Tuesday, July 21, 2009

having too much fun to blog

How lazy am I? I can't believe it's been over two weeks since I spent a lovely day in Hannover with fellow bloggers Dixie and Claire. In addition, Claire's German and the adorable Little Dude, both perfect gentlemen, were there to to make it even more special. Unfortunately real life got in the way for several other bloggers planning to attend. We really missed you guys, but we'll definitely make up for it some time soon, huh?

Thunder showers were scheduled and I wondered if we'd end up switching coffee shops every two hours waiting for a sunny break. You know how unreliable those weather forecasts can be, though. Instead of dodging raindrops we ended up sweaty and sunburned. Boy was it hot!

As usual I was talking too much and didn't take many pictures but the ones I did take somehow managed to make Hannover look like a tropical paradise. I should have gone into marketing. I've also included a couple that Boy13 took with our camcorder from the top of the ferris wheel at the annual Schützenfest that ended last week.

Before lunch we headed off the the Maschpark close to the New City Hall. The park, with its water-lily filled lake and 10 hectares of shade trees is an ideal place to just stop and sit for a while and the city hall itself is quite impressive.

(this is how it looks from the ferris wheel)

Here's another view over the city. Hannover is said to be one of the greenest cities in Germany. I'm grateful for that. I need green to survive.

Lunch was at the Block House restaurant. Yeah, it's a chain, but we all agreed that the food was just fine. Best cheesburger I've had in ages and those steaks sure looked good. Family friendly too, which I find really important. Little Dude seemed to enjoy himself and kept us and our servers entertained the whole time.

After lunch we made our way down to the Maschsee, Hannover's man-made lake very close to the city centre. It's a peaceful location even if it's usually teaming with visitors. Even if you're just on your lunch hour, beer gardens, palm trees and sail boats (no motor boats allowed) make it feel feel like a vacation.

Late afternoon found us back at the train station having cool fairwell drinks and an ice cream or two, totally justified by all that walking we did.

Hey guys, I had a great time. we should do that more often!

Just for fun, a couple of gratuitous roller coaster pictures courtesy of Boy13. I leave the Schützenfest visits with the boys up to Mr. M these days. You won't catch me going on those scary, scary rides.

Other fun things I did in the past couple of weeks instead of blogging:

- Went to the animal shelter to look for a dog. No luck this time. Spot, we know you're out there somewhere. Give us a sign.

- Attended the Kleines Fest im Grossen Garten, a festival of performing artists at the Royal Herrenhausen Gardens in Hannover. Very entertaining and the weather held up for us.

- Hiked up a mountain and back down again. 16 km altogether. The weather was hideous. I was cranky. I may blog about it.

- Had even more blood drawn at the doctor's. Liver enzymes are now A-OK. No more doctor's visits for the time being. I am SO sick of sitting in that waiting room staring at the wallpaper.

- Celebrated father-in-law's 80th birthday. It was very pleasant. This has not always been the case in the past.

- Finally got going on redecorating the upstairs bathroom. Did I mention that green is my favourite colour?

- Made a ton of Mr. M's favourite tomato relish. Recipe to follow.

- Worked like a devil in the garden and finally got it looking half-decent. But only half. Evil bugs have eaten my lilies. They will pay for this.

Upcoming events:

- A visit to Hamburg

- Checking out the "First Nations of Canada" exhibition at the Landesmuseum Hannover

- A massive water fight on the lawn.

- Getting ALL the laundry done for a change.

That's all for now. The kids have two more school-free weeks and Mr. M will be off next week again so we'll most likely be busy, busy, busy trying to make the most of our time together.

How's YOUR summer been so far?

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Monday, July 06, 2009

the flag doesn't come down until you finish the leftovers

Canada Day was too hot for anything more than sitting in the shade with a cool drink and waiting for dinner time to roll around. How's this for timing - as if by magic, the July issue of Canadian Living magazine arrived in our mail box mid morning. As usual, a bit late to try out any of the holiday recipes, but very welcome nonetheless. You can't be all that picky when subscribing to magazines from oversease. They show up when they want to and there's nothing you can do about it. Sometimes I'm amazed they get here at all.

We started with these smoked salmon and marinated red onion (so good!) appetizers.

Here are some skewered vegetables ready to be thrown on the grill

And everybody's favourite - potato salad. Bacon, hard boiled eggs, red onion, dill pickles, chives, parsley and mayo.

The ribs were done in two steps, first dry rubbed and oven baked and then tossed with a beer-based barbeque sauce and finished on the grill. The original recipe is for beef ribs. I used pork because, you know, we live in Germany. I don't know that I'd use this recipe again. It was good enough, but I had to doctor it up a little to get it to taste the way I thought it should taste.

Dessert was a giant fruit salad

The stars of the show were strawberries from two villages away, yellow cherries from the neighbour's tree and raspberries from our very own garden

In British Columbia, where I'm from, summer is all about locally grown fruit, especially the just-picked berries you can buy at roadside stands. This cake kind of reminded me of that. No recipe, really. The filling is cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, pureed berries and gelatin.

Well, the leftovers are long gone so I guess we can take the flag down for another year.

But before I do that, I have to tell you about the conversation our German neighbour H and I had on Friday.

H: (pointing to the Canadian flag) Hey, was war das für ein Tag gestern? (Hey, what day was it yesterday?)

Me: Es war eigentlich Mittwoch, nicht gestern. Canada Day. Kanada Tag. (Actually, it was Wednesday, not yesterday.)

H: Ahh, Kanada, keiner da! Ha ha ha! (Ahh, Canada, no one's there!)

Me: Ha ha, sehr lustig (because this is a standard German joke that I've heard a million times). Ja, und Sonnabend feiern die Amerikaner den Unabhängigkeitstag. (Ha ha, very funny. Yeah, and on Saturday the Americans celebrate Independence Day.)

H: Ach, ja, richtig. Und die Kanadier feiern dann mit, oder? (Oh yes, that's right. And the Canadians celebrate along with them, right?)

Me: Emm, nein, aber... (umm, no, but...)

He's been living beside us for fourteen years now and I swear he'll never get it. Oh well.

But hold on a second, this year I DID happen to spend the fourth of July with a couple of fabulous Americans and their loved ones. More about that in my next post.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

oh, canada (I miss you so)

Happy Canada Day!

We're flying the flag here today in Dullsville and will be celebrating later by throwing some stuff on the grill. There may be pictures. Right now, this one will have to suffice.

The kids had their last day of school a week ago and we've been very busy sleeping in and generally just lazing about and enjoying the summer. I have tons (tons!) of blog posts lined up. Unfortunately it's just too humid too sit inside and type. This sort of weather is not very kind to the frizzy-haired among us. It's presently 25°C outside and the clouds are threatening to split open at any moment. Platzregen they call it here. One minute you're dry, the next you're soaking wet. Oh well, at least we won't need to water.

You have a good day too, eh, and while you're at it, go check out Ian's great Canada Day post.

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