Sunday, March 7, 2010

How Do You 'Read'?

Do you remember your third grade reading group? Maybe you were in the red group. Or you might have been a giraffe. Whatever the case, we were split up and instructed according to our abilities. Now it seems our reading groups are split up by the type of technology that we want to embrace. So which reading group are you in now?

Do you like the old fashioned book that has been around since the dawn of time? You know - the one you have to pick up and hold and physically grip the page to turn it. Or do you prefer the voice in your narrating a story? Or, is it the electronic book that fulfills your reading desires?

Me? I like the BOOK. I enjoy the workout my senses get by going into a book store/library/friend's house and browsing the shelves. I like to touch and feel the book. I want to see the cover and any pictures that might be in there. And then I can take that book anywhere. It's ready and waiting for me! No internet connection or downloading necessary. Don't need an iPod or a Kindle. I don't need to charge any batteries or stick anything in my ears. Just me and the book - on the couch, on a beach, in bed, at a doctor's office, at a baseball practice....anywhere, any time. A light and my reading glasses help, but I can manage without them if I need to....if the print is big enough!

What about you? Have you tried an audio book or ebook? Sales records indicate that people LOVE these things. Shutterbug (my DH) is big on the audio books. It took some getting used to on my part. He'd announce that he was going to 'READ' so I thought that meant we needed to keep the noise level down or something. But no. He'd pop the earbuds in his head, put the leash on the dog, and head out the door. Wait...WHAT?

The dog thanks Shutterbug for his reading group. They both get a lot of fresh air and exercise these days. The Heir, The Spare and I get a lot of exercise as well, because we make so many 'air quotes' around 'READ' because we got tired of saying "oh, you mean listen to your audio book?" Thank goodness we've gotten it all figured out. We know what he means when Shutterbug says 'READ' and Guinness knows he's in for a good walk.

As for an eReader, we don't have one in this house. A friend has the Kindle and said he likes it for the ease of reading in bed. It is lightweight and the pages turn with the touch of a button. No more holding up heavy books and fiddling around to turn pages. Some people like it for the built-in dictionary or the ability to change the font size and the screen lighting. Your eyes will definitely thank you. You can also subscribe to newspapers via your eReader thus making catching up on the news convenient for public transportation commuters or carpoolers without that noisy crinkle! And of course they come with all sorts of accessories including sleeves, jackets, protectors, stands, car chargers, earbuds and even waterproof cases for water-side enjoyment. What gadget-lover could resist this type of reading??

So it seems that technology has provided us with several reading groups. But now WE get to choose which one we want to be in. So if you are a multi-tasker, pop the earbuds in and start 'reading' while you shovel the snow. For everyone else, you'll need to shovel first before you settle in with your 'book' to enjoy the rest of the day. But remember, no matter the weather, MAKE EVERY DAY A SNOW DAY!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I've been thinking that I will write about something other than snow - but it seems to be the hot topic around the world these days. Or at least in the parts of the world that I connect with.

Seems I have missed the snowiest winter ever recorded in the Northern Virginia/Washington DC area! School children in our old neighborhood have gone 12 days without going to school - that's longer than their winter break in December/January was. Anyway, I (lover of snow) have missed it. I've missed the blizzard of a lifetime and all the sleeping in, shoveling snow and drinking hot chocolate that goes with it. Somehow I will get through this!

Seems there is snow everywhere. Did you hear that it snowed in 49 states the other day? Even my home state of Florida got snow! Can you imagine the kids in the Panama City screaming with delight as the flakes fell? It reminds me of the time when I was at a junior high school basketball game. Someone opened the door to the gym and we all saw that it was snowing in Winter Park, Florida. It was beautiful....and memorable.

The game was delayed as the gym emptied out in record time. We stood outside for a few minutes catching snowflakes on our tongues. There weren't enough flakes to amount to anything - but we had snow in Florida and that was all that mattered. I can't tell you anything at all about the actual basketball game, but I will always remember how thrilled I was to witness actual snow falling. It made my day. Whether it be snow, basketball games or sleeping late, I hope you can find something to make your day. Remember, no matter the weather, MAKE EVERY DAY A SNOW DAY!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Snowiest Winter in Thirty Years - Or So 'They' Say

Enough snow has fallen in Frankfurt in the past two weeks that we should about three feet of snow on the ground. The most recent snow fell all day Tuesday. And while it was falling the temperature was at .5 C - just enough to have the snow melt as fast as it fell. And when it stopped falling the snow that was previously on the ground melted. Here it is Friday and we've got very little snow to show for 'the snowiest winter in 30 years!' That's what 'they' have been calling it here. At least that's all the German weather news that I can find in English.

Yep, it's definitely different here. It's not like the Northern Virginia area where 'they' name each event. 'Snowpocalypse' is what I heard for the last snow event in that area. How can you top that? What will today's event be called?

As my Northern Virginia friends await the arrival of another crazy snow event, I find myself wishing I was there - caught up in the craze of panic shopping. Like we never had enough food in our pantry or basement or freezer or two refrigerators to last us a couple of days in case we couldn't get our four-wheel-drive vehicle down the street to the store. Yep, for some strange reason I miss it all. When it snows here, for the most part, the Germans just clear the streets and sidewalks and go on about their business. As it should be. No reason to get these lovely folks panicked about anything!

So go on my Northern Virginia friends - enjoy your sangria, your grouper (LOL) and your milk. Cuddle up on the couch and find a good book to read or a good movie to watch - and no matter the weather, MAKE EVERY DAY A SNOW DAY!

Sunday, January 31, 2010


Which Do You Prefer: Book, Kindle, or Audio Book?

Gadgets You Love...or Love to Hate

Books That You Just Gotta Read

Recipes: Own It

Hobbies - What Keeps You Busy?

Frankfurt Weather: Is It Normal?

Is there such a thing as 'normal' weather in Frankfurt?

This is my third, and last, winter here and each one has been so different than the others. Our first winter was gray and wet. Last winter was sunny but super cold. This winter is definitely the snowiest. We've had off and on snow for the last week or so. We went to bed one night - with flakes falling and rumors of school closings - and woke up to less snow than when we went to bed. Apparently it warmed up during the night. Where else in the world does that happen in the middle of winter?

Yesterday, one of the websites devoted just to weather, told us that it would snow all day in Frankfurt. I was here. It didn't. It did pour snow for about 30 minutes in the middle of the afternoon, but it did not snow all day. And then, about 5:15 p.m. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was a the pinkish, orangish band of light from the setting sun! Frankfurt is not known for it's sunsets so it was a bit surprising - especially in the winter. And equally surprising was the time it was happening. The calendar still says January but already I can tell that the days are getting longer.

The air is crisp and the snow is crunchy today. The sky is bright - not blue but not gray either. So if you've had the winter blues, maybe today will seem a little less heavy. If you have been slacking on your New Year's resolution maybe today will be the day that lets you get back on track. Do you have a hobby that you have ignored lately? Maybe today you can pull it out and have some fun with it. It's up to you to MAKE EVERY DAY A SNOW DAY!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday's Surprise

So I was wrong. That dusting of snow we had on Sunday turned into a lot more. It was like a pure white blanket had been laid down gently on the lawn. Everything so fresh and clean and crisp. We ended up with about 4 inches of the fluffy stuff. And it's weird because it was those itty bitty flakes that you can barely see. I can't imagine the amount of flakes it took to generate the frosting that we woke up to on Monday.

Never mind the count, it was enough to make driving conditions dangerous and school was canceled. First thing The Heir and The Spare did was to become fans of the Facebook group 'Waking Up and Finding Out You Have a Snow Day!' Ahh, true afficionados of the snow day! On days like these I am proud to say they are definitely my boys!

We enjoyed a leisurely morning doing a lot of nothing. Texts were flying, filled with plans for later. But before the boys headed off to the park for snow football with their friends, we raided the refrigerator and cabinets and broke out the fondue pot for lunch. Some bread from the corner bakery, some cheese from the French market, some grapes and Tostitos from the commissary...quite an international spread. It wasn't fine dining, but it's what snow days are all about. Don't let the next one pass you by. And remember, no matter the weather, MAKE EVERY DAY A SNOW DAY!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Frosting Our Day

We got a light dusting of snow today. It's nice. But as far as me and snow go - more is better. This one just barely covered the bits and pieces left from our last snow fall. I'll take it though. And so will the dog.

Guinness is like me. He LOVES the snow. Even today, with just a small amount, he managed to prance and trot around. He embraces the snow for all it's worth. And for reasons we don't understand, he gets some kind of joy out of rubbing his face and rolling in the snow. It starts with his backside in the air as he lowers his head to the ground. From there he rubs his chin and the sides of his face on the cold ground. When he is satisfied with that, he transitions into flopping on his side and rolling his body from side to side - all while moaning in delight. It's quite a sight and it seems to make everyone smile - either in embarrassment for us having such a weird dog, or in envy that they can't do the same. Even the dog enjoys a snow day!

But for me, I look out my third floor window and I don't see the snow on the ground unless I walk over and look down. Instead I see how the barren Chestnut tree branches are just barely topped with a layer of pure, white, frosty goodness. It makes for a nice contrast - the fluffy,white on the solid wood. If I could paint, that is what I would paint today. The view out my window - the intersecting branches with the dusting of snow. It'd be a fabulous, soothing painting.

Since I won't be rolling in the snow or painting today I've decided to just enjoy my inside time. For kicks I pulled out a Kraft recipe for
Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread that I had ripped out of a magazine years ago. The picture makes me think of the tree branches outside - intersecting cinnamon dough balls drizzled in fluffy cream cheese frosting. Okay, it's a stretch, but trust me when I say this - it was simple to make and it got rave reviews. On a decorative cake plate it easily looks like a bakery creation. This recipe meets the criteria to move to the front of the stack. Try it and let me know what you think.

So here's my weather report - snow or not, MAKE EVERY DAY A SNOW DAY!