Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ghost of Christmas Past

Some pictures from Christmases past.  In no particular order.....

2007--Jenny just home from her mission, some members from Baumholder Branch and some missionaries.

1984--Nyssa, Oregon.  Bob was serving a one-year unaccompanied tour (today it would be called a deployment) at a remote radar site in Korea, we had moved in with Grandma and Grandpa.  My brothers Roger and David, neice Keesha and Chris.

1984--Cousins Keesha and Chris

2006--Powderhorn, Colorado.  Several days after Chris and Lindsay's wedding.  Jenny was on her mission.

1989--Air Force Academy swim team Christmas training trip to San Diego, California.  Christmas Day, before heading to Disneyland, we stopped by the home of one or the cadet swimmers, Wes Hallman.

1990--Stadthagen, Germany.  Our first Christmas in Germany and our first ward Christmas party.  Stadthagen Ward holds it on Christmas Eve, in the chapel, with sacred music and gives gifts TO Santa to give to others.  And of course serve lovely soup and bread at the conclusion.

1993--Okinawa, Japan.  Christmas Eve after having been out sailing all day.  Tracee's first Christmas away from home spent with the grandparents.

1996--Okinawa, Japan.  Before going to serve the free Christmas dinner at the USO.

2000--Topeka, Kansas

1999--Topeka, Kansas

2002--Topeka, Kansas.  Chris had soloed and was about to get his private pilot's license.  He and his instructor took us all up for a ride on Christmas Eve.

2008--Koenigsee, Germany.  Rob, Tracee and Jenny "home" with us for Christmas

2008--Koenigsee, Germany.  We also visited Rothenberg and Salzburg.

2008--Jenny at Koenigsee

2004--Lawrence, Kansas.  Chris's graduation from University of Kansas and commissioning into the US Air Force.

1998--Topeka, Kansas

1997--Topeka, Kansas

For Christmas 2010 we will all be together at Powderhorn again.  

Dear Gentle Readers -
A Merry Christmas to you all, wherever you may celebrate and draw your families near.  


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Remembrance Day

I like how the Canadians call it Remembrance Day, but  tomorrow is Veteran's Day.  We live about 30 minutes from the LORRAINE AMERICAN CEMETERY AND MEMORIAL and have driven there for a respite.  My most memorable visit was with a friend who was visiting.  She had a great uncle whom she had never met buried there and we went on behalf of her mother and other family members to see the grave.

Going to the cemetery is a tender event, but when you go to one of the American Battle Monuments and Cemeteries with a loved one in mind, it becomes a whole new experience.  We stopped first at the visitors' center to look up his name and locate the grave marker.  From the moment we inquired the visit changed.  Our guide collected her tools and led us to the grave.  As we walked past the tall, imposing bell tower and crested the steps, the vista before us was so moving we all wept.

We walked in the dewy grass through the rows and rows of markers until we reached the grave of William H. Gulledge, Jenette Turner's Great uncle.

 Our guide went to work, first cleaning the marker, then she rubbed sand into the engraved name and wiped away the excess.  This made the name easier to read.
Then she planted an American and a French flag at the base of the marker.

Jenette and our guide

Then it was time to take pictures.  Our guide also prepared a folder for Jenette to take back to her family with information about the battle Pvt. Gulledge had fought in, where he was first buried and the date he was moved to the Lorraine cemetary.  She thanked us for our service, and left us to savor the moment in the reverence of that October morning.

 Linda Hulterstrom, Jenny Clinton, Jenette Turner
(Jenny was newly returned from her mission, Linda was a former companion from Sweden who flew to Frankfurt for the homecoming, Jenette a friend from Topeka who was Jenny's "companion" after she arrived in Utah and before she checked into the MTC, and then flew with Jenny on the last leg of her trip home.)

We have returned several times to the Lorraine Cemetery, and we always look up the grave marker and leave flowers.  Sometimes we stop at the visitors center, and when we ask, the same lovely French woman guide will gladly leave her work and show us the way to Pvt. Gulledge's grave, all the time saying "this is my job, I'm honored to do it."  At the same time she will give a brief introduction to the cemetery, the Medal of Honor awardees buried there, but always paying tribute to those buried in unknown graves.  We feel privileged to live so close.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fungi I Have Known

Soon after settling in Germany I picked up a trail map at the Bruchmühlbach city offices.  We have explored many of the trails, including a 20 km death march on rainy day over hill and dale.  On this particular walk we found all the poorly marked trails.

But that was then.

Last Monday we took a shorter walk along the B11/12/10 trail along a hill top overlooking Bruchmühlbach-Miesau (I know that it is the B11/12/10 trail because it was segment in the 20 km death march).  It was a gorgeous fall day.  Perfect, actually.  

Miesau - where we live

Along the way we noticed more than a few varieties of mushrooms.  I have no idea what they are, but the pictures turned out pretty good, considering the 1st generation digital camera and my shaky hand.  Bob's is the steadier.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Generous Lion

When my oldest daughters, Tracee and Kelly, were quite young, their Grandma Mary gave them each a mug for their hot chocolate.  Tracee's was a lion, Kelly's was a monkey with the tails forming the handle.  Cute little mugs they were, and used on a daily basis.  After the girls were both grown and settled I passed them on.  

I can't tell you right now what happened to the monkey mug - I'd love to remember or find out.  You never really know what makes something an heirloom, but I believe one of these mugs, the lion mug, was approaching this status.

Until today.  Kelly sent me this picture this evening.

It's what happens to a mug when it's thrown out the door onto the patio.  Cohen did it.  We'll never know why.  R.I.P., lion mug.  You gave lovingly for over 20 years.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Incredible Journey, or How to Get a Cat

For most of our married lives we have had a cat.  Zephyr was the most famous and long lived of them, and a world traveler.  Germany, to the US, to Okinawa, to the US with a short stay in Hawaii.  She went to live with Kelly when we returned to Germany.  She was just too old to make the trip in 2004, and died of a stroke several months after we left.  Here's to Zephyr.  **clink, clink, clink**

Chris and Zephyr, 1996

We've always had in our heart to get another cat--rather let a cat have us.  Just waiting for the right one to come around and adopt us.  It had to be the right cat--er, we had to be the right people for the cat.  We wanted one declawed, which is a little more difficult to come by in Germany since it is an illegal procedure.  I had my heart set on another Persian, or Himalayan, and we were also looking at Siberian (no allergens).  

When Lindsay said they needed to find new homes for her two Maine Coon cats (turns out Chris is allergic), and since they met other criteria (micro chipped, declawed, adults), Bob looked into some shipping options and we decided to take one of Lindsay's cats.  Initial quotes for shipping were about $600, but suddenly when we got serious so did the fees, over $2,000!!  Lindsay dad some investigating on her end and was able to find humane, affordable care and shipping for under $600. Before we knew it, "Kitty" was on her way to us.

A friend had tipped me off to the fact that you don't just pull up to a shipping dock and pick up the animal, that several stops and more than a few Euro would be involved.  So armed with some cash, and hope in our hearts we drove to Frankfurt, to Cargo "City," and believe me it is just that--HUGE!!  Our process involved both extreme ends of both sides of the runway of Frankfurt International Airport.  And I should add that the whole place is under construction so streets are narrower than usual and traffic more congested with big trucks hauling who-knows-what construction element.

We began circling the flight line looking for Tor 2, which although signage existed for it, we never did find the gate.  At gate 31 we stopped and asked.  Tor 31 sent us back to Tor 26 where the Animal Lounge was.  The Animal Lounge sent us back to Tor 31 where we would be granted passage onto the maze of cargo terminals and offices to building 537 and L.U.G.  At L.U.G. we were informed that the cat was still in Houston, that it didn't get on the flight the day before.  **WHAT??**  With very confused, unsettled, and heavy hearts we could do nothing but go back home.  The only positive out of the whole day was that we learned that Tor 31 was exactly where we needed to be for our first stop.

Lindsay took over from here, calling Continental Airlines and discovering that it was true, Kitty had missed her flight, communication broke down and no one was notified, but that Kitty was safely lodged at the Houston airport kennel for the night and next day before the 6:30 PM flight to Frankfurt.  AND a full refund will be coming!

So we get a redo.  We drove to Tor 31, got our registration and gate card and access to L.U.G. and building 537 where we paid L.U.G. 14 Euros for moving Kitty from Continental Airlines to the Animal Lounge.  Then we drove to Tor 26 (I should mention that 31 and 26 are on opposite sides of the flight line).  At least this time there was only one stop at each.  The Animal Lounge meanwhile was having a vet examine Kitty (75 Euro) and also feeding and watering and cleaning up Kitty.  Next stop:  customs (29 Euro).  

Back to the Animal Lounge, a brief wait in the parking lot and after all that I wanted to have trumpets and a red carpet as Kitty was carried out.  She was calm, poised, and grooming, (The dog that came out before her--which cost $2,000 to ship--was hyper and licking and jumping.  Cats rule!) considered us just another step in her two day inconvenience, and quietly came along with us without asking any questions.

Welcome home, Kitty.  By the way, it's Bob's birthday and this is one of his presents.

One small step for Kitty, one big step for Clinton kind.

Litter box located.

"Kennel door open--Hmmm.  In, out.  In, out.  I could get used to this."

First trip down the stairs.

Exploring the rest of the place.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"I'm sorry but our trailer is in your garden."

One morning last week I heard this awful noise/crash/bang (hard to describe).  I thought maybe one of the larger pictures hanging in the stairwell had fallen down and bounced down the stairs.  Before I could make it all the way down the stairs the doorbell rang, and the sweetest (English speaking) lady was standing at my door pointing to her trailer, which was very neatly and precisely parked in my front garden.  You can't see it in this picture, but the trailer is parked over one bush, and the wheel is delicately parked behind another.  Yet neither bush sustained any damage, nor did any of the randomly planted flowers (also under the trailer).  It looks like it was air-lifted in and dropped on the garden.

All I could do when I saw it was laugh.  We both laughed.  This couple was driving home with a load of laminate flooring when the trailer hitch on their car broke.  OK, back up a moment....  German's don't drive pick-up trucks, and their station wagons and all cars, actually, are on the small side.  But these little trailers are very popular and easy to pull behind even the smallest car.  So they were hauling their boxes, the trailer hitch broke, and from what we could see on the sidewalk, the trailer continued on it's way for a 100 feet or so, the tongue hit the little concrete barrier around my garden and catapulted over the bushes and into the garden where it came to rest, safely avoiding any plants.

The man half of this couple soon returned with another vehicle and boxes were shifted around so the trailer could be hooked up.  The very smart lady figured out that there was a jack under the tongue that could be used to elevate the tongue, which was heavy now with the load of flooring, but then the problem was how to get the trailer over the bushes.  Could drive forward - bush in the way.  Couldn't back up - bushes in the way.

This time it was my turn to have a brain storm.  I simply dug up the little bush in front of the tire and moved it to the back yard.  No sooner had I put my shovel away and washed my hands than the gentleman returned with two bottles of champagne.

I don't know, I thought it was a hilarious situation.  Thought I'd share it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

They say the first thing to go is the memory

I know that a lot of folks who check this blog regularly are young.  You know who you are.  I want you to watch this carefully and laugh long and hard over it.  Then just you wait.  Your time is coming.

To those of you who have reached a point in your life where this already applies to you, laugh long and hard over this because as it really happens it's not as funny.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hey! This isn't what I signed on for!

Bob retired from the Air Force in 1997.  AND in 2006.

He also returned to active duty in the Air Force in 2001.  AND again in 2010.  (Do you see a pattern developing here?)  I don't know how many times it takes to get it right, but this better be the time.  He has a three year contract that will put him pretty dang close to that 30 year mark for retirement pay (75% of what he is making right now for the rest of his life).

He put on his flight suit May 24, and on July 10 was handed a short-notice deployment, leaving in one week.  That's today.  He'll spend 120 days - get ready - in Florida supporting air operations for the oil spill clean up. Affectionately referred to as Tyndallistan.

It's embarrassing to even call it a deployment after watching the gut-wrenching deployments that the Army does - 15 months, to Iraq & Afghanistan after only being home 12 months since the last one.   I promise not to whine and moan.  And I won't brag about going to visit him for three weeks in August.

I salute you Army wives.  You know who you are:  Lesa, whose husband just returned; Rachel whose husband just returned; Sara whose husband just returned; Donna whose husband just returned and who had a baby while he was gone (!!); and all the Baumholder women whose husbands will soon be leaving for six weeks of training followed by 12 months in Afghanistan.  I salute you.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pimp My Ride

The Aral (gas) station in our town frequently gives out freebies when you purchase an Autowasche (car wash). Ice scrapers, water bottles, sponges..... I was so excited this time we ran the car through because the give-a-way was German flags, the kind you hook on the car and they flap in the breeze as you drive. I have ALWAYS wanted some of these. Seriously! And now that Germany has made it to the final four in FIFA competition, not only did I want them, but I needed them.

Deutschland! Deutschland! Deutschland!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mary Petzold Going Viral

My Mother-in-law, Mary Petzold, as seen recently on YouTube. She's 82 years old. Amazing woman.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Last fall I went along on one of Bob's planning conferences.  The Army post there had an excellent craft store that a friend, also with her husband at the same conference, convinced me to go see.  I got enthused!  I used to crochet blankets all the time and it had been years since I'd made one, and right then and there decided to make another one.

I bought a pattern book and materials and this was the end result.  Not bad for a "first" try.  It will always be ours, however, because it's shape is a little off.  Someday I'll try the pattern again and get it right, but for a "first" try I was just too impatient to count 180 stitches each row.

And then I got validation.  Early this year in a sacrament meeting talk someone said that we should always be creating something and that if it gave us pleasure we should invest in it and nurture it.  So I bought some more yarn and made another blanket.

Feeling somewhat the expert, I next picked an adorable pattern that I thought I would do for my sister's first baby, due about the time as my new grandson.  Well you know what they say about new construction of houses?  How you should allow 25% more money and time?  Well it applied to this project, and by the time I was done with it, I hated it.  I was never so glad to clear up that one square meter of space in my sitting room, and get it mailed.

Noah's Ark

Elephant and Camel

 The rat-opotamus 

Sheep and Giraffe

Somewhere, over a rainbow......


.....two by two......

My next project is all one color, less complicated and works quickly.  I'll keep you posted.