Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The 2011 Spring Concert

The concert my brother and I put together was wonderful. All the practicing, rehearsing, and planning was worth it. The feeling with the audience was intimate and warm. The crowd was small so we allowed ourselves time to talk about the pieces presented.
Miss M sang "Dream a Dream".

Her voice was sweet and rang clear and true. Her Dad, the Piano Man accompanied her and supported her voice.

Two of my piano students played and I appreciated their willingness to share their talents.
Kim, my friend, had the opportunity to give voice to her current favorite song and she pulled it off flawlessly. "Without You" we could not have reached the heights we did.

Elizabeth Nye and Marita Ericksen favored us with duets with gorgeous harmony. How lucky for us to have them on our program.
The Piano Man played for half the singers and then he took off his tie to get down and sing some country. Woo Hoo, you did good!
My brother joined Chuck Irish to act out the parts of Huckelberry Finn and Big Jim as they sang
World's Apart.
I loved the straw hat!

Speaking of my brother, I really enjoyed my time with them. That would be including my friend, the sister-in-law,

When the Bro. sang "The Man You Love" I knew that he really did find a woman to love with all his might. My sister-in-law is still crazy for this guy she married 42 years ago. They inspired me with their vibrant relationship.
One of the most fun pieces of music was Chattanooga Choo-Choo.
We did it with panache1
To end the evening Ingo and I sang my song, "Windows and Mirrors". We ended the last concert in 1996 with that song and I really felt the presence of my mother. She approved.
Thank-you to Ingo and Kathy for the gorgeous bouquet of flowers.
I have more videos of the evening on my u-tube channel. Just type in gburgesssongs and enjoy. Yes, there are really 3 s's in that word.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Amazon Man

Happy Birthday amazon man. It was fun being with you as we celebrated your life. 
Just like your sweet daughter, we look up to you as an example of someone who has faith and hope. Life is going well for you right now. but to your credit I see a man who was positive in times of stress as well as in times of calm. 
Your family looks to you to bring them joy and strength and you will not disappoint. I can't quite connect the boy I hugged and tickled with the man you are today, but...... 
....all I hoped for you is being realized.
You come from good Burgess stock and it is fitting that all the Marks, James's and Walters we stumble over are names of good men who are faithful and strong. 
Be of good cheer, son!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Heidelberg is a university town with geographical wonders.
Heidelberg is partly situated in the Rhine Rift Valley, mainly on the left bank of the lower part of the river Neckar. Heidelberg, being located in a bottom of a valley, is bordered by the mountain Königsstuhl (568 m) and the mountain Gaisberg (375 m). The river Neckar flows here in an east-west direction. On the right bank of the river the mountain Heiligenberg (445 m) rises.
The castle on the hill is one of it's main attractions. My sister-in-law urged me to take the tram and ride to the top with her and so we did.

The castle is a mix of styles from Gothic to Renaissance. Prince Elector Ruprecht III (1398–1410) erected the first building in the inner courtyard as a royal residence. The building was divided into a ground floor made of stone and framework upper levels. Another royal building is located opposite the Ruprecht Building: the Fountain Hall. Prince Elector Philipp (1476–1508) is said to have arranged the transfer of the hall's columns from a decayed palace of Charlemagne from Ingelheim to Heidelberg.
In the 16th and 17th century, the Prince Electors added two palace buildings and turned the fortress into a castle. The two dominant buildings at the eastern and northern side of the courtyard were erected during the rule of Ottheinrich (1556–1559) and Friedrich IV (1583–1610). Under Friedrich V (1613–1619), the main building of the west side was erected, the so called "English Building".

The castle and its garden were destroyed several times (during the 30 Years' War and the Palatine War of Succession). As Prince Elector Karl Theodor tried to restore the castle, lightning struck in 1764 and ended all attempts at rebuilding. Later on, the castle was misused as a quarry; castle stones were taken to build new houses in Heidelberg. This was stopped in 1800 by Count Charles de Graimberg who then began the preservation of the Heidelberg Castle.

Although the interior is in Gothic style, the King's Hall was not built until 1934. Today, the hall is used for festivities, e.g. dinner banquets, balls and theatre performances. During the Heidelberg Castle Festival in the summer, the courtyard is the site of open air musicals, operas, theatre performances, and classical concerts performed by the Heidelberg Philharmonics.

The castle is surrounded by a park, where the famous poet Johann von Goethe once walked. The Heidelberger Bergbahn funicular railway runs from Heidelberg's Kornmakt to the summit of the Königstuhl via the castle.
We walked up and down the main streets looking at the architecture, the shops, and restaurants.
A favorite shop which specializes in German Christmas decor was Kathe Wohlfahrt.

There are many historical churches in Heidelberg and its environs.

The Church of the Holy Spirit has been shared over the centuries since the Protestant Reformation by both Catholics and Protestants. It is one of the few buildings to survive the many wars during the past centuries. 
My eyes could not get enough of the interesting attractions in this town. My feet wearied much sooner than my eyes and we all went home very tired at the end of the day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Idar Oberstein

A memorable place was very close by.
What an incredible little town! The geography of this place is so unique to what I have seen before, which, granted is not that much. This is the view from the castle on the hill.
The town is nestled against the hill. The castle is at the top and set aways below it is a church. The Felsenkirche, aka the Church of the Rock, and two ruined medieval castles are perched on the hills above the town, and are, after gemstones and jewelry, the chief tourist attractions in the city.
According to legend, there were two noble brothers, Wyrich and Emich, who both fell in love with a beautiful girl named Bertha. The brothers lived in Castle Bosselstein, which was situated atop a 450 foot high hill. Bertha was from a noble line that occupied the nearby Lichtenburg Castle (this castle later became the site of the Nazi's Lichtenburg Concentration Camp).
Neither brother was aware of the other's feelings for Bertha. When Wyrich, the elder brother, was away on some unknown business, Emich succeeded in securing Bertha's affections and, subsequently, married her. When Emich announced the news to his brother, Wyrich's temper got the better of him. In the heat of the moment, he hurled his brother out of a window of the castle and sent him to his death on the rocks below.
Wyrich was almost immediately filled with remorse. With the counsel of a local abbot, he began a long period of penance. At this time, Bertha disappears from historical record. Many romantics feel that she died of a broken heart.
As Wyrich waited for a heavenly sign showing that he was forgiven, the abbot suggested that he build a church on the exact place where his brother died. Wyrich worked and prayed himself into exhaustion. However, the moment the church was completed, he received his sign: a miracle spring opened up in the church.
Wyrich died soon after this. When the local bishop came to consecrate the new church, he found the noble lord dead on its steps. Wyrich was later placed in the same tomb with his brother. 
Today the castle steps greet visitors like us. We were greeted by the owner of a little restaurant inside the castle. They were the most gracious people and we decided to come back for dinner.

This view was from inside the castle.

In town below we sat a while, watching children play at the fountain. We walked through town looking at little booths selling gemstones. Amethyst and Rose Quartz is native to the area. Kathy found a necklace for Ollie made of rose quartz in the shape of a dolphin. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Family Visit

This visit to Germany has not only brought me to my Mama Daughter but it has also given me a chance to be with my singing brother and his wife. You know, I am a real chicken at heart and I didn't think I would fly here alone. Upon hearing that my brother was attending a conference in Frankfurt at the same time I wanted to visit was just too great an opportunity to miss. We flew her together and then he will be staying with me a while upon my return.
I was also blessed to visit with my cousin's daughter who lives a couple of hours from the MamaDaughter. She came with her partner and we talked about the differences in being German and American. My German was put to the test as I tried to express myself and ask intelligible questions. They were better at English than I am at German.
My brother and sister in-law went on up to northern Germany to visit two other cousins. We have only four living cousins left in the world. We are the generation that carry the memories of long dead ancestors and beloved parents. I am always aware that connecting past to present is like having windows and mirrors to look through. Windows because as I see into the past I am given more understanding and appreciation, and mirrors because as I see into the future I see the faces of ancestors reflected back at me.
Windows and mirrors, reflection so bright
One borrowed image, the other pure light
You are within us, you give us your sight
To vistas extended, beyond present might.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Train Came In

Today we took a drive through the rolling hills of countryside to pick up my sister-in-law. She was coming in by train. The train system, in her opinion, is great. It is comfortable and on time to the minute.

 After picking her up we decided to have lunch. The downtown by the train station did not provide easy parking so we got on the Autobahn and headed back. The Mama Daughter suggested stopping by an Airforce base where there was a huge mall. I mean mall, with Cinnabon, BurgerKing, and to be culturally in line a great German Restaurant.

 The food was wonderful.

 We had Goulash with Sauerkraut,

wiener-schnitzel and kartoffeln,

 and a really colorful and tasty salad.

 It seems silly to take pictures of it but I want to remember eating good German food.

 In the evening we were given a lovely gift to end the day. The sunset was gorgeous.

 Another day come and gone.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

German Bakery and More

On my last trip to Germany I was interested in the habit all of my hosts had of stopping by a bakery every morning for fresh bread. So Monday morning I got up and walked down into town. The road is down and up as the town sits on little hills. It was early morning and most shops were closed.

 The streets were cobblestone and often uneven; I watched my steps. Ah hah, there it was. The cases displayed an array of pastries and loaves of bread.

There were many pastries made with poppy seeds so I got one of those. Then the fresh fruit pastries showed signs of cream filling and to my surprise, marzipan. I got two of those. I had to get some croissants, just to test the flakiness. Finally, a decision whether to buy a loaf of bread or some rolls. The rolls offered a chance to try many different kinds, and I got six of those. Not all for me, of course, I had three adults and two wee ones to share my cache.
This is the view from my bedroom window. You can see the base housing across the hill. This morning promises a clear day with lots of sunshine.
Last night I put Ollie in the stroller and we went through the little quaint neighborhood to the south. These houses border the wooded hills around the town.

 I walked until I hit the open fields. There is a paved hiking trail into the woods. We heard the birds singing their evening songs and I pointed out the murmuring brook sounds although we couldn't see the water. I simply must go again with the rest of the family because this trail into the countryside is lovely.
I am off to start the day and you are all just going to bed. Goodnight!

Presents From The Front

There were presents for everyone when the Dad came home. He brought us all scarves from Afghanistan. The Mama Daughter received a purple one, Ollie a multi-colored sparkly one, and I received a black and white one which I love.
Life on a military post is strange to me. There is a mini-USA right there on base. The commissary sells American food, you can go to a library and find all the books you might at home. There currency on base is American dollars and if you never left town you would think you were in the states.
Security is tight. After getting one 24 hour pass we decided to get a longer pass. This required finger-printing, getting a picture taken, and being interviewed about my travel plans. Everyone in this family has military ID and always carries it, even the new baby who we did the paper work for today. Long waits with impatient little troopers.
Tomorrow we take a trip to pick up my sister-in-law who will be taking the train from Frankfurt. We will see Kaiserslauten, another military town, where my brother served in the Army in the 1950's, US Army that is. I will be taking more pictures to share.

Monday, May 16, 2011

When the Dad is Away Fighting in a War

My eyes have been opened a little bit as I watch my Mama Daughter cope with her family alone while her husband is deployed. Having a baby alone while others watch your two other kids is really tough. Then there is coming home with the new baby and going forward with one more child who needs you all the time. My daughter is doing remarkably well.
I was also there when Dad arrived for two weeks of R&R. The anticipation of his arrival was fun to watch. The older brother, age 15, was wondering how his Dad would react to him, the little kids were expecting fun and games again, and the Mama Daughter was excited to have him home safe for just a little while.
What does a man do, who has been in the desert, with little comforts, at all times watching for the enemy who could shoot him, when he comes through the door into the arms of his family who has been praying for him every night. Everyone wants and needs his attention and he is exhausted and stressed. The man gives his time to each family member and rests in between.
I asked,"Why did you choose this career path?" The answer is simply,"Because I am suited to this sort of work. If I don't do it, who will?" The members of their church branch get it.They are tuned in to the needs of the families. They talk about the fathers who are deployed with respect. There are more children than adults there at church. At home safe and sound in America I did not get it. I understand better, now.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

From Germany

I can't say I've seen much of Germany because I am enjoying being at home with my Mama Daughter as we get to know my new grandson Ian Michael Finley

Ian is very sweet. He has this adorable little mouth much like his sister Olivia. His hair is dark and soft. He sleeps and eats, but when he is hungry he can squeal. I am happy to hold him.
Today Ollie and I went for a walk around the neighborhood.

 She notices everything and I found myself slowing down to see the world through her eyes. Many yards had ceramic animals, which she found fascinating. A few had little waterfalls which we heard as we walked around the streets. I smelled the strong scent of lilacs. Spring is fully developed here and the air is warm. Most yards had flowers, tulips and pansies.

I am Intrigued with the German windows. They open two ways. Wide like a cupboard and tipped open at the top. Covering the window on the outside are Rolladen, which are aluminum blinds that come down to block the window at night.
As I noticed on my last visit many windows have short white lace curtains. I purchased some in Berlin last visit because I wanted to remember the window decor.
I noticed a house on the walk with solar panels. This looked unusual for the neighborhood, but perhaps common in Germany.

The ward here has been very helpful to the MamaDaughter. They have been bringing dinners which make the work less.
Jet lag hangs on today and I find I am tired in the day and not at night. It should get better in the next days. Wiedersehen!!!