Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Flashback to Germany - it happens in the Autumn

Many of you know I spent the majority of my first marriage in Germany from 1984 through 1987, while husband #1 served in the military.  I loved living overseas and might have stayed if I could have figured out how to do it, but things called life happen.  If I did, I would not have married Al and met many of the people that are really important in my life.  Things did turn out the way they should have.

But I was feeling a little nostalgic this morning and looking though Google Maps at roads that I walked and seeing if restaurants I knew were still in business.
Cute little apartment building with a small balcony.  Great for beer storage in the winter
With Lou and Vada at the wedding reception party - it was 31 years ago this month
I lived here – first on Lammakerweg (on the third floor with the slanted ceilings and skylight windows) and then on Andreas Fauser Strasse (on the third floor with the great balcony off the front room and the tiny balcony off the kitchen that over looked Martinskirche) in the village of Mohringen.
Andreas Fauser 24 apartment building
It was a nice suburb of Stuttgart and I really enjoyed walking through the village and the orchards surrounding it.  We had a lot of restaurants and bistros within walking distance.  For the first months there, Tim did not own a car.  Many of his friends did, and with a great system of streetcars and buses, a car wasn’t truly necessary.

The Italian Ice shop is still there - we would walk up for gelato in the eveing

The flower shop where I would treat myself to flowers

Martinskirche where there was a small farmers market on the weekend.  I would walk over for fruits and meats, fresh from the farm.
Sadly the Bier & Brezel is closed.
One of the first places that I had dinner out with friends was Bier & Brezel – where a ton of military guys frequented.  It was located at a main intersection between two fairly large US bases.  Another local place was the Terrazino for “teller pizza” – which is a pizza that was the size of a plate (or teller).  Note: if you are in Germany and ordering a meal, anything that says teller means that it’s big (teller schnitzel, etc).  Gasthof Anker was another place, and my parents stayed there during an extended visit.

These photos were taken from Google maps of houses I remember seeing as the streetcar went up and down Degerloch Hill

The tracks used to be in the middle two lanes of the road, which made it really hard to drive as you had to get out of the way

Since my ex was working all day at Kelly Barracks, he made certain I was comfortable with the streetcar system, buying tickets and traveling on my own.  One of the things I loved to do was to take the straβenbahn up and down Degerloch Hill.  I loved to look at the view over the city of Stuttgart and look at the glorious old apartment buildings as the straβenbahn got closer to Stuttgart.  I would wonder how many were still as glorious on the inside as they were on the outside.  Many times I did wish I lived in one of those houses with the 10 foot ceilings and plaster walls, terrazo floor tiles.  There was still an area where you could see some of the damage from the bombs from WWII.
I remember the umbrella and leather store was in this first group of shops
After a time, I was pretty familiar with downtown Stuttgart and I loved walking on the Konigstraβe and go through the shops.  I bought a wonderful leather purse I used for years and a wallet that I still use occasionally.  I bought a great umbrella with a duck handle and a shoulder strap (How freaking handy is that!!), and a scarf that I wore European style for years (until it fell out of the sleeve of my coat and it was lost forever).  I do still mourn the loss of that scarf.  I remember the time that I was browsing the shops and was asked for instructions to the train station.  As I was searching for the German words in my mind, the gentleman said "Oh, you are American, you can tell me in English."

I know for many of the military guys the Konigstraβe was a different experience.  They would prowl the Konigstraβe and side streets for the clubs and bars in the evening and pick up the German girls.  If they were completely drunk before a certain hour, it was called “getting ugly early!”  That expression is still one that I use today to describe certain situations in life.

Perhaps I am nostalgic because this is the time of the Oktoberfest in Germany and there was a huge one in the Stuttgart area.  OMG – I remember being so drunk at some of these festivals, but especially this one.  Beers were the size of a barn and the schnapps!  But we had the best time at these events.  One especially entertaining evening was when the schnappsfrau was trying to hit on my father in the beer tent!  He was tickled pink.  The laughter and fun from these days are forever in my mind.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Ink, Ink, Ink

It's been since January 2012 that I last had a tattoo.  I tend to think long and hard and it this what I really want.  I almost had one added when I was in New Orleans, but I didn't want to make a snap decision and regret it.

My first tattoo was when I hit 50 years old (and I actually have now said that outloud), and it was a hummingbird that was inspired by Native American art from the Pacific NW (Haidaa), it's not your grandmothers' hummingbird.  This was in May 2010, after I returned from a cruise to Alaska and fell in love with this image.  The picture was taken minutes after the tattoo was finished which is why it's still shiny in places.  It isn't small, measuring just over 6 inches long from tip to tail.  Pretty big for a first tattoo.  My second tattoo is another hummingbird that is facing this one, about the same size.  My thought now is to get something to tie them together that is not a black tribal band.

The Love
Tattoo #3 took some work researching, Several of the residents that I work with showed me pictures and I knew that I wanted a word in Arabic - love or peace - something sweet.  I ended up with this in January 2012:  The love or الحب.  this of course is a stylized calligraphy version, and I do love it.

So I have been playing with the idea after one of the doctors wrote my name in calligraphy many years ago - that it would make a great tattoo.  Another doctor suggested the Gujarti script which is really pretty, but not for the first one.   I would have to find a new tattoo artist as the person who did the first three moved across town, seemed unstable, make a comment about fat ladies on an airplane (actually it was just that comment that made me decide that he didn't deserve my money - it reinforced to me that while I am overweight, he's an ass-hat and I can lose weight).  The second artist, who has been working with my husband on several tattoos was really good, but he wanted to do this in black and I didn't want black.  One of the new interns this year suggested white, which was also was my friend Fiona had and I really liked the idea of that.  So I went back to my original shop and talked with one of the artists Jay.   He said that he was booked up for the next day, but no one left a deposit - if you are serious about a tattoo, carry $50 for a cash deposit - I was scheduled for the next afternoon.

Jay did a phenomonal job; I didn't want black, he wanted a black outline as a minimum, I wanted lighter, he thought fading would be good.  I didn't want the blue of the hospital, we agreed on a turquoise blue and to make me really happy, he shaded in some white at the top. The black shading at the bottom actually just looks like a darker blue fading upwards to white.  I didn't know that this was what I wanted.  I love it!
It's perfect for me - Elizabeth

 Now the next question is "Why Arabic?"  Why not?  It's an old culture, it's beautiful script, it's me.  If I see my name written in another script that I like just as much - Hebrew, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Nigerian, Hindi - I would probably do it again.   So send me my name (Elizabeth) in a beautiful script - I will add it to my wish list for a future tattoo.

(p.s.  On the inner forearm, this tattoo hurt - way worse than the others WAY WORSE.  About 15 minutes into the project, I was forgetting about the pain and watching the process.)