Most only needed ends woven in and photos taken, and three were in desperate need of returning to the frog pond.

just not pleased

just not pleased

one is left over from an earlier start on Sun&Moon. Little bit of purple was the start of a shawl and the grey/red is Rauma 53. I decided that the contrast just wasn’t doing it for me. I am going to swap out the red for Kauni or find a much lighter grey. Both colors are the same value which just isn’t pleasing.

019A1094 019A1095

I finished the last 1/3 of this hat today

another exeter

another exeter

then took photos of all of these, a few of which you might already have seen. Now I just have to update Ravelry…


So far, by email Alison picked 4444, Carmen 4567. Cat doesn’t think it is anywhere as many as in her house. I think everyone so far is underestimating the number of books.

X – 148 so far….

Categories: Books & Tapes, Fiber Tags:


August 8th, 2014 3 comments

Ok, so the house is now almost as empty as when we moved in. The three flew out yesterday which means I am here, all by my lonesome. I could get really snarky and make nasty comments about moms being left with cleanup but I think you already know my feelings about that. Should I mention that I had also organized help for the next two days through one of the charitable organizations that I know in Rohrbach. The young man made the mistake of showing up to check on dates/times late Monday afternoon while I was taking a nap. The DH mentioned it to me more than a day later: I have no idea why he drew on his German ancestry to be haughty, prejudicial, and nasty. But he decided that the kid didn’t “look good” and sent him away which is likely going to mean that there is no way I will have any help. The kid should not have stopped by – I told him specifically NOT to come back before Friday but if anyone had bothered to ask me…..(off soap box. Do I look like someone with no brains or in needing of “male protection for my own good?”

That leaves me with thousands of books in boxes which need moving, shelves to be dismantled and an incredible amount of trash to be policed up and sorted on my lonesome. Not a happy bunny here…  First, the starting point

first batch of shelves headed to garage

first batch of shelves headed to garage

more empty space

more empty space

empty studio

empty studio


By partway through the day, I could see visible progress, both on the terrace and in the studio


about 1/3 of the way through moving the boxes

about 1/3 of the way through moving the boxes



I started  at 0800 this morning and did fine till I was down to the last 50 or so boxes of books when I found a number which still have to be sorted by separating out the German and English kids books since I have specific places to take those. I also managed to identify a number of cartons that will go to Kleber Library either end of this month or in Oct. The rest of the books are just going to have to be donated/swapshelved at the rate of 50-100 a day on those times when I have enough energy to get up before 0600 while parking is still available to accomplish the drop offs. There are two swap shelves, so it should take me only a year or two….


On my right side

On my right side

on my left

on my left


while I was at it, I put the dining room and living room back together and took a picture of the terrace

living room

living room



terrace with all book boxes gone

terrace with all book boxes gone


The next large task is to tackle all the window ledges followed by the rooms downstairs…..




It is been a long time since I did one of these. The payout will/be dinner for two or = value in yarn. I looked at all the boxes of books and realized I have no idea how many there really remain to find new homes. So my proposal is simple – make a guess before the end of Aug on how many books there are in all the boxes. I will post numbers as I distribute them as to how many each time. At the end, we all can add the numbers.

As a general rule, 95% are paperbacks. The Xerox boxes on the one side number 54 and have an average of 30 books per box if you want somewhere to start. The larger boxes in front them of which there are two have about 80 paperbacks each. I didn’t make a count for any other box, but they range from small publishers boxes which contained 4-6 paperbacks on inbound to wine boxes, beer cases and some pretty hefty filling boxes (just ask my aching shoulders).

I mentioned the boxes on the left.  The brown box piles  average of 49″/117cm tall in the front.  That portion of the piled boxes front is about 95″/228cm deep from the back wall. I have yet to haul in the five boxes needing to be sorted. Additionally, there are 73 English language kids books that have already been separated out.

No guesses below 4000 will be accepted…..


If you are a fellow cruise person – specialty restaurant or shore side. Non cruiser? Gift certificate

Categories: Books & Tapes, packing out Tags:

What is up with all the rain?

August 3rd, 2014 2 comments

This is not Hawaii where the temperatures are always the same and it rains every morning between 0200-0400.  This is Germany. It is not supposed to have consistent weather. And it is most certainly not supposed to rain each and every evening complete with frequent enough thunderstorms to interfere with my life. There is enough going on in my life, thank you very much.  I keep thinking that after a day of attempting to deal with house and packing preparations it shouldn’t be too much to ask, a few hours of quiet and nice weather.

I could sit on the terrace after supper and just relax. Ok, with headphones on to drown out George’s high volume NPR from his iPad but still I might just like to sit for a few minutes. Or take a nice walk down the street without having to be drenched, carry an umbrella or have the light coating of dust accumulated from the day turn from light zombie grey as I stagger from sidewalk to shelter to slimy mud. Better to be thought the walking dead than lack of hygiene, never mind that one gets completely filthy when clearing out cupboards from which I am unearthing treasures not seen for years.

A dragon might well be happy here: I have this glass/crystal ship from Kuwait (tucked away in 2004); there are multiple DvDs of TV series from Battlestar Gallactica through Xena, Wonderwoman, MASH and CSI; there are CDs with and without cases; there are records – as in Vinyl dating from the 1960s and 70s. It is our horde of media and I haven’t even told you about the cupboard of movies.

The young man who spent the afternoon on Friday attempting to pack out the back hall and succeeded in boxing audio books and five shelves worth of books is going to find them completely filled again. The downside is him feeling like he has lost ground. The upside is that he isn’t going to have to empty cupboards, balance on ladders to avoid falling into the flatscreen which is strategically placed to block all access to the living storage which just might explain the lack of cleaning. But it is progress.

vinyl, movies, tv series.... on what was empty shelves

vinyl, movies, tv series…. on what was empty shelves


In the morning we “simply” need to clear off the dining room table and preposition any/all of the kitchen contents that might be getting packed as well as rounding up the rest of the shelf critters and a thousand and one hedgehogs. I am hoping it takes less than all day.

<h4>Joris = Tabaluga</h4>

I will let you judge for yourself. There is this critter/dragon that I thought might be kind of fun/cute to knit after seeing him at Schoppel. His Dutch Designer has the pattern available in Dutch and English through Ravelry. Apparently if you want him in German, you have to buy the Schoppel Knitting Magazine (which turns out to be cheaper than buying the pattern direct and includes a number of lovely other ideas). Tabaluga is a character designed by Peter Maffay who debuted in 1983. I know we still have a couple of the albums that we got when the Eldest was little.

Head and body down to the arms

Head and body down to the arms

This afternoon when I started, then finished his head I was struck with the similarities. I’m planning on finishing the body tonight, just leaving arms and legs for tomorrow as my reward knitting for being prepared for Tues.

almost finished with the body

almost finished with the body

Categories: Books & Tapes, Knitting, packing out Tags:

Cat & Elephant run from the Packers

August 1st, 2014 2 comments
Cat & Elephant

Cat & Elephant


And here it is – the first day of packing. The pre-inspection guy took lots of pictures, made an estimate of what was to be packed and agreed to have two packers start today with the specific purpose of packing all the books.   Of course, when the two showed up this morning from Wiesbaden, they had been told almost nothing. Certainly they had no idea that they would be packing out a household that was going to be close to the weight limit with more than 1/2 of it books.  Not being any dummies – they called for more boxes and started on the studio.

looks different?

looks different?

Besides the studio, they also finished the side hall.  To make things better, I took apart the pegged bookcases since they were about ready to collapse anyway.

just the books, man

just the books, man

After lunch, George’s office and the back hall (main bookcases) were on the agenda for the afternoon.  And that was the point at which we started moving around the critters living on the office shelves.

hedgehogs, fund blocks, ships blocks and mugs

hedgehogs, fund blocks, ships blocks and mugs

You see, we have things, stuffies, critters living on the various bookshelves. Perhaps they are there to guard the contents, landed there for lack of a better place or sought it out themselves to play hide and seek.

mostly Sigikin

mostly Sigikin

Some of them are new – such as these various ships’s blocks.

Independence, Mariner, Radiance

Independence, Mariner, Radiance

Some have been around for a fair number of years – like this mug that the Eldest and George bought for me when we lived in St Paul.

Elf Mug

Elf Mug

There are hedgehogs

critters no longer able to hide behind books

critters no longer able to hide behind books

& and beer steins both from Oktoberfest and some that just might have come from one or another of George’s long since died relatives.  But then I came to Cat & Elephant. They were hiding among the hedgehogs and Rosenthal mugs to avoid being packed up with the books.

After inquiring to all four offspring – Ms Marathoner acknowledged that she was probably responsible for Cat but couldn’t see that it would be safe living with a golden retriever. Maus declared it wasn’t her. College Guy said he was responsible for a handmade mug out on the terrace but he didn’t remember Elephant. The Eldest said it was College Guy and the other two agreed.

Meanwhile – the characters awarded themselves a trophy along with the right to a California move.

probably from about the same era

probably from about the same era

Categories: Books & Tapes, family, military, packing out Tags:

ninety-nine boxes of books in the attic

July 17th, 2014 Comments off

taking a deep breath and pulling down the door

99 boxes of books
take one down and
sort it all out
98 boxes of books in the attic

its like that the whole way back

boxes and boxes of books

98 boxes of books in the attic
98 boxes of books
take one down
and sort it around
97 boxes of books in the attic

and feels more like progress

staging the boxes

97 boxes of books on the terrance
97 boxes of books
take one out
and take it downtown
96 boxes of books on the terrace

boxes of books looking for new homes

boxes of books looking for new homes

Categories: Books & Tapes, packing out Tags:

What to do

July 7th, 2014 Comments off

with all the books? You saw the first piles yesterday.

Several solutions are possible


the swap shelf in Neuegasse, Heidelberg

the swap shelf in Neuegasse, Heidelberg


organize on shelves and have the packers set them for bringing along

organize on shelves and have the packers set them for bringing along


tuck into the shelves in the studio

tuck into the shelves in the studio


pile up in boxes to deal with later

pile up in boxes to deal with later

5) put in the car and take to Landstuhl Library and Kleber Library
(you don’t need a photo for this!

Categories: Books & Tapes, packing out Tags:

Making progress

July 1st, 2014 12 comments

Well, I managed to get through more shelves in the studio, both closets, the upper cupboards and three bins of yarn. Since by that time I was throughly sick of the mess, I started on the back hall.

Several years ago we put a major bookcase in the back hall. I lovingly placed some books on the shelves and filled all the gaps with various stuffed animals, musical instruments and ornamental things. The Judaica went in the glass fronted cabinet and the cookbooks in the corner section. Over the last ten years those shelves have filled. First completely, then with paperbacks doubled and tripled up on many of the shelves. The YA section overflowed into the Cookbooks. The travel books had expanded from the living room and invaded all my medical reference on the bottom shelf and dust settled happily over the whole thing.

My first pass through was pretty brutal. All the medical references older than 10 years (other than Gray’s Anatomy which never goes out of date) are leaving as are 90+% of the mysteries, most of the romances and a lot of the junk fiction. I am hanging onto many of the hardbacks (which I no longer buy) as well as the Urban Fantasy (which doesn’t contain lovingly described vampires. I on the side of not buying sparkles). I now have several hundred books on both the terrace table and on the living room ledge backing up the knitting and sewing mags.

Yes, I know that I could make something on them in Berkeley if I wanted to haul them along. But really – given a weight allowance, if I want to make money bringing zauberball would be a lot smatter for the kilo.

Categories: Books & Tapes, home Tags:


June 12th, 2014 Comments off

am I? In Germany I think. As long as I fall over my own feet too much from fatigue. It is not like I do all that well with the time zone changes in this direction. I keep quietly howling with laughter to myself when I hear all those on transatlantic crossings complain about losing 5 hours over 13 nights between Florida and Southampton.

I mean really, it is not all that much compared to – oh let us just say – the nine hours between San Francisco and Frankfurt done in one swell foop. So here I am after having been home a couple of days still staggering around with fatigue during the day and wide awake like a petulant toddler at night. All of which means that my original ambition to run errands and clean like mad just hasn’t happened.

But books – yes, I have managed to haul down 20 boxes of books from the attic and end up with 17 that are headed to swap shelves. Two of the other boxes are kids books and as such are not mine to give away and the 20th is SciFi/Fantasy which actually could be sold at various used book stores in the US if I was so inclined.

The end result is that I had no big adventures today…

Categories: Books & Tapes, home Tags:

Reading detour

February 9th, 2014 Comments off

I should have been organizing or cleaning. I could have been knitting.

I settled for getting a head start on the packing for Tues.

Some of it was easy. I have the clothes I brought back in the suitcase, most of which were clean and the rest were washed yesterday. The weather, except for the Panama Canal crossing at the end won’t be hot, more spring/fall with maybe some rain. Short and long sleeves instead of sleeveless and short sleeves. No need for true summer clothes. Couple of things for smart casual. Underwear, socks, swimsuit. When I was done I had about 2/3 of what I took to the Caribbean even with some yarn and an extra pair of long pants. Oh! the shoes were all in the duffle bag along with gear for Maus’ spring break adventure.

And then I pulled out the iPad and fell into reading. Since the first of the year I have been re-reading old series and seeing where authors I read several years ago have gone with their series.  Some of it has been standard schlocky romance (Freethy, Perry, Delinsky, Shalvis, Woods) but some has been more on the SciFi/Paranormal end (Kahler, Gilman, Owens, Mayer, Harrison, Green, Swendson).

Up next – Ben Aaronovich’s Broken Home which is part of his River’s of London series and a new JD Robb is due out on the 14th. Oh, yes – and in audio the most recent Eddie LaCross – He Drank, and Saw the Spider by Alex Bledsoe. Audio because the narrator is excellent and also because my per credit cost puts it below the kindle price….

About then it will be mystery time….

Categories: Books & Tapes Tags:

yes, hats

September 26th, 2013 Comments off

Just to let you know that I am knitting

another baby hat

another baby hat

as well as reading – starting with The Color of Magic since Amazon had a nice deal on the first five Discworld books.

Categories: Books & Tapes, Knitting Tags:


September 1st, 2013 Comments off

Yesterday I spent time trying to find Wilhelmsplatz in the Weststadt on my way to the Striktreff. Walked around and just did not find it. That area of the city has a number of winding streets and extremely limited parking so exploring on foot is the only sensible way to go.

What is even more sensible? Five minutes on Google and I found a Geocache site which listed all the free bookshelves in Germany by region. Since one of the listings actually had something useful (1 Wilhelmsplatz had already been a bust) I was able to take the grid coordinates and find where the shelf was actually located. Since it is partly sheltered by a building, it is no wonder that I didn’t see it.

The other key of course was to use the proper Google. Not everyone in the world wants to give up their umläuts (or is it umlaüts?) so that searching on buecherregal found zip. However – Bücherregal found them all.

So all those books which I had carefully added to Bookcrossing and signed out to Neugasse went to Wilmhelmsplatz instead. There was room on the shelves, they were fairly well organized and I think someone there might appreciate books just a bit newer.

In anycase – they are OUT of my house!

Categories: Books & Tapes Tags:


August 31st, 2013 Comments off

I have been watching the post – all but one of the cards which I mailed from the Med have shown up –

Spain is prompt

Spain is prompt

The one that is missing is from France – Marseille on the 19th of August. Now those cards were mailed from the post office which I found following a long and arduous (ok, not so hard) hike around town and up into the city overlooking the east side of the harbor. I bought the stamps and mailed them right there. I think all the rest have shown up in the US but I still need to check. I would have thought Germany would take less time but one never knows.

My afternoon and early evening were spent at Red. Saturday knit crowd of course and I had a fun time. Managed to pass off a couple of more books but wasn’t able to drop off at the Neugasse bookshelf as planned. It seems like there are those who are not using common sense. If a book has been sitting on your shelves for, lets say 30-40 years, what makes you think anyone else is going to want to read it?

Anyway, the shelves were seriously overloaded with oldy, moldy books and tattered magazines. I didn’t have the energy to spend time cleaning so just let it go. There are supposed to be other bookshelves around.

Categories: Books & Tapes, Knitting Tags:

and another 40 books

August 27th, 2013 Comments off

Have been logged in to Bookcrossing and will leave the house in the morning. Additionally, I have another batch of the same for Thursday.

It may sound insane to take the time, but I have actually had several books “found” out of my last batch, and someone posting a note saying they found it and thanks is more than enough to encourage me.

So this is the last of the first batch down from the attic. Unfortunately, romances don’t disappear quite as fast as the mysteries and scifi,but here is hoping that these find at least a temporary new home.

Categories: Books & Tapes Tags: