Saturday, March 26, 2011

St Patrick's Day ... glass blowing ... Persian New Year ... Mendel & Derek ... Ron

Let me recap some family events since Harald's arrival.  There has been lots of talk (in both German and English) about family history in Germany.  Harald brought a wonderful digital collection of old family photos and writings that he had compiled.  He has also been fixing things around the house and teaching Jonas how to drive our manual transmission Honda Civic.  Mostly, he is a wunderbar person and a fantastisch house guest who makes us all smile.
Last week we introduced Harald and Leticia to the spirit of St. Patrick's Day...
we also witnessed the art of glass blowing at our neighbor's Albo Glass studio ...
feasted on yummy food and celebrated the Persian New Year at Bobby's house ...
enjoyed a short visit from Mendel and Derek as they traveled from Boston to relocate in Silicon Valley ...
and smiled through lunch as Ron, a high school classmate and Helen's life-long friend, came from Idaho to visit his parents here in Topeka.
 Next week Mark and Daya arrive from Minnesota for a Spring Break visit.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's great to be a guy

Today at lunch Helen was washing grapes and putting them in a bowl.  Thinking I might enjoy some grapes myself, I reached into the cabinet, pulled out a bowl and placed it next to hers.   Instantly, and with some degree of pain and anguish, Helen vigorously declared that I should have selected one of the "pretty" bowls as mine was one of the "ugly" ones.  Please help me .... which bowl is which?
Being Helen seems like an awful lot of work.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Harald Jaenicke arrives from Germany

Tonight Helen's Godfather Harald Jaenicke arrived from Wuppertal, Germany.  He is also Jonas' grandfather.  While Jonas has been with us since last August, it is Harald's first visit to the USA.  He is sweet and lovable and kind.   Here are the three of them at the airport.
Welcome Harald!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The New Gypsy Jazz Quartet

Last night we joined some friends at The College Hill Tavern for an evening of fun and music.  Their son plays guitar and sings for a really diverse and talented group called The New Gypsy Jazz Quartet.  It was a blast.  Here is a sample:

We left smiling ... so did everybody else.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Mark and Kris

Last Saturday our friends Mark and Kris came to town to show their kids their old house ... which is on the market and vacant.  (OK, so they only live 25 minutes away in Lawrence but even so, we rarely get to see them.)   We quickly slipped into nostalgia mode and headed to Bobo's Drive In
for steakburgers and hot apple pie with satin freeze. 
The kids headed back to Lawrence and we hung out ... for hours.
Thanks Mark and Kris for coming to town.
It was a blast!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

There's no place like Home

It was January of 1981.  Samantha was little.
Helen and I were both selling real estate and the housing market had crashed.  Our national economy was suffering through a deep and prolonged recession. Inflation was at 14.8% and unemployment was edging toward its peak of 10.8%.  Many banks had closed their mortgage departments while those that remained open were quoting interest rates of 18.5% for a 30-year home mortgage.  There was no relief in sight.  We were broke.  With more bravado than sense, Helen and I decided to buy a new house.

Actually, it wasn't a "new" house at all.  Built in 1918, it had been neglected for years.  The electrical system was a hodge-podge of 8 fuse boxes hidden in various rooms throughout the house.  When in the mood, some of the galvanized plumbing sorta worked.  It had no storm windows.  It was so drafty that we wore coats inside.  Even so, we loved it.  It was beautiful.  Solid, strong and stately.  The roof was tile.  It was brick tough.
The woodwork was massive and gorgeous.  Each stained-glass window was a piece of art.  It was real.
We moved in on March 3, 1981.
Now, 30 years later, it is more than a house.  It is Home.  Sure, it still needs lots of work.  It always will.  But it is Home.  Home to us. Home to Samantha.  And Home to countless family members, friends, exchange students and other basement dwellers.  Thank you, and Happy Birthday, to our wonderful Home.  You really are
Home Sweet Home.

Thank you to all of the electricians, plumbers, roofers, painters, and other craftsmen who have helped us these past 30 years.  Thanks also to our wonderful neighbors who have made living in Potwin so much fun.  And, a special thanks to Oma and Opa for letting it happen.

There's no place like Home.