Monthly Archives: May 2015

Wolfgang and I when we first met

An Ode to My Husband

Könne-mer mal mache! – Wolfgang Michel (Let’s do it!)

In honor of his birthday, I thought I would list off some of the wonderful things that I cherish in my husband, Wolfgang.

• I love his sense of humor, the silly jokes and how he can laugh at himself. I think we laugh about half of the day. Even if it is mostly silly, it makes the day easier.

• His energy is inspring. He sings every morning while he is making breakfast. He keeps going when I am ready to fall down and sleep. He can wear out anybody I know.

• His ability to dive right in and do things has always amazed me. Just the other day, he tore apart our quad and fixed the transmission. I don’t suppose that is such a great thing till you know he knows virtually nothing about fixing a motor. He just does it. And not only that, he does it and fixes it!

• Wolfgang has done nearly all of the renovations on our house himself. After he laid the antique tiles in our hall, the professional from whom we bought the tiles said he wanted to come by and see how it went and he was impressed with what Wolfgang did. The tiles are not evenly made and you have to adjust the amount of cement that you use for each one. Everyone who visits us comments on the beauty of that floor!

• It seems to me he can play any instrument. He has a diploma in classical guitar and was good enough at it to get lessons with Segovia. He decided to learn cello and when he played on a “student” concert after only six months of lessons, noone believed that he was a beginner. He accompanies my students on their concerts and makes it possible for them to look good because he covers up their mistakes and helps them keep going. And he is my accompanist and puts up with all off my stuff so that we can make music together.

• What is very special to me is how he is willing to grow and learn personally. Some of our best conversations are about how we see ourselves and what we can learn from it.

I am very blessed to share my life with him. Best wishes on your birthday my love. I wish you many more!

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The white queen next to the green.

First Green

Shall I not have intelligence with the earth?
Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself.
– Henry David Thoreau

It is spargel season in Germany. Spargel (pronounced “sh-pahr-gel”) is a white asparagus that is actually grown underground, one of the reasons it is white and not green. It has to be dug up by hand, cut off with a special tool and the rest of the plant reburied. The skin is thicker than on green asparagus and it has to be peeled off like peeling potatoes. Spargel has a light, special taste and the Germans have hundreds of ways of preparing it – soup, salad, whatever – but the most common is just peeled, boiled and usually served with hollabdaise sauce, boiled potatoes and thinly sliced cooked or cured ham. I had never eaten spargel until I had lived here over a year and friends prepared it for me. It was weird to me eating a meal where everything was white (they didn’t serve ham) but it was delicious and I was hooked! Interestingly, Spargel is one of those things that doesn’t grow all year round. The season usually starts about middle April and ends the end of June. The start of the season is usually a media event and June 24th is usually the day they celebrate the end of Spargel season.

I like that things aren’t always available. It used to be that there were lots of things you couldn’t get all of the time, only the special times when they were ripe: Blueberries in June, peaches and corn on the cob in August, pumpkins in the fall. Nowadays you can get almost anything almost all of the time. Apparently kiwis and such grow somewhere on the planet all year round. I remember not being able to find cranberries in Germany for Christmas baking. I had to order them online. Now they are in every store. Apparently the transportation methods – deep freezing and the like – have made it all possible to have fruits and vegetable from all over the world.

Somehow that makes life a little less interesting. Well, not really that but it dulls us to some of the joys of life. When I can eat peaches all year round – even if they don’t taste so much anymore like peaches – I will never know what it is like to bite into a full ripe fresh peach on a hot summer day, having the juice drizzle down my chin. Oh well.

And most vegetables and some fruit have been so hybridized that they don’t resemble or taste like they used to be. In an attempt to make fresh produce survive the long transport routes that they now have to go on, they have sacrificed taste and texture. Romaine lettuce used to be light and easy to tear. Now I need a really sharp knife. And has anyone tried to cut a tomato these days? Impossible.

At any rate, we will enjoy our 3.5 lbs of spargel we will eat this year (that is apparently the average intake of spargel by every German). And blueberries in my breakfast every morning are also nice. I guess I have thought of being more mindful to only eat what is in season. I have even thought of only eating what is available here in the area. But then I see those mangos and can almost taste that peppery flavor and somehow they end up on my grocery cart. Well, there is always next time!

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