TToT: Things I Remember

Sharing more photos of the Glockenspiel in Marienplatz, Munich, Germany.  Memories of this place will always be among my favorites.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I have been thinking about the concept of memory this week.  My brother and sister-in-law are planning a trip to the Grand Canyon soon and called to get pointers from us about what we saw there a few summers back. Unfortunately, mere hours before we went,  a large roll of school bulletin board paper fell on my foot badly breaking my big toe.  As a result I saw the Grand Canyon through the fog of pain medication.  It wasn’t until the conversation with my brother and his wife that I realized I really have no memory of the Canyon itself.  I am sure it is very pretty, but I couldn’t swear to it. I could say with certainty that there is a bench up top that provides a great place for a mother and daughter to talk while others hike.  There is a mini-bus that takes you to different spots near the edge to give you the best views, but somehow the image of the mini-bus is much clearer in my mind than the views we must have enjoyed.  Memory is a funny thing.


I read the book The $64 Tomato this week written by one of my favorite authors, William Alexander.  In the closing Alexander writes, “Things I remember: Witnessing childbirth. Finding myself standing absolutely alone before Da Vinci’s Last Supper.  And planting potatoes on a perfect spring morning.”


And so “in memory” of things I have already forgotten, and celebration of things I can still picture clearly, here is my own (ten) Things I remember:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I remember spilling an entire bottle of orange soda–back in the days when the bottles were thin, and tall, and glass– down the front of my new pristine white turtle neck.  I remember crying as my mom slipped it over my head and into sudsy water that made the orange go away.

I remember Mom, my brothers, and I gathered at the front screen door watching a rare downpour in our dry prairie town.  The creek across the street, filled to overflowing, rushed through the City Park and across town.


I remember the first time my heart was broken and the boy who did the breaking.

I remember snow wet and cold on my cheeks as I flew downhill on an old wooden sled.

I remember moving back to my hometown for a semester while my soon-to-be husband finished college.  I remember sitting at the dining room table with my dad, him telling me it means so much to your mom to have these months with you before you get married.

I remember marrying that young man and being so choked with emotion I couldn’t say my vows.


I remember wanting a baby for so long and finally holding a test in my hand that said she was on the way.  I remember the shear panic of feeling I could never be the mother she deserved.

I remember seeing her face on a sonogram one week and looking down into that same face for real the next week, and being numb as the reality set in that this small creature really was mine. I remember what it is like to feel the blossom of love unfold and grown inside your heart instantaneously.

I remember nursing another baby and being startled by the big brown eyes instead of green gazing back at me.  I remember those same brown eyes sitting by my side on a bench atop the Grand Canyon so I wouldn’t be alone.

They say you can tell a lot about the qualities of a man by the way he treats his mother.  I remember a son who has been by my side when I have experienced loss and has gathered me in his arms and shown me comfort.



All of these things I remember, and I am thankful.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Glockenspiel, I Love You


Write about a crush you had…


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALast Christmas my son took us to Munich saying that we just had to see the Marienplatz with its Christmas market and beautiful Rathaus.  As we approached the area which is the center of the old city, the tower of the Rathaus caught my eye as he knew it would.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese photos were taken in those moments just before I fell in love.  The shed-like structures temporarily housed wares for the Christmas market. The Rathaus pulled me onward with its tall graceful tower.  I was beginning to feel the charm.

We wove our way deeper into the holiday market.  As we neared the center courtyard of the Marienplatz, I found myself stealing meaningful looks at the Rathaus.  All at once I saw the darker open area in the tower about the height of the roof line.  I couldn’t help but stare.  This is when my son knew the moment was right…  Glockenspiel, meet Mutti.  Mutti, Glockenspiel.


It was love at first sight.  I was completely smitten with the mechanical wonder of this oversized music box. Built in 1908, life size pieces of art still dance and joust daily in scenes that tell the history of the land.  The Bavarian knight rides off in victory on the upper level while coopers optimistically dance a defiant jig below to show that there remained hope even in the face of the plague.


This guy has it all—music, art, history and engineering–everything a nerdy girl like me could want.


And so it was that my traveling companions would lose sight of me long about five p.m. each day we were in Munich.  Whether in line at the Christmas market or finishing a bite to eat at a restaurant, off I would shoot in a heartbeat.  I’d head out to the Marienplatz camera in hand, jockeying for the best view of the mechanical show. I would stand transfixed on the cobblestone plaza not hearing a word anyone said to me while the figures danced and spun overhead.  Each time I saw the Glockenspiel in action was as exciting as the very first time.


Alas, I wasn’t meant to stay in Munich long term.  The time arrived for me to say goodbye to this architectural beauty and its amazing musical feature.  I walked away, but not without more than a few backwards glances.


More than a year has passed since I first heard the bells and watched the coopers turn in unison.  Still, my feelings remain just as strong.  I will be back again someday, Glockenspiel.  You can count on that.


TToT: Garden Gate

Last weekend my daughter, Le Professeur, planned to host an open house at her new condo in Durham, North Carolina.  Instead, she was housebound by ice and snow all weekend.  Sending good thoughts for a warming trend her way with these shots taken last summer at the garden on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


I have been so thankful for light this week.  The days feel longer and spring feels closer.  I gathered potting soil, peat pots, seeds, and all my supplies.  Any day now  I will get some seedlings going.


I finally parted ways with my Odyssey van after eleven years and 185,000 miles.  Having a new car is fun, though it requires greater computer skills than I currently possess.  Still, I was sad to part with the old van.  I am thankful it was so reliable–it kept us safe, it delayed us from adding to a landfill by running year after year, it kept us from having car payments for a nice long time.


A wonderful counselor at one of our high schools died unexpectedly. So, I transported some of my former students to the funeral.  It was a joy to spend time with these kids, and to witness how they have grown up.  A reminder once again of how lucky I am to have a job that allows me to walk along-side so many terrific young people.  A career in education may not make a person rich monetarily, but the perks are fantastic.



What I Miss Most


(This is the home of my husband’s grandparents.  The photo rests on a quilt made my Grandma Olivia the lady of the house. )

I don’t have many photos of my childhood home or the people and rambunctious activity that filled it.  Still, I can picture that place as if I had been there only yesterday.  It was a two bedroom home–three if you count the unfinished basement occupied by all of the boys.  It was far too small for the hordes of people who lived there.  Under-insulated and heated only by two glorified space heaters, it was a meat locker in the winter.  Without air conditioning, we had ample heat mid-summer though.  On the face of it, my home should have been a miserable place to live.  It was not.

My dad was a short, stocky man of few words with a quick and wicked sense of humor.  His name was Elwyn– Ellie to my mom, but Woody to the rest of the world.  Few people really knew him, introverted as he was.  He loved to read everything from Popular Mechanics to the poetry of such extremes as Ogden Nash and Robert Frost.  He worked twelve hour days.  When his long shift was done, he came straight home to all of us.  I remember him coming through the back door at night. I would run to him and climb up on the steel toes of his size 13 EEE Wolverine work shoes, and tired as he must have been he would dance me around the kitchen.

He called my mother Bunny.  Her real name was Susie, though she was known to our teenaged friends simply as Suz.  My mom was as funny as my dad; I think that is one thing that kept their marriage strong.  She was old school,  waiting on him hand and foot when he was home.  My mom had quirky mannerisms and butchered metaphors mercilessly.  In turn, we teased her without mercy.  She never took herself too seriously to be able to laugh along with us.

The house where I grew up was loud. Stories of outrageous antics pulled by someone who lived there were recounted time and again.  It was filled with laughter, and it was filled to the rafters with love.  There are many things I miss about living in the home of my parents, but none of those things compare with how much I miss dad and mom themselves.


Workshop prompt: What do you miss most about living in your parents’ home.

52 Loaves: Mini-Cinnamon Rolls

Mama Kat Prompt:  share a favorite recipe you have been loving.


not by bread alone

I have already confessed to failing in my undertaking of baking fifty-two loaves of bread during the last calendar year–a challenge inspired by William Alexander’s book 52 Loaves and my own mother’s love of bread.  I intended to attempt a wide variety of breads, rolls, and bread-like baked items to share.  Part of my failure was due to the time and energy required by the project (which is to say my own personal shortfall in those areas); but a large part was due to my inability to move past my favorite cinnamon breads and rolls.  I kind of got stuck in a routine of remaking two particular recipes over and over.

There is the Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon bread.  Marlboro Man will never leave her so long as there is the promise of a loaf of this bread on the counter, I can tell you that.

Plus, I rediscovered these mini-cinnamon rolls from the November/December 1996 issue of Country Home.  These rolls are the reason a yellowed copy of this magazine still exists inside my cabinet.  The cinnamon and sugar sort of crystalize into some incredible new substance during baking.  Good stuff!


4 to 4 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 pkg. dry yeast

1 cup milk

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter

1/2 tsp. salt

2 eggs

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour and the yeast, set aside.  In a saucepan heat and stir milk, sugar, butter and salt until warm (120 to 130 degrees).  Butter will be partially melted. Add to flour mixture.  Add eggs and beat on low for thirty seconds.  Scrape bowl and beat on high for 3 minutes, stirring in as much remaining flour as you can.

Knead on a floured surface adding enough flour to make a soft, elastic dough.  Place dough in a greased bowl, turning it once.  Cover with a clean cloth and let rise in a warm spot for an hour.

Punch dough, turn it out onto a floured surface.  Divide dough in half and let it rest for 10 minutes. Divide each half in half again and roll each portion into a 12×6 inch rectangle.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Roll up each rectangle beginning with one of the long sides.  Pinch seams to seal and then cut into 1 inch pieces.  Line rolls up in greased pan and allow to rise for  half an hour.

Bake rolls at 375 for 12 minutes.  Cool and ice with a powdered sugar icing.  Makes 48 mini rolls.