EXPATS AGAIN! Experiencing other cultures while enriching our global view.



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Munich, Germany
I am married to the love of my life and am finally able to shower him with all of the attention he deserves. I am now retired and living the life here in Europe. I am an American, he is an Australian, and this is our second overseas address. The first was Shanghai, China and now Munich, Germany. Come along and live the life with us as we continue our adventure of discovering all Europe has to offer.

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Monday, October 31, 2011


Before 1917, in the U.S., you could send a postcard for only 1¢.  After 1918, the price went up to 2¢, because of World War I. These postcards then became called "Penny Postcards."

The one above are of California, but each state, in fact each county in the U.S. is represented by a number of these historic "Penny Postcards."

This one of Buds Barbeque, Hilliard, is from Nassau County in Florida.

And from my hometown of Toledo, Ohio:

Yes, believe it or not, we DO have a yacht club and yes, it does have a marina today with proper yachts that sail in Lake Erie, along with other water craft.

I have spent the better part of the morning (shame on me) perusing this website:

Penny Postcards

If you would like to see how your hometown (or any town/city in the U.S.) was pictured and posted for a penny, click on the link above to see the website.  These postcards are not for sale, but they do take scans from collectors to add to their library if you are a collector or just happen to have a few of these beauties in your possession.

I warn you, it's a time guzzler but well worth the look!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


I would like to apologize for the quality of these photos.  I didn't take my trusty Canon to the  Schleißheim Palace so I was at the mercy of my iPhone.  I thought it would work for me, but clearly the photos could have been much better.

The Palace started with a country house in 1598 and hermitage founded by William V close to Dauchau Palace.  His son extended the buildings between 1617 and  1623.  After heavy destruction during WWII, it was reconstructed.

A baroque New Palace was built in 1701-1704 as a new residence.  However, Bavaria was lost in the years of the War of Spanish Succession and the construction was interrupted.

Important works of art owned by the Bavarian State Picture Collections is exhibited in several rooms.  Famous Flemish Baroque painters such as Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck are here as well as the Italian artists Guido Reni, Alessandro Turchi and Carlo Dolci, but the Germans and Spanish painters also are represented.

The New Palace's East Side overlooks a spectacular park with a rare preserved baroque garden.  

The Schlrißheim Palace has been used as a location for several motion pictures.  The 1951 film, Decision Before Dawn,  1957 "Paths of Glory", and in 1961 "Last Year at Marienbad."

After the tour of the Palace we gathered for a lovely Bavarian Lunch at the Palace grounds.  It was a great day in Munich.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


1. What gives you goosebumps?
Misjudging a step on the escalator,  my husband's hand touching the skin on my lower back, hitting the brakes to miss a collision, swallowing pills that stick in my throat, an unusual noise in the middle of the night, an unexpected hug from a sweet grandchild, my son's telling me how much I have influenced them, John Mayer's, "Come Back to Bed," and the perfect Chardonnay.

2. Halloween-are you a lover or a hater? Okay, that sounds harsh...Halloween-yay or nay?
Nay all of the way.

3. Can you respect someone you do not trust, and can you trust someone you do not respect?

Absolutely not.  Neither can I love someone I don't respect--let alone trust them.  Been there, tried that.  It doesn't work! .

4. Apples or oranges? Yes, you have to choose.

Oranges, mandarins, clementines, tangerines, Minneola Tangelos, etc.  Yum!

5. What is something you wish was in your town? (shop, restaurant, attraction, etc)
A good bagel shop.

6. What non-food item is in your refrigerator or freezer?
Sorry, all food.  European refrigerator space is too precious to waste on anything but!

7. Are you at all superstitious?
No, but I do believe things happen for a reason and  we cannot always chalk it up to coincidence. (This drives my husband crazy, but I find meaning where he will only see chance.)

  But I do not believe in black cats, ladders,  or a Friday the 13th kind of superstition. 

 I do, however, think there are signs and we need to be perceptive enough to understand them--premonitions of things to come.  I have many circumstances in my life that I have documented that arouse thoughts that something good/bad will happen in the future and whoa.....then it does.  

I'm not psychic, rather, I think some people are just attuned to their surroundings while others are not.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I have taught about 8 gals the game of Chinese Mahjong and we meet every Wednesday afternoon to play.  We have an open chair policy and published an invitation in the "Munich International Women's Club Newsletter" for next month. Four can play a game at one table and we now have two tables of players.  I hope we can accommodate everyone.  It is so fun watching the girls learn the game and the strategy.  I'm looking forward to an active Mahjong group like we had in Shanghai with as many women who wish to play and a large enough venue.  Wish us luck!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


1. How do you typically react in a sudden, extreme, pressure-filled crisis? Would we want you nearby in an emergency?

No, I don't think I qualify as the best candidate in an emergency.  I panic, quite honestly, and then I go into shock mode.  Not the best in a bad situation.

2. Caramel apple-caramel sundae-caramel corn-caramel macchiato...of the four, which carmel treat would you choose?

Caramel sundae, yum!

3. Is there such a thing as destiny? Explain.
Biblically, yes.  Our Lord knows our future--it is a part of His plan.  I do believe in predestination.

4. What's your favorite piece of furniture? I'm referring to something currently in your possession as opposed to something on your wish list.

The lamp you see in the photo is one of a pair of floor lamps.  The other one is on the opposite side of the cabinet.  When we turn on the lights it gives the room a soft glow.  I would say they are one of my favorite pieces.  I purchased them in Shanghai when we lived there and they remind me of that time in our lives.

5. Wednesday night marks the start of the 2011 Baseball World Series. Did you know? Do you care? Will you be watching? Ever been to a professional baseball game? If you're not an American do you find the title 'World Series' annoying or amusing?

Sorry, baseball is not something I follow.

6. A sound that takes me back to my childhood is____________.
An ice cream truck.  Instantly, I'm a kid again.  (I'm beginning to see a pattern here.)

7. On average, once you've linked your hodgepodge post to mine how many other participant blogs do you visit? Do you ever come back to the Hodgepodge later in the day or even the day after to read posts?

I really do make an effort to visit each and every one.  It is my goal to know each blogger.  I am finding it much more interesting when I know a person's personality and circumstances in their life.  It makes their blog a personal experience for me.  I am retired, so I have the time to do this.  Also, I figure that if a person takes the time to participate in this, the least I can do is appreciate the effort they took to do so.  Guess that's the English teacher in me coming out.  I really do appreciate it.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Tomorrow I am teaching a group of ladies here in Munich how to play mahjong.  There will be eight women, enough for two tables.  Four of these women have never played before and I am hoping that they enjoy the game enough to want to continue playing with us.  We play weekly and it is a great game to play while having fun with your friends while complex enough to be challenging.  We have a great group of gals and a good competitive spirit.  I'm hoping all goes well tomorrow as it is a difficult game to learn at first, but then it becomes addictive!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


This is our little Miss Nee Nee, our 6th grandchild, photographed by me when she was four years old.  She has just turned 7.  It is one of the few closeups I have of her and her lovely eyes.  This gal will never have to wear eye makeup as nature gave her all that she needs.

I am told by her parents that she is a burgeoning soccer player.  This makes perfect sense to me because I have never known her to w-a-l-k anywhere, she is a natural born runner and loves to make haste wherever she goes.

Here she is in action!  Our little Nee Nee with the wind beneath her feet (at age 6).  It's a real job slowing her down.  After all, she has things to do and people to see, you know.

She's a climber too!  Actually, she is fearless and I would be two if I had a twin brother and another brother 11 months older like she does.  The boys are twice her size, but that doesn't stop her from holding her own.  She may be tiny, but she is scrappy and tough. Both boys have given up on trying to coerce her to do anything, physically.  She spins, she tumbles, and she weaves herself away from their grasp.  She stands her ground and will try any way she can to get her way, including batting those lovely eyelashes.  (Hey, a girl has to use all of her gifts  sometimes!)  I've never seen such determination and competitive spirit in one so young.  She wants nothing less than being the first at whatever she does.  Nothing will keep her from reaching her destiny-- if she has anything to do with it.

But as rough and tumble as she is, she still likes to be the only little princess in the family.  And that is a good thing too.  I know she has captured my son's heart. He never had a sister and this little girl has got him wrapped around her little finger.  Daddy's little girl all of the way.

Here she is last Halloween in her costume in the classroom offering her father a Halloween treat.

This picture says it all.


macrumors newbie

Join Date: Oct 2011
Divorcing wife. Thanks iPhone 4s and Find My Friends

I got my wife a new 4s and loaded up find my friends without her knowing. She told me she was at her friends house in the east village. I've had suspicions about her meeting this guy who live uptown. Lo and behold, Find my Friends has her right there.

I just texted her asking where she was and the dumb b!otch said she was on 10th Street!! Thank you Apple, thank you App Store, thank you all. These beautiful treasure trove of screen shots going to play well when I meet her a$$ at the lawyer's office in a few weeks.

thankfully, she's the rich one.

Whoa!!  The above post was posted to "MacRumors."  

I have an old Apple 3-G and I am very happy with it, except I would like a camera upgrade, but that is no reason to buy the new 4s.  I don't know if the app "Find My Friends" can be put on any phone, but this poor guy uploaded it to his wife's new iPhone that he bought her and then used it only to find her in a lie.


Some people have commented that this may be a fake post, but it easily could be the truth in many people's lives if they use this app.

Technology sure has opened the floodgates. It boggles the mind to think of how something like this innocuous app can be used for stealth.  I can see it used by prosecutors in the courtroom.  "Your honor, we have evidence from the accused's iPhone app that he was at the location of the crime at the very time the crime was being committed."  

It gives me chills....

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Leaving Italy and driving north to Germany requires driving through the Dolomite mountains.  In summer, this is usually a rather safe and scenic drive with some perilous twists and turns, but overall very enjoyable.  In autumn, it's anyone's guess what the weather will be like in higher elevations.  Good road travelers can get the early weather forecast and plan accordingly.  But as we were due back from our week's vacation, we had to deal with whatever Mother Nature gave us, and she was in a foul mood on our return.  Look carefully at the left of the picture above.  That is not a large cloud.  That, dear readers, is a mountain covered in SNOW!  I know, right?  Beautiful green grape vineyards in the foreground, and the Arctic in the background.  

The more we drove, the more evidence there was that we had left the land of sunshine and sandy beaches in Sardinia and were headed towards the snowy mountain caps of Innsbruck, Austria and were were just barely four hours into our drive home!

A few miles up the road and the vineyards disappeared into mountains covered with evergreens.  Evergreens, covered in snow!

I am talking about LOTSA snow!   Check out the tire on the back to the SUV and look on his roof top!  This is some serious snowfall for the end of September.

We clearly weren't prepared for this.  I was still in my capris, tank top, and sandals from having breakfast poolside in Sardinia.  How was I to know I would need a parka and boots by afternoon?

So long sunny vineyards, winding brooks, and olive trees.  Hello winter?

I am so happy that we didn't relocate to the mountainsides of Austria.  Imagine having to see this outside your door and look into the valley and see people in shorts throwing a frisbee!

Unfortunately, the snow fell harder the closer we got to Innsbruck and as the sun was setting, it was turning into a white knuckle drive for my husband (I refuse to drive through the mountains.  Fly over them,ok, but driving through them is not  going to happen.)  As you can see, things are getting less visible by the moment.

This shot shows you that we are not just in a snow storm, but above the clouds that are making our drive more frightening each second.  This photo reminds me of many I have taken from an airplane, it's that high up!

There is no choice but to push on and pray that the closer we get to the German border, the clearer the weather will become.  So on we go, leaving Innsbruck and heading for München, weather be damned!  Rally the troops and forward ho!

This is a look back out of the rear view mirror on our descent from the last tall mountain.  So long snow, fog, clouds, and big mountain tops.  We are on our way home and all of the scary driving is behind us.

And to think that we had left this just hours before...Next time, I will bring along my mittens and my muck lucks.


You gals are good!  About yesterday's post, Choice B is the real deal, but I agree with G in Berlin.  It matters in the least.  We opted for the Italian handbag in cream because my mother-in-law is Australian and they are heading into their summer season.  I know she will love it and we loved the savings.  It isn't considered a knock off, but I couldn't believe the similarities.  Thanks for playing.  Just shows you don't need to spend the BIG bucks to get a nice handbag, IMHO.

Friday, October 14, 2011


                                                        CHOICE A

                                                         CHOICE B

While in Italy on vacation, I did a bit of Christmas shopping and purchased a handbag for my mother-in-law.  One is a real Salvatore Ferragamo which retails for €1050.00  ($1,441.00).  The other is from an Italian designer at one-quarter of the price.  Can you guess the Ferragamo?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I am thrilled about being back home and being able to participate in Joyce's Wednesday's Hodgepodge.  I so enjoy responding to her intriguing questions, reading the responses of fellow participants and finding that we have so much in common.  What I like the best is being able to follow the other bloggers who I am beginning to know.  Please join in the fun and click on the badge above to access this week's Hodgepodge.  I guarantee you will enjoy it!

1. Have you ever been 'asked' to report for jury duty? Were you chosen to serve? If not, were you happy or disappointed?

I was summoned to jury duty and was informed it was a capital offense, a double homicide where two men were stuffed into a trunk of a car and it was set ablaze.  It was over a drug deal gone bad.  At the time, I was the drug coordinator for the high school I taught at.  The prosecutor really wanted me, but the defense team had me tossed off.  Good thing too because before I was tossed off I had to go into the judges chambers and answer a question in front of the defendant.  The question was, "Do you believe in capital punishment?"  I never anticipated the question and having to answer while the accused looked me straight in the eye was unnerving.  I kept thinking, "What if he gets off and comes looking for me if I said I could pull the switch?"  I know, too many Hollywood movies, but I was scared out of my wits.  Nevertheless, I answered as honestly as I could.  I was not happy or disappointed.  I was relieved not to have to decide this man's fate.  Although I think jury duty is our civic duty, it is also something that takes you far away from your comfort zone and I do not relish ever being in a position where I determine whether a person lives or dies.  To me, that is God's decision.  Not mine.

2. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being very), how mechanically inclined are you? Give an example to back up your answer.
I am more mechanically inclined than I would admit to, surely.  When push comes to shove and I have to do something mechanical, I seem to find a way.  I will Google the procedure, study it, ask questions, and then tackle it.  I surprise myself time and again with my ability.  I guess I underestimate my competence in things mechanical.

3. Beets-cabbage-cauliflower-butternut squash....of the four, which is your favorite fall vegetable?

Butternut squash.

4. What do you recommend to overcome self-pity?

I have found that extending myself to help others, less fortunate, takes away all of my self centeredness.  There is no time to wallow in the mud when you are too busy helping others.  An added bonus is that you begin to feel good about yourself and what you can do to make others feel better. A win/win situation.

5. Do you enjoy classical music?

Yes, I do, although I am fairly ignorant about it.  Recently I have put a folder of classical music on my ipod.  I have no idea what is good or not so good, so I just chose by listening to it on i-tunes and then downloading it.  I like to listen to it when I walk or when I am sunbathing.  I find it very relaxing.  I also love symphonies and fortunately we have a very good one here in Germany and many outstanding orchestras throughout Europe.

6. October is National Book Month...what's on your reading list this month?

I am currently finishing The Lotus Eaters, by Tatiana Soli, and loving it.  I need to finish it next week for my book club.  Then I will begin, The Wedding Officer, by Anthony Capella, for December and A Pale View From the Hill, by Kazue Ishigure, for January.

7. What is your idea of 'cute'?
Oh, boy.  As a former high school English teacher, I would chastise my students for overusing this word.  Instead, I asked them to be more specific.  What was it that they found "cute" and to elaborate on this quality.  So, heeding my own advice, I would say that my idea of "cute" would be anything I could pet (like a dog or cat) or pinch (like a baby's cheeks or my husband's dimples).  Other than these examples, I would have to use better adjectives like "charming,"  "dainty," or "delightful."

8. Insert your own random thought here.
This evening we listened to CNN and learned about the National Security Forces, the FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, and police force foiling the assassination plot, paid for by the country of Iran, intended to kill the ambassador of Saudi Arabia on American soil.  It was to happen in a restaurant that would have had members of congress in attendance and would have likely killed and injured a large amount of people.  Our government is holding Iran responsible. 

 I say, "Job well done, America!"  How fortunate are we to have a vigilant security force!  We have an awesome track record so far of keeping danger far from us.  Thank you, United States of America, once again!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


While I love Venice and all things Italian, I could never bring myself to play with these birds (pidgins?).  Call me paranoid, but I lived in Shanghai, China during the SARS epidemic and the fear of avian flu is just to strong to deny.  Brave souls seem to throw all caution to the wind to have their moment in the sun with our feathered friends.  Me?  I just love to photograph them!

Ewww!  Just what are they thinking?  And it isn't just the few and far between that love to cavort with these avian creatures.  At any given time in the Piazza St. Marco you can see dozens of people pretending they are human perches.  Freaks me out.

The last time I was in Venice was two years ago.  I took my mother-in-law from Australia and we spent a few days sightseeing before we met my husband flying in from Portugal.  The next day we left for a long anticipated Greek Island Cruise (highly recommend this one!).  I didn't do the gondola ride because, well....I was with my mother-in-law and as much as I like her, in my mind, gondola rides are supposed to be romantic. Nuff said.

 Eleven years ago I went with my son, then 19.  I didn't ride with him for the same reason.  So, this time I was with my husband and was looking forward to the ultimate romantic gondola ride in Venice....until I heard the price!  Eighty euros for a half hour.  If you're not up on your Euro/Dollar conversion, that is $109.00 per half hour.  Sorry Giovanni, but I would rather soak that amount into a Louis Vuitton or, in my case, 60 ml of "Eau de Soir," by Sisley of Paris.  Which I did the very next day.  Hey, a gondola ride for one-half hour versus a lasting and elegant scent?  No contest, right?  

Next on my agenda was purchasing a Murano glass piece for my living room coffee table which is quite large.

We purchased this coffee table in Jakarta, Indonesia and it is made of coral stone. It is rather large at approximately 4 ft by 4 ft.   It has survived countless moves and five different countries (Malaysia, Australia, China, United States, Germany).  We love it, although it is extremely heavy to move and coral stone can chip.  So far, we have been fortunate to avoid any chips.  Since our move from east Munich to south Munich last April, I have changed our decor from red and gold to navy, cream, and shades of teal and violet.  

Finding a decorative piece that will fit nicely onto a 4 ft by 4 ft coffee table in the right shade of blue is not an easy task. (No, I did not choose the piece I photographed above.  It is a Merano sculpture on the island of Merano in Venice.)  Although I did my best scouring both Venice and the island of Murano, I came up empty handed.

This was the intended color:

This was the intended shape  (or something similar) but it needed to be very large:

So far, no luck.  But I am online searching Murano, E-bay, or wherever I can to find the piece I want.  But there was no such animal in Venice or Murano and believe me, I know because I dragged my poor husband into every shop there was to look.  The poor soul.  

In spite of my shopping disaster and abhorrence for any setting that reminds me of Hitchcock's, "The Birds," I have to say that our visit was everything that we had imagined.

From astonishing architecture to blinding natural beauty, we found Venice to be all that we wanted it to be and more.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Two weeks ago we were basking in the sunshine in Sardinia (see previous post, 9/27/2011) and now we have just completed a week in Padua/Venice, Italy.  How we were fortunate enough to have the weather gods looking down on us, I have no idea, but we had a solid week in the low 80's and significant sunshine.  (Note my tan above, whoo hoo!).  At first, we were unhappy about the prospect of breaking up our holiday into two separate weeks, but we couldn't have asked for better weather as a result.

A post about Venice, Italy would hardly be worth it's salt without the indigenous gondola and gondoliers.  In the photo above, the two gondoliers are hoping a tourist will engage him to take them through the sunlit waterways.  At approximately € 80,00 for a half hour's ride, the gondolas primarily sit empty while tourists choose to walk the narrow lanes and streets.  Haven't they heard about the recession?

While I am out looking for photos, many artists are painting al fresco capturing the last of the sun's rays in an array of hues in oils.  Paintbrush in hand, this man is working on the shadows on the cement.

During my stroll through Venice I noticed that not all gondolas are the same.  Some look a bit worse for the wear and tear and others have stylish accoutrements such as the one in the photo above.  I couldn't help but overhear a tourist comment on this particular gondola by calling it"Princely."  What an appropriate adjective to describe this means of transportation.

We chose to sit near the Rialto Bridge and have lunch at a nearby restaurant.  They advertised homemade lasagna and it was truly delicious.  It wasn't anywhere near this large of a portion.  I think my resizing has given you the wrong impression.  It looks absolutely mammoth in this photo.

People walking up and down Venice's charming canals forget that this is a living city where people go to work, the supermarket and the cleaners.  The photo above was taken as a man leaned out of his window to water his window boxes.

Venice has to be one of the world's most romantic cities.  I have been there twice before.  Once with my 19 year old son in 1995 and once with my 78 year old mother-in-law.  Both times I wished to return for a romantic look at Venice and this was the perfect time to do it.  My husband had never seen Venice and was struck by it's beauty and charm.  Together we spent nearly 9 hours on one day and another 4 hours the following day.  We did a bit of shopping (I'll save this for another post) and enjoyed the delightful weather.  As evening came we looked for a romantic place to have a few drinks and dinner near the water.  I'm sure we will return to Venice in the future.  It is truly a unique city.