Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas in Germany

Celebrating Christmas together as a family in Berlin has been a dream of Erwin and mine since our first visit to Berlin during the first week of December in 2002. We fell in love with the city and the familiarity of many of the Christmas sights and sounds that we remembered from our early childhood. We knew that we just had to one day share this with our kids, show them how Germans “do” Christmas. That year has finally come.

Germany does Christmas right.

I know that is a bold assertion, and being German I may be biased, but it just feels right. Even though I was born and raised in Canada, my parents maintained many of the traditions that they grew up with in Germany, passed them on their children and grandchildren. Erwin’s family celebrated a unique blend of Canadian (from his mom) and German (from his dad.)

In North America, we get steamrollered by the season long before anyone wants it to begin. In Germany the Christmas season officially begins with the opening of the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market) in early December. There are dozens of them throughout Berlin, probably thousands throughout Germany and the countries that border it. It is the place to buy exquisite handmade crafts and ornaments, or try the local seasonal delicacies, or just mix and mingle and people watch. Christmas markets are best seen at night. It causes the makeshift wooden stalls adorned with lights and garlands to look enchanted and adds to the magic of Christmas.

The first thing you notice is that, despite a lot of North American influence, it still maintains a semblance of “the reason for the season.” Saying “Frohe Weihnachten” (Merry Christmas), isn’t considered politically incorrect. Somehow it all seems less commercial too. From the toned down decorations (no plastic Rudolph’s and neon garlands etc.), to the use of the advent wreath to celebrate the four Sundays before Christmas, to the windows draped in greenery with glass ornaments shimmering in moonlight. Look up and there’s always a towering fir tree covered in sparkling lights. Speaking of trees, real candles on real tress is still the way to go here. I’m not joking. I bought a package of the holders and the candles that go with them for use on our tree at home next Christmas (don’t tell our insurance agent.)

The smell of Christmas is a combination of incense from the Raüchermänner (an incense cone placed inside a wooden figure which billows out perfumed coils of smoke) and the peppery-cinnamon smell of Glühwein (mulled wine, a mug of which you can walk around freely with) mixed with the aroma of Lebkuchen (gingerbread) baking. Traditional treats include Marzipanstollen (Germany’s answer to fruitcake, and people actually like it), Gebranntemandeln (cinnamon toasted almonds), Dominosteine (bite sized squares layered with gingerbread, almond paste and currant jam, covered in chocolate, yummm my fav.) and of course goose for Christmas dinner instead of turkey.

No stockings are hung by the chimney with care, however, there still is hope that St. Nicholas soon will be there. Except…. his arrival is eagerly anticipated on Christmas Eve… after it gets dark out. He comes to the door and knocks asking to be let in. He enters with a sack slung over his shoulder and distributes gifts if you've been good…or nothing if you've been bad. Santa, or der Weihnachtesmann, even looks different here, less jolly old St. Nick and more old-world charm or even a little scary at times.

As for dreaming of a white Christmas…this year that’s probably all it will be, a dream. Although we've had some snow here it’s mostly gone or turned to icy slush. I’m ok with that, it just means will have to be careful as we walk to the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral) for Christmas Eve service, or take one last look around the sights of Christmas in Germany as a family.

Frohe Weihnachten from Sylvia and Erwin

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Nürnberg Visit

This week we travelled to Nürnberg to visit the traditional "Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt".

Originating in the 16th century, it is one of the oldest in Germany, and the most famous, drawing over two million visitors from all over the world every year. Tour buses and packed trains descend on this otherwise sleepy little German town during the month of December on mass. But is a must-do for visitors to the area during the Christmas season. A quintessential experience in the lead up to Christmas.

Once we had fortified ourselves with Beer and Glühwein (you figure out who ordered what) we wandered along the various stalls or more accurately were moved along with the throng, stopping here and there to gaze at the beautifully crafted ornaments/decorations, snap some photos, listen to musicians and inhale the strange but intoxicating smells that are a combination of the fore mentioned Glühwein, frying sausages, roasted nuts, and the fuels needed to make these items edible. There is actually a smoky haze that hangs over the stalls from all the cooking and incense burners, and with all the Christmas lights twinkling through it’s delightful.


But Christkindlesmarkt isn’t the only reason we went to Nürnberg. Always the academic, Erwin planned for us to have some more cerebral activities too. The next day we toured the Dürer Haus; the residence and workplace of famous artist Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528). Erwin teaches about him in his Italy in the German Imagination course, and I’ve written a 3500 word research paper on him. So yes, we had to do this. It was very interesting to see first hand the materials he worked with and where.

 We also went to see the Kaiserburg Nürnberg. In the Middle Ages this huge complex castle was one of the most important imperial castles of the Holy Roman Empire with parts of it such as the defensive tower dating back to the 1200s still standing. We climbed the narrow twisty stairs to the top for a terrific 360° view over the city and area.

There was also time for fun and games so to speak at the Spielzeugmuseum or toy museum. It is housed in a medieval building on four floors and shows toys from the Middle Ages to the present. Fun because there were quite a few interactive displays, which of course I had to try out. Still a kid at heart. Besides I’ll never see these people again anyway. I convinced Erwin to try a game and even beat him at a magnetic table hockey type game. Yay me! I especially liked the century old beautiful and intricate doll houses. The unsettling part was finding toys that I played with as a child.Too bad photographing wasn't allowed at this museum.

Next morning we were thrilled to discover that St. Nicholas visits hotels too. Actually I knew he did, since we’ve previously spent the night of December 5-6 in German hotels and discovered treats by our door then. We’re delighted that this tradition continues.

One more thing to note, no paper cups are used for any of the beverages served at any of the stalls. You pay a 2.50€ deposit on a ceramic mug, and get a refund if/when you bring it back. My inner tree-hugger likes that. But, my Glühwein mug somehow ended up in my coat pocket. I wonder how that happened? I guess I’ll just have to keep it as a souvenir of our visit to the Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

A Day in Our Life

Our life in Berlin has definitely settled into a sort of routine, or about as close as we’re going to get to routine.

 Erwin still gets up as early as he usually does back home, about 6ish, while I sleep for two more hours. He says he writes his best at that time of day. A practice he started while in grad school with little ones in the house. We breakfast together (or rather, Erwin has breakfast and I have my usual coffee & cookie(s), and then Erwin goes back to his writing and I usually head out to explore, or visit, or shop, or bike ride, on my own for a couple of hours. There is just soooo much to see and do in Berlin and I’m afraid of missing out or not making the most out of our time here.

Even though I am what can be described as directionally or cartographically impaired, I haven’t once gotten lost here...yet. Yay me! It helps that there is this ginormous television tower visible from much of Berlin a block from our house to guide my way, plus a major subway/tram/bus/streetcar station a five minute walk away. I’ve become comfortable with various forms of public transit. Which ones go where and how long it takes. Learned how to avoid the hordes of tourists that are ever present. Learned the best times to go see what. Gained a lot more confidence in my spoken German and move between English and German with ease. Sometimes not even conscious about which language I’m speaking. Other times speaking one or the other depending on my purpose, and then gleefully watching the look on the face of the listener change, because they can’t figure out where I belong. What I hope I haven’t lost though is my Canadianess (is that a word?). I’ve been accused of being too polite, too Canadian. Germans and especially Berliners are often criticized for being brash, abrupt and abrasive….”saying it like it is” type of people. I don’t find it so, but then maybe that’s because I was raised by German parents, while living in Canada.

Anyways….back to our day. By early afternoon Erwin has usually read, researched, written enough for a day that his brain needs a break. We frequently head out for a bite to eat and do some more exploring together. What happens more often than not is that we’ll decide to see a specific exhibit, or a particular attraction and wind up stumbling across other points of interest. There’s always something new. I’m convinced that on our last day here, we’ll find something right around the corner that we never even knew was there.

Evenings, depending on the night of the week, are various. Sometimes it’s a quiet evening in to watch/catch up on American television (mostly HBO) that Erwin has “found” on the internet, or reading, or merely recounting the day's adventures and figuring out what to do next time. Other evenings we've gone to the theater, the opera, and concerts. We've attended art history lectures and gone for moon-light walks. All good. Soaked it all up.

Weekends or extended weekends are for trips. We've been to Berne, Paris, Hamburg and smaller towns closer in. We've also had visitors; friends and family who live here in Germany or near-by (hey Weeds) come for a few nights saving them or us the trip across the pond to spend time together. Another Sunday habit that Erwin has taken up is an early morning (as in 7ish) trip to the bakery to bring home fresh warm rolls, or other delightful bakery treats. There are no less than half dozen bakeries in our immediate area and some open as early as seven in the morning, seven days a week. That I know I will miss when we go home.

It’s now December and we have two months to go in Berlin. After that we move on to another city (most likely in Germany). I try not to dwell on the fact that it’s only two months to go, because the last three have flown by in a flash. There is much to look forward to this month. A trip to Nürnberg, where the Christkindlemarkt  is thought to have originated, a visit from more relatives, but most of all Christmas or Weihnachten with all my babies (2+1) together for the first time in six years. I'm a little sad that I don’t have any of our Christmas decorations, which we've accumulated over 30+ years. Or, the utensils to bake and prepare goodies the way I would on “The Rock.” But, and I know it sounds clichéd, it’s Christmas, so I’m allowed, we’ll be together. 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

T and Me in Berlin

Our daughter is visiting me from Bern again. I say me and not us, because Erwin is at this moment across the pond busy doing research at the National Archives in Washington D.C. Her husband is in Bangladesh doing U.N. stuff. BTW…interesting that one of them is five hours ahead of Berlin and the other five hours behind. So, instead of each of us being alone in our apartments while our husbands globe trot T, decided to hop on a train from Bern to Berlin so we could spend some time together. Fabulous idea!

True, that we had just seen each other at Thanksgiving, and the month before that she helped us settle in, and the month before that we met up in Heidelberg, and before that in Florence…Not to mention that she and H will be back here for Christmas. But, before all that it had been almost a year since we had been together. *sob* Even though Erwin and I have been empty-nesters, for six years now, I still really do miss my babies. I wonder where the time went. No, one told me kids grew up and move on. It’s thrilling to watch them grow into their own lives and following their dreams, I’m proud and happy for them. But it sucks the big one when that happens to be far, far from where we are living on The Rock. Skype and email and all that modern stuff only goes so far. Sometimes a mom needs to hold her babies not just in her heart but in her arms too. It’s been great that during our year here we are in the same time zone as at least one of our kids. That’s why the frequent visits.

Being close to Christmas, this visit has been especially fun. We get to shop!! Our husbands, like most husbands, aren’t fans of shopping. We understand each other when we shop. We have the ability to be brutally honest with each other about items we’re looking at or trying on, without worrying about hurt feelings. We can wonder from store to store, take our time, ponder and compare.  We can justify this because it’s Christmas of course, and we’re shopping not just for ourselves, but for others on our lists, including our husbands.

It hasn’t been all shopping; we’ve also done some touristy things, even though she’s been here before. Besides her visit to Berlin in September, Erwin and her came here on their own back in 2003, so it’s not all new. And, since she and her husband moved from Canada to Switzerland, she’s also been showing me how to manage to cook delicious meals in a poorly equipped kitchen with ingredients that are different than what I’m used to buying at home. Basically she told me “get over it mom” and “this is what you’re going to do.” She also reminds me to breathe when I get into one of my states. Gotta love her.

But, mostly it’s been about spending time together, laughing and talking, even just being in the same room together. Just mother and daughter.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Suburban Safari

Confession time. I’m wild about animals. Always have been. Maybe it’s because I never had a pet growing up because my parents believed that animals only belong on farms or zoos or places of that nature. Or maybe it’s because I early on discovered the charm and beauty that is the animal kingdom.  I even talk to them, much to the chagrin of those with me. Anyways one of my favorite activities has always been visiting animals no matter what setting.

Berlin Zoo and Aquarium is of course no exception and is truly awesome. At nearly 170 years, it is one of the oldest zoos in the world and with more than 1,500 different species, is thought to be the world’s most diverse. They have it all from aardvarks and anacondas to zebus and zenaidas and most everything in between. Including insects. Yes, they have an insectarium. EEK! That’s the only part of the zoo I haven’t been through. Or will ever go to….again. I saw the first window, once (cockroaches), and that’s it. Erwin had to keep me from collapsing into a shrieking quivering heap. My favorite...hard to pick, but I'm partial to cats...from wee kittens born in my house to lordly lions with a roar that can be heard throughout the zoo and outside it's gates.

My first visit ever to this zoo was back in 2002 and now 10 years later each return visit still is as wonderful as the first. It’s my happy place.When we arrived in Berlin in September of this year one of the first things I did was purchase an annual admission. It’s already paid for itself.  When my head gets too full of all the artsy cultural stuff and my brain needs to breathe, I spend a day at the zoo. 

Here, set to music of course, are some of the images I've taken over the last couple of months.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Nine things I miss about home.

There’s no place like home….sometimes

We are just past the three month mark of our peripatetic year and I’m still loving every moment of it. But, as time goes on there are a few things that I have begun to miss. Such as…

9.) These…
Germans don’t do crackers,
at least not that I’ve been able to find, 
especially this variety.

8.) Fresh Newfoundland seafood.
            Having grown up on the prairies nearly a thousand miles from the ocean, you’d think this wouldn't be a biggy. But we've called Newfoundland home for the last six years and have grown so used to its availability and freshness that anything else pales by comparison. Cod, mussels, scallops, you name it, it’s all fresh, inexpensive (by comparison), and delicious. It’ll just taste that much better when we get back after not having it for a year, right?

7.) Hanging my clothes outside to dry.
            The clothes dryer is a great invention, but nothing compares to hanging your bed linens outside to dry, or everything else for that matter. Sometimes I swear it’s faster than the dryer, it’s environmentally friendly and the smell is fantastic. The crisp clean Newfoundland air with its almost constant wind results in many people, particularly those in out-ports having clothes lines. I use mine nearly all the time, unless we have a long stretch of RDF weather, and then I use the dryer. Here in Berlin I have a foldable clothes drying rack that I've tried to use outside, but it’s not the same and the air in downtown Berlin is not the cleanest, so sleeping on fresh line-dried sheets will have to wait until I get home.

6.) Clown Rounds
This is my alter ego “Sylly”.
I volunteer at the Health Sciences Centre (General Hospital) in St. John's as a therapeutic clown. It can at times be both mentally and physically draining, but I don’t care. It is loads of fun! 
Sometimes I don’t know who gets more out if it me or the patients.

5.) Driving to get groceries
I miss filling up the back of this thing, then filling my fridge, freezer and pantry, and not needing to go back to a grocery store for a while. Now I bring home what I or the two of us can carry, which amounts to maybe a day or two worth. Won’t that be fun in the winter through ice and snow?!

4.) My kitchen
            The kitchen here in the apartment is equipped pretty well considering. But it just has the basics with a couple of extras thrown in like a Martini shaker and espresso maker; though I especially like the induction cook-top and the self-closing cupboards and drawers. Whereas my kitchen utensils and appliances at home have been accumulated over many many years plus I have a very well stocked pantry with specialized items. We make do and improvise, and if all else fails there are literally dozens of restaurants of all manner cuisine within a stone’s throw.

3.) Peace and quiet.
            I grew up in a big city, have lived in one most of my life, and appreciate all that they offer but…. the place we've called home the last six years is a nearly 2 acre piece of property at the end of a dead end street in small town in Newfoundland. We love it for all sorts of reasons, but most of all its peace and quiet. We can sleep with the window open listening to the rustle of the wind in the trees. Ahhhh. Whereas here we live in the middle of the middle of constant downtown racket.

2.) Punky
My 15 year old cuddly cat and I have a routine. Every evening after I've settled in bed, she comes by, sits on my chest, and we spend a few minutes schmoozing and cuddling before I go to sleep. She also likes sitting on my lap while I’m at the computer. We also have a 1 year old cat named Stanza who we've trained to play fetch. I know they are being looked after very well by K & S (our house-sitters), but I miss them both and worry that they’ll have forgotten me when we come home next year.

1. Walks with M
            Most of all though, I miss my walks with my dear friend and hiking buddy M. We've gone on walks/hikes together along the trails and cliffs that are literally a few moments’ from our front doors at least twice, sometimes three times a week over the last few years, venturing out in almost all kinds of weather and trail conditions. Among other things, being a retired teacher, born and raised in the area she’s taught me a lot about Newfoundland and I in turn have taught her about what it’s like coming from the prairie. We walk and talk enjoying each others company and marveling at this beautiful scenery.

 This picture was taken on the last hike we went on just a couple of days before Erwin and I left. It’s taken at the bottom of Gallows Cove Road, looking out over the ocean towards Torbay point.

This picture was taken during that same walk, and as luck would have it, even a whale came by to wish me bon voyage. You can just make out his spout/spray near the center of the picture under the seagull.

M, I’ll meet you at our usual spot at the usual time on July 29th 2013, ok?

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Lunch Date

One of our recent walks took us past Tom’s Fritten; a chip wagon that sells the absolute best french fries I have ever tasted. Honest. The place is about a 20 minute walk from our apartment, and yes, they are worth the 20 minute walk. The place offers hand-cut, hand-made, peel-still-on fries made to order. The generous portions can then be topped with your choice of 20+ sauces. Everything from plain old ketchup & mayo (yuck) to peanut to gremolata to….what ever.

I ordered Jägersoße (Hunter sauce) and Erwin ordered Indisches (Indian) curry. 

Just as I was polishing off my serving I had a guest brazenly plunk themselves down and ask if they could have some too. Being a total animal lover, even if their table manners leave something to be desired, I gave my last fry to this little darling.

If you look closely at the picture you’ll see that he/she has only one eye. Which may be either the reason or the result of his brazenness. Either way he was way too adorable. So I quickly fumbled for my camera, hoping he wouldn't startle and fly off before I snapped these few pics.

He quickly realized that I was finished, (Erwin had finished his too so I couldn't steal any from his dish) and flew off without so much as a “thanks for lunch.” But, his visit to our table still made my day.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

In my travels these last three months I've come across many interesting signs that have caught my attention for one reason or another. Here's a small sampling

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Weekend in Paris - Part II

As promised, here is a slide show of our trip to Paris, the song "La Vie En Rose" is sung by Edith Piaf.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Weekend in Paris

A trip to Paris has always been a dream of mine and this past weekend that dream finally came true. It was actually my anniversary gift from Erwin. We passed the 32 year mark a month ago. That day I came home from spending a few hours at the zoo and Erwin surprised me with the flight reservations and having cashed in his hotel points for a four night stay at a fancy pants hotel in central Paris . What a sweetheart. I think I’ll keep him.

We arrived in Paris on Thursday late afternoon just in time for rush-hour traffic. Erwin being the seasoned traveler always opts for a cab from airport to hotel. Our aggressive but careful driver got us through the zany traffic as we got our first glimpses of this remarkable city. The architecture is stunning, which we discovered even more so once we started walking the streets and neighborhoods.

We checked the weather forecast and discovered that the weekend didn't look to promising. On top of that I was still trying to get over horrible cold which I had graciously passed on to Erwin. Oh well, were still in Paris right? So we’ll make the most of it.

Friday morning turned out to be nicest of all with mostly clear blue skies. We strolled down the famous tree-lined Champs-Elysées from Place de la Concord to the Arc de Triomphe, stood in a surprisingly short line to scale the 286 steps to the top for a fabulous view of nearly all the top landmarks in Paris. It’s definitely worth the climb. There’s no better way to appreciate just how grand and impressive this city is than from above!

Having climbed the Arc, and because we were struggling with being sick, we decided against actually going up the Eifel Tower, besides we had lots of pics of it. We opted instead to look for La Maison du Chocolat which had been recommended (thanks B.M.) for the best éclairs ever. They did not disappoint. Later that day I briefly went shopping; you can’t go to Paris and not shop, by that time we were too sick to do much more.

Saturday we awoke to rain, which incidentally didn’t stop until just before we left Monday morning of course.  We visited the Musée du Louvre, home of the Mona Lisa. This massive museum has to be done in parts; you have to pick and choose what you want to see. I read somewhere that if you spent only 30 seconds looking at each item it would take 3 months to go through the whole place. Yikes! So we fought the crowds around the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo and then went to see some art of the eras and artisans we prefer such as Rembrandt, Dürer, Raphael etc. After about three hours our brains were full, patience with crowds running short, and energy level at low.

Sunday morning we awoke to more rain and still battling colds, but we fought on. Off to see the majestic Notre Dame Cathedral. We arrived just as mass was starting, but surprisingly it’s still open for viewing, as long as no flash cameras are you used and you keep quiet. This gothic masterpiece dates back 950 years and on this day was a feast for the senses; the sound of the organ, the smell of the incense, the stained glass and carved figures, the feel of the centuries old wood. A very touching experience.

Monday morning, just before our flight, we went for another visit to the quiet cozy café around the corner from the hotel for what had become our usual breakfast of croissants and hot chocolate and double espresso for Erwin. It was there we decided that we definitely have to come back to Pairs again, but preferably when it’s not raining and we’re not sick.

Next time we’d like to take in a show at the Moulin Rouge, and maybe visit the Pere-Lachaise graveyard of celebrities like, Sarah Bernhardt, Frédéric Chopin, Jim Morrison, Gertrude Stein, and Oscar Wilde. Or maybe visit the catacombs or the original site of the Paris guillotine, or do a sewer tour for morbid and grim but fascinating lessons of Parisian history. There is so much to do in Paris and not enough time. Then of course there’s the food to come back too, even in crazy busy places we had no bad meal or bad service for that matter anywhere, it was all soooo good, all I can say is “more please.”

Contrary to what we thought would happen we didn’t run into any rude waiters, or impolite Parisians…those were the fellow tourists. I’ve been to New York and London and Rome, among many other world cities, and now living in Berlin. Pairs is different. Berlin is brash. Paris is refined. Not that one is better than the other, just a different observation. I think Paris is a city to be savored and enjoyed slowly, the art, the food, the twists and turns of its story…it’s what will draw us back.

For those of you haven’t seen Erwin’s pictures of our trip to Paris that he posted on Facebook or want to see some more or different ones, I’m working on a video post which will hopefully be up tomorrow.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Berne & Lucerne

When our daughter and son-in-law decided to move to Switzerland last year we were super excited for them. Still are of course. What could be better than getting to live in a post card and getting paid to do it? Plus, now that we’re in the same time zone for at least a little while we get to see each other way more often.

So we decided that since we’re all Canadians and used to a family dinner of turkey & stuffing on the second weekend in October, we would celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving together at their place in Berne Switzerland. By the way, Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Europe the way it is in North America. Not even close. Some churches may have a special harvest service, but that’s about it.

Erwin has been to visit T & H in Switzerland a couple of times, in fact he even found their apartment for them, but I have only seen the dramatic scenery in the pictures that T posts on her blog and on FB. Besides wanting to share Thanksgiving dinner with them I also wanted to see this post card they live in for myself. So we took a very loooong but direct train from Berlin to Berne with frozen turkey pieces (meat is stupid expensive there) and German dill pickles in our suitcase to spend the weekend with them.

Weather wise wasn’t too bad, could have been worse. The Alps that are visible from their balcony were hazy, and a mist had settled in the valley and over Lac Lucerne, but the sun did break through enough at times in order to give a glimpse.

We packed a lot into the few days; in spite of the horrible-terrible-lost-my-voice-very-bad- cold that I had. We strolled the cobblestone streets of Berne, peeking into shops here and there, stopping for Glühwein (me) and Beer (them) and to people watch.
A Bernese mountain dog relaxing at an outdoor cafe in Berne...cliche I know, but I had to take this photo...bought my self a stuffed one, since the owner probably wouldn't have let me take this one.
One of the restaurants is right beside a bear pit, it's even called the Bärengraben (bearpit) Brasserie.

We went to the Swiss Toy Convention which happened to be going on in Berne .... lots of fun.
Scarey rolling balance thing.

For a moment I did consider buying an 18000 piece puzzle

A trip to the Communications Museum was also in order...the research part of this trip.

The name of the computer exhibits. Geek humour.
We had on like that...I feel sooo old.
We also took the hour long train from Berne through the beautiful Swiss country side to Lucerne to visit the glass factory. 

*Insert imaginary non-hazy-drizzly-foggy alpine photo not taken from a moving train here*
There we got to try our hand our more accurately our mouth at blowing our won Christmas Tree ornament.
Erwin blows...LOL
Liquid glass ready to be molded.

 We of course enjoyed our turkey dinner, and Skyped with our son in Lloydminster, Alberta...

 ...soooo thankful for family and spending time with them not matter how or where.