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Archive for August, 2009

Two Sisters

Two Sisters

Here I am using Ingmar’s pictures again because after very carefully deleting all the pictures on my camera before I left, I forgot to take it with me! Oh my!

I spent last week in Bellefonte with Emily, Ingmar, Sofia Maus and Clara Maus. Actually Clara is a little bigger than this picture because she is seven weeks old already. But poor sweet baby, she seems very colicky and unhappy a lot of the time. Perhaps I should say poor Em, Ingmar and Mausi because she does cry a lot and sleep deprivation is the order of the day. But when she is not crying, she is such a darling. She has enchanting smiles and coos back when you talk to her and looks straight in your eyes and pays attention to things around her. It seems like a promise of things to come!

And Sofia is a joy! She can be oh-so-cuddly and she loves to play with puzzles and doll house people and towers of paper blocks! She rides the wooden horse from her grandparents in Germany and begins to be very clear in what she would like to do or have, and what not! She loves to go outside and play with water, pouring it from one container to another. And she loves to draw – on her easel, on the sidewalk by the back porch, and not so much on the furniture as last time I was here!

 

It’s Sunday and I leave for Germany on Wednesday and find this difficult to believe. Hard to wrap my mind around it, but I am beginning getting things together and making lists. I WILL NOT forget my camera this time! God willing!

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Pickles are on my mind

Pickles from the Discover Lebanon website

Pickles from the Discover Lebanon website

This picture of pickles from the lovely Discover Lebanon website looked somewhat like the pickles I am thinking about these days, although they didn’t have the same recipe there. I’m thinking (a little late) about delicious crunchy half-sour Hungarian kovasos uborka I haven’t made in years! I can almost taste them!

They are like the pickles we find in the Deli section of our grocery stores, and made with milk acid fermentation like most ethnic pickles, like Korean kim chee or sauerkraut……..No vinegar is added. These pickles are cured in a salt brine. Take a a bunch of clean home-grown cucumbers of pickling size and on one end make an east west slice almost through and on the other end a north south cut almost all the way through, so each pickle stays together but the brine can penetrate better. Take a canning jar and fill it with some water and about six generous tablespoons of salt. Put a bit of garlic or dill in the bottom and some mustard seed if the spirit moves you. Fill the jar with the cut cumcumbers on end and add water to come close to the top of the jar. Push a good slice of real rye bread into the brine over the cucumbers and let this cure for five or six days………..But I don’t put them outside since the racoon broke all my jars more than 30 years ago! When they are ready, you need to eat them up in a week or so, but this is no problem for me.

More accomplished Hungarian cooks have a way to turn this into vizes uborka, I think, and then they last longer, but I don’t know how they work their magic. But for some reason, these pickles are calling to me just now. The wonderful simple things of life and of summer which seems rushing by.

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Heidenheim
Heidenheim

Ravensburg where Joshi and Christa liveI begin to feel very excited about this trip to Europe for the wedding of my nephew Christof and his wife Sabrina! I am going with my daughter Alice, her husband Mike and grandson Nathan who is going to be one of the “Blumenkinder” in the wedding in a dark three piece suit, white shirt and pink tie. I hope to post pictures of this in the future.

The picture above  is Heidenheim where Christof and Sabrina live and the one below is of Ravensburg where his parents, my brother and sister-in-law, Joshi and Christa, live. I haven’t set foot on European soil since the last trip Paul and I made together in the fall of 2005. That was a lovely two months in Hungary (mostly Budapest, my favorite city in the world) and Germany with a few days visiting Paul’s cousin Mariette in Kufstein, Austria. Since many relatives from Hungary and other places in Germany (Haus Gries where my brother-in-law Feri {Pater Franz} founded a Jesuit retreat house where he still gives retreats) are coming to the wedding, it will be like a small family reunion which I am looking forward to very much.  We will be in Heidenheim for a few days before the wedding and Ravensburg afterwards. I remember my first times in Germany when Paul and I lived there all 1973 and more than half of ’74. He took a job with the technical university in Stuttgart so that we could travel in Europe and especially so he could show me Hungary and his childhood village, Gyál. It was such a magical time, an adventure that thrilled my heart. My parents didn’t travel too much when I was growing up and this opportunity seemed wonderful. We visited so many people and places that were special to Paul, and just living in Germany was mind-expanding for me. But just at this minute I am remembering the first journey we made across Germany and Austria by car. I really had never seen pictures of those countries, probably because I was born just at the end of WWII. I had no idea what it would all look like and I found it so beautiful and enchanting, many buildings were a style I had seen only as illustrations in fairytale books. We also went on a week skiing trip in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, with Joshi, one of Paul’s brothers who was a Jesuit at the time and involved in Youth Work in Munich.
Mountains! I had never seen mountains before that week, and have loved them ever since. What a blessing for all my life it was to have this time in my twenties to experience so much with Paul, my best friend and the love of my life! I really look forward to this trip and I hope to take some good pictures that I can post here on my return.

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Clara three weeks oldC You’re a cutie full of charms”………..Here I am borrowing another picture from my son-in-law Ingmar to show how amazingly my newest grandaughter Clara has grown in her less than a month on earth!

Life is moving along at a fast clip these days. In less than a month from now, Alice, Mike, Nathan and I will be in Germany. It has been a quickly moving summer and far more cool than usual.  I love it!  It has also been a summer of minor frustration as the groundhog that comes up on the deck to eat the leaves off my patio tomato and also indulge his appetite for red dahlias and pink petunias has now managed to break (into millions of pieces beyond the hope of repair) the St. Francis statue that I bought last year to replace the one from my mother’s garden which had finally disintegrated after probably a good 40 years in the family. Andy suggested something cast from iron next time………..

Progress on my many projects goes very very slowly, but I realize time is what I have too much of these days. I am planning to live in the moment and find the good in each second that I am lucky enough to be alive in a world full of beauty.

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