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A few photos from last night’s wine stand…

The weather was so beautiful yesterday. It was about 74 degrees, sunny, and breezy. I was actually a bit tempted to just sit in the backyard and enjoy music and the gorgeous weather. But it was Friday night wine stand time, and pretty soon, those will be ending for the winter. So we got Noyzi and went down to the Dorfplatz, walking down some steps at the church’s community building, because someone is building a house next to the narrow alley that leads down there and they have the alley blocked off.

We decided to sit on the other side of the Dorfplatz last night, because someone beat us to our usual spot and they had a dog with them. Noyzi is very friendly to other dogs, but he can be kind of noisy and fidgety. So we found a spot on a bench and enjoyed some wine in the late summer September sun. Noyzi got to meet several dogs and their owners, including one dog that looked a bit like a setter or a pointer. I think they would have had a good time frolicking if they’d had the opportunity.

A good time was had by all… and then when the sun went down, we went back to our house and had burgers. Unfortunately, we had a slight mishap last night that required a middle of the night laundry run. But then we slept in until about 8:00 AM. I haven’t done that in ages!

I’m not sure what we’ll do today. Once again, the weather is perfect. I love this time of year, and I appreciate living in a little village where we can have these fun evenings with our neighbors. It’s always fun watching Noyzi blossom into the dog he was meant to be. He’s so sweet and gentle, even toward little dogs. He met a couple of them last night, too, and was very good.

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anecdotes

The first September wine stand of 2023…

Happy Saturday, y’all. It’s cool and overcast today, and Bill is preparing for another TDY in Bavaria. I’m not sure what we’ll do, but it looks like the weather may not be optimal. We’ve sure had a mild summer this year… lots of rain and temperatures that weren’t very oppressive. I’m grateful for that. Coming from Virginia originally, I know what it’s like to feel like you need gills to breathe. We have had a few warm, humid days this year, but it’s really not been too bad at all. And pretty soon, after next week’s warm spell, it will get chilly and Fall will truly be upon us.

When Fall arrives in Germany, so do a lot of fun harvest related festivals. But, at the end of October, the wine stands end… I always find that sad, because the wine stands are a lot of fun, especially for Noyzi. We went to the one in our village last night, and Noyzi got to work on his social skills, make new friends, and enjoy a change of scenery. I got some photos of our fun.

You’ll notice there are also election candidates’ signs, which I took photos of a couple of days ago while walking Noyzi through the Dorfplatz. It’s always interesting to see what German politicians focus on when it comes time for elections. The first five photos are from a couple of days ago, while the ones with Noyzi and sunshine were taken last night.

Noyzi was a bit excited at first, but after about 45 minutes, he settled down. He also got to meet one of our neighbors, who was understanding when we explained that Noyzi is from Kosovo, which isn’t a very dog friendly place. He was abused before we got him, so he gets nervous around men. However, he’s come a LONG way, and calms down quickly when he realizes that someone is being friendly. He loves people, and he LOVES wine stands and Biergartens.

Something funny did happen last night. There’s a somewhat young looking couple in Breckenheim who sometimes attend the wine stands. They have two little kids. One is obviously a girl, but the jury is out on the other child, who is still very young. I thought it was a girl, but Bill thought it was a boy child. I guess we’ll know soon enough.

Anyway, the children’s father is a very gentle looking guy… kind of short and slender, with a beard and shoulder length blond hair. He actually looks like a shyer, younger version of the husband half of a LDS couple I knew when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the mid 1990s (they were my colleagues, not missionaries πŸ˜‰ ). Every time I see this guy, I am reminded of Jason from Armenia. Both men are very “granola” looking, although by now, Jason is probably twice the local guy’s age.

So, this local beaded guy was wearing a down vest last night, as he was shepherding his small children. I was admiring how very patient and attentive he was toward his kids, playing with them, and making sure they didn’t get into any trouble. The children got a bit close to Noyzi, who was a little spooked. He doesn’t spend a lot of time with little kids, although I’m sure he would enjoy them if he got to know them– as long as they didn’t make too many fast moves.

Bearded guy comes up to Bill and asks in German if Noyzi minds children. Bill told him in German that Noyzi is friendly. I looked up at the beaded guy and immediately noticed that he had a baby doll hanging out of his vest! I was immediately charmed by that! What a great dad! Obviously, he was being a good Opa to his little girl’s baby. It was very cute, and my respect grew by leaps and bounds as he herded the children away from Noyzi.

There were a couple of other kids climbing up on the chest where the chess pieces are kept. Our Dorfplatz has a chessboard built into the brick floor of the village square. The kids were picking the grapes that grow in one corner of our Dorfplatz. Nobody seemed to mind… it looked to me like the grapes were about to turn into raisins, anyway.

We also saw our neighbor’s mother, a lovely, elderly matriarch who, I fear, is starting to suffer from the troubles that come with aging. We hadn’t seen her in awhile. She broke her leg a few months ago, and then seemed to be dealing with some confusion. She looked like she’s lost some weight, and I noticed she didn’t speak to us in English, as she had been up until around April or so.

I saw the same thing happen to our old Greek restaurant owning friend, the late “Mad Scientist” of Entringen, down near Stuttgart. He used to speak perfect English, having spent years working as an engineer in Canada. Then he moved to Germany with his second wife, learned German, and opened his restaurant. When we met him in 2007, he was married to wife number three, and joked about Barack Obama.

When we came back to Germany in 2014 or so, he was noticeably slower and spoke English less fluently… and then he couldn’t really speak it at all. I was sad when I read about his death in 2020. He was a good friend to us. I’m glad we were able to come back to his place, Agais, a few more times when we moved back to the Stuttgart area.

Anyway… we had a good time last night, didn’t stay too late, or drink too much. Noyzi was very good, and I don’t think any of us offended anyone. I love the wine stands and other community events in our little village. People are very relaxed and nice here. The wine helps! I feel grateful to be a part of it.

Below is a short video I took of Noyzi, who was grinning and having a great time, as always!

This dog could be a total social butterfly, given the chance. He loves a party!

Well, I don’t know what we’re going to do today… I’d like to go do something fun, preferably somewhere we haven’t been. Our motivation is lacking lately, though… I guess that’s what happens when you live somewhere so long that it starts to feel too familiar.

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housekeeping tips

All new adventures in German laundry… and last night’s festivities!

The last fifteen hours or so have been rather eventful. First off, last night the two day Breckenheimer Dorfplatzfest began. Ordinarily, last night would have just been a regular wine stand night, but the local culture club held its annual festival. So basically, it was like a supersized wine stand with beer, food, and live music. They had brats and burgers, along with fries (pommes) and wild potatoes with tzatziki.

Our neighbor and multi-talented veterinarian, Dr. Konrad Blendinger, was there with his pop ensemble, providing entertainment as friends and neighbors gathered in the village “square”. Dr. Blendinger plays guitar and even wrote a song about Breckenheim, which he sang last night. When he’s not playing music, Dr. Blendinger is well-known for his prowess in breeding dogs. Like, he’s world renowned for it– and people come from all over for his services. I even caught him admiring Noyzi when we brought him to a wine stand. Noyzi will never be a father, though. πŸ˜‰

Bill and I had a pretty good time, although we were joined by an older German couple who didn’t speak English. There were also a few women there, one of whom was one we met on prior occasions. She asked us where Noyzi was. We left him at home, because we figured it would be too loud and busy for him. She nodded her approval.

We impressed them with our ability to enjoy wine, then they brought over some guy who spoke Russian. I spoke Armenian to him… πŸ˜‰ I did so to be funny, not because the Russian and Armenian languages have anything in common. Of course, I didn’t expect him to speak Armenian, and I’m actually glad he didn’t, because I have forgotten a lot of it myself. I guess I just get tired of people assuming all Americans are monolingual. The guy got up and walked away. πŸ˜€ Oh well.

I also had occasion to use the new toilet that was installed last year. The fest was canceled last year because it was being built. As you can see from the photos, it’s pretty snazzy. This time, no one walked in on me, either. They put up directions in German and English!

I got some photos and videos of the festivities.

We had a good time, but unfortunately, I overdid the wine quite a bit. This morning, I look like I got in a fight. Oh well…

As if having a hangover wasn’t bad enough, Bill greeted me with the news that there’s an issue with our washer. I bought the washer brand new from Amazon.de nine years ago next month. For the past couple of years, it’s been in decline. There’s a problem with the door sensor, so that it doesn’t close properly unless you bang the shit out of it. This morning, Bill tried to do a very light load and the cycle quit at about five minutes.

I drained the machine, which made a big mess… then I determined it was time to buy a new washer and dryer. Our dryer is functioning, but it has an annoying squeak that I can hear all the way upstairs, and it’s just a very no frills Turkish model that is too small and isn’t that great.

I spent the last hour or so agonizing over which brand to buy. The washer we have now is an LG, and it’s not bad… and I know how to use it, for the most part. But I wanted to get one as soon as possible, so I ended up buying a Siemens washer and dryer. I figure if they turn out to be smart devices (and I think they are), I’ll only have to download one app. Plus, I could get them delivered on the same day. Hopefully, they’ll work out fine. I paid a little extra for the delivery guys to hook everything up and take away the old appliances.

These new machines are quite a bit more expensive than the old ones were– naturally. I think I paid just over $1600 (about 700 euros each, before VAT and delivery) for the pair, whereas I see I paid about 600 euros for my old dryer (no longer available) and 370 euros for the old washer (which I now see is also no longer available and gets poor reviews– it probably didn’t when I bought it). But I think they’ll be easier to use, and they’ll hold more. I got the 9 kilogram size, instead of the 7, which is what I’ve been using. I would have liked to have gone for the biggest one they offered, but doing that would have significantly reduced my choices. Also, we have to make sure we can get the appliances through the doors and down into the basement.

I mainly decided to buy the models I did because they got mostly good reviews, weren’t super expensive, and could be delivered as soon as Tuesday. I do a lot of laundry, so this is a good thing. The bigger size should make it easier to do laundry, too. I think I got a condenser dryer, which will be a new thing for me. I tried to find one that vents, because that’s what I’m used to, but they didn’t seem to have them available. So, now I get to learn how to use a condenser dryer.

I’m already feeling a lot better than I was earlier. I took some Advil and ate breakfast, which helped a lot. The Dorfplatzfest starts up again at 2:00 PM, but I’m not sure if we’ll go today. Bill is talking about brewing some beer… and I sure don’t want to start tomorrow like I’ve started today.

In other news, we have some pretty wild flowers in our backyard… They came from the bee bombs I planted a few months ago.

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Hessen

Last night’s *very interesting* wine stand!

In one week, we’ll be in Norway, starting our long awaited two week vacation. Believe me, we’re ready to go. But, for the time being, we’re still hanging out here in Germany, enjoying the sunny, summery weather. I love the mild temperatures and sunshine, but it does have a tendency to make our house a little “clammy”. I think German houses just have a tendency to hold on to heat, which is great for most of the year. In the summer, maybe not so much…

In any case, we had a wine stand last night, so we decided to attend. And now that Noyzi has been to a few of them, he insists on attending, too. I will admit that last night, I was kind of thinking that maybe I’d rather stay in. But Bill was in the mood to mingle, and apparently Noyzi was, too. He made LOTS of new local friends last night.

As we were about to turn to go down the hill, we ran into a German kindergarten teacher named Susie whom we met a few weeks ago. She has an Italian former truffle hunting dog named Billy. She didn’t have Billy with her last night, but Noyzi still recognized her. After saying hello, she walked slightly past us. Noyzi started dragging me down the hill, barking enthusiastically. He wanted Susie to pet him! LOL… I’m sure she thinks he needs schooling, and we probably shouldn’t encourage this. However, it legitimately was an adorable sight, especially since Noyzi used to be terrified of strangers.

I know Noyzi was extremely happy to see Susie, but I also think he knew the wine stand was going on, and was super excited to go to it. It’s like a whole new social aspect of his personality has come out. I think Noyzi likes going to the wine stands because they are held in a familiar place, and he knows some of the people and dogs who attend. Last night, he was more relaxed than he has EVER been in public. Several times, he sat and even laid down on his own.

We talked to several of our neighbors, and met a few new people, including one guy who was wearing a t-shirt advertising a specific brand of African beer that Bill likes. The combination of the beer t-shirt and the guy’s attraction to Noyzi ended up being great icebreakers. It turned out the guy was German, but had lived in Kenya for years. He and his wife live in Breckenheim now, which is a bit safer than Kenya is. Apparently, his mom is a Kenyan citizen now, and she and her husband own a coffee farm. There was a lot more to the conversation, which eventually devolved into a discussion of global issues and the troubling American mindset that we agreed probably comes from people never traveling outside of the USA. I genuinely enjoyed talking to the guy. Maybe we’ll see him again.

In the midst of our chat, we also watched the children of Breckenheim happily playing. A local guy had them gathered around at the church, where he told stories. Later, a cat visited, and was completely unfazed by Noyzi. I watched a little boy climb up a sign pole and was amazed by his upper body strength. We could hear Billy barking for Noyzi, since Billy’s owners live in a house right by our Dorfplatz. And we also saw our next door neighbor’s 85 year old mom, who was finally walking without her cane after having broken her leg earlier in the spring. She was looking good.

Noyzi charmed the owner of the local pizzeria, an Italian man named Fabi who used to work with dogs in Romania. He very kindly brought out some water for Noyzi, as well as some meat. When Noyzi finished drinking the bowl, Fabi brought out some more water and treats. Noyzi was delighted, and I could see that he was enjoying making friends with so many people. He really is a very lovely dog who enjoys interacting with all people and animals. All of our dogs have been special to us, but Noyzi truly is a unique soul. He’s a true canine ambassador!

I took lots of pictures…

We really do enjoy the social events in our village. Unfortunately, we’ll miss the next wine stand, which I believe will actually be the wine festival that they had in September last year. But the good news is, we’re missing that event because, by the 23rd of June, we’ll be in Sweden, boarding the Regent Seven Seas Splendor, and taking a weeklong cruise in the Baltic Sea. So, stay tuned to see the travel blog become an actual travel blog again… at least for a few weeks! πŸ˜‰

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Hessen, markets

Eating for the sake of educating…

Bill is taking a few days off work because he worked so many hours earlier this month. We had thought that maybe we might go somewhere for the weekend, but then decided against it, due to the big trip we have planned for next month. Yesterday happened to be the day of our weekly market in our village of Breckenheim, and Bill’s daughter, who lives in Utah and has never been abroad, had asked Bill about German sausages. Her mother had told her about them, but she couldn’t really picture them.

In the interest of educating Bill’s daughter about Brats (the non-human kind, anyway), we decided to go to the market to have sausages, since there are always Bratwursts available at the local events. I had originally intended to have a Bratwurst, too, but then I noticed the Middle Eastern Feinkost had what appeared to be a delicious falafel and hummus sandwich available. So I had that, instead of a Bratwurst, then enjoyed my very first “spaghetti Eis” for dessert. Spaghetti Eis is vanilla ice cream that looks like spaghetti and is served with strawberry sauce. I had never had it before yesterday. The ice cream truck had somewhat limited choices. πŸ˜‰

We also brought home some other fresh goodies from the market, including a couple of pieces of different cakes that were made by local ladies. I look forward to trying those today.

Here is a video and a few photos of yesterday’s haul. We really had a great time, and the weather could not have been better! We love the weekly market, although we don’t always go, because by the time Bill gets home from work, it’s about over. It only runs from 1:00 until 6:00, and Bill usually gets home right after 5:00 PM. Noyzi is getting somewhat better at going to these events. It helped that the market isn’t as crowded in the early afternoon as the wine stands usually are. There is a wine stand tonight, and if we’re home, we’ll probably attend.

And here’s a hastily produced video of our adventures… The food was so delicious yesterday! I probably should have enjoyed more of that than the wine… πŸ˜‰

I hope that sandwich hasn’t disintegrated!

It looks like we have similarly nice weather in store for today. Maybe we’ll get out of the house and do something fun. Or maybe not… πŸ˜€

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Health, Sundays

Bill is all gimpy and grumpy today…

We ended up not going out to dinner last night, because yesterday morning, Bill fell while he was walking Noyzi. He turned his ankle. Then he put on shoes and went to work for a couple of hours, which made the pain and his mobility in the ankle worse.

When Bill got home from work, he was complaining about the pain. So I said that maybe we should just stay in so he could rest his ankle. This week is going to be very busy for him at work, and then on Thursday, he’s going on a TDY assignment that will last until the following weekend. He’ll be working nights, which will be hell for him, because he’s very much a day person whose brain goes down with the sun.

I’ll be sitting at home, probably shopping for more stuff to take on our trip or put in the garden…

I just bought a new hairdryer, not for my hair, but for the freezer. Our kitchen has an old fridge and it has to be defrosted. I decided using a hairdryer was the best way to accomplish that goal, since the fridge can’t be easily unplugged, because it’s built into the wall. And I got a new hairbrush, too, with an olive wood handle and boar hair bristles. It’s taking time to get used to it.

At least it’s sunny and somewhat warm out today. I took Noyzi for a walk and got some pretty new flower pictures for my photo stream. Here are a few for your own amusement. The last three photos are of the creek in our village. I’m glad I can count on my very fastidious neighbors to provide me with some lovely flowers to shoot with my camera. If anything, they’re a reminder that winter is finally over.

Our village is having Maifeuer– a bonfire– tonight in the Mother’s Day Shack on the northern edge of town. They will have sausages and beer on offer, as they light a bonfire, I guess, in honor of Whit Sunday. I might like to attend the event, but Bill says he can’t walk that far… He’s also been feeling guilty about not going to work today. Hello! It’s SUNDAY!!!!

Edited to add: My German friend reminds me that the bonfire wasn’t for Whit Sunday/Monday. It was for Walpurgisnacht… which I had completely forgotten about. You’d think after so many years living here, I wouldn’t forget these holidays. But sometimes, we’re not in town, and we never seem to take part in the festivities. I would have liked to have gone to the bonfire last night, but it was probably better to stay home and drink wine. πŸ˜‰ Today, there’s a picnic going on, as it’s a holiday in Germany… but not for Americans.

I guess it just goes to show you that some Soldiers never really clock out. Bill is always going to have a “mission first” mentality, much to my occasional annoyance. I do appreciate that he has such a strong work ethic, but sometimes it’s a good thing to realize that the world won’t stop if you take a break and rest up. And given the condition of his ankle, that might be a good idea, because he won’t have the chance next weekend.

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Hessen

Noyzi makes new friends at the wine stand!

Here’s a very quick post about last night’s wine stand, which was blessed with sunshine and relatively warm temperatures (for a change). Recently, we’ve been bringing Noyzi, the Kosovar wonderdog, to the wine stands. We hope to get him a little more socialized and used to crowds, noise, and people.

Noyzi has made a lot of progress since we adopted him in October 2020. When we first got Noyzi, he was afraid of most people, especially men. Now, he’s still a little nervous and skittish, but he clearly loves people and wants to interact. And he’s very gentle– not a single aggressive bone lies in his massive doggie body.

We probably would have gone to the wine stand last night, no matter what, but we did have a good reason to celebrate last night. Bill got a very nice raise yesterday. He gets them yearly, but this year, it was double the size of last year’s raise. So we definitely raised a glass or two to that.

We got to tell Noyzi’s story to a German couple who were intrigued by him. They spoke a little English, we spoke even less German, but we still managed to bond over our street dogs. It turned out the couple has one, too. I think they said theirs was from Romania.

Noyzi was pretty fidgety at the wine stand last night, but a quick walk around the Dorfplatz helped him calm down a bit. I think by the end of the summer, the wine stand will be old hat to Noyzi and he will be much better in public places. After about an hour, he was settling down enough that I thought he might even lie down, but we never quite made it to that point.

We met another guy with his big brown dog, Sam. Noyzi and Sam hit it off famously. As we were leaving, Noyzi made a point of saying goodbye to his new canine village friend. One thing that makes Noyzi good at the wine stand is that he’s relatively quiet. We seldom brought Zane and Arran to these events because they were both pretty loud and obnoxious, and they had each other to hang out with. Noyzi is a totally different kind of dog, and I think he will eventually become really good at these gatherings.

Below are a few photos from our excursion to the Dorfplatz… I also included a couple I took yesterday morning on our walk.

And here are a couple of short videos… One is of Noyzi as we were about to go to the wine stand, and the other is of our very full village brook, which is really rushing right now. I suspect that pretty soon, the heavy rain will stop, and the creek will be much shallower and slower.

Noyzi used to be afraid of leashes and Bill. Now he loves both, and enjoys excursions. He likes people and other dogs, too, even if he is a bit nervous.
The creek is FULL. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it this high.
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anecdotes, Police

A brief interaction with the Polizei…

A hearty “vielen dank” to Wikimedia Commons contributor Garitzko, who has kindly and graciously released the featured photo of the Polizei car into the public domain. I am grateful.

Yesterday, I had an unexpected encounter with the local police. It’s all because I impulsively ordered a new bookshelf for our bedroom. The new shelf is part of my quest to make our house more livable and less cluttered. I also bought a new “trolley” for our bathroom, to put toiletries and cleaning supplies in, as we don’t have a built in cabinet or closet. I got tired of seeing random stuff strewn all over the bathroom, and the pile of dusty books on my nightstand was getting out of hand. While I was at it, I also ordered fancy new toilet brushes! Maybe they will arrive today.

I feel somewhat accomplished, finally buying this trolley after four years in this house… It arrived a couple of hours after the minor police drama, and seems to have done the trick of giving me a new place for my stuff.

So what does this Amazon.de shopping spree have to do with my interaction with the local cops? Well, it seems that the shelf was shipped to me via GLS, which is a company that delivers parcels. The guy who was delivering the shelf was apparently “lost”, and he rang my neighbor’s doorbell, looking for my house. He claimed I wasn’t home, although I was actually home all morning.

Recently, someone in our neighborhood Facebook group posted about random people who seemed to be casing the neighborhood, possibly looking for places to burgle. I guess, to my neighbors, the delivery guy looked and acted like he might have been up to no good.

My neighbors got suspicious and called the cops, perhaps because they were going to start their vacation yesterday, and were worried about a break in while they were gone. I was none the wiser when this was happening, as I was writing a post on my regular blog and practicing guitar.

Anyway, the delivery guy eventually found my house, rang my doorbell, and dropped off the new shelf, even bringing it into the house for me. I appreciated that, given the rainy weather and the item’s cumbersome size. I still had to haul it upstairs, but aside from being kind of hard to carry, it wasn’t too heavy.

The shelf was very easy to set up– took maybe two minutes, once I opened the box. I moved our laundry hamper and set up the shelf where the hamper had been, then put the books that needed a new home on it. Then I went downstairs to do my daily routine dog poop search and destroy mission in the backyard.

I had just collected and bagged a fresh pile of Noyzi’s shit, and was about to take it to the grey bin, when the doorbell rang again. This time, it was my neighbor wanting to ask about the delivery. In my hand, I still had the bright red bag of fresh dog crap, recently deposited by Noyzi, the Kosovar wonderdog. I tried to hold it out of sight as I spoke to my neighbor.

Who knew this new shelf would cause such a ruckus?

My neighbor asked me about the delivery. I said I had just received it. His wife came over and asked me more questions. I got the sense that maybe she was the one who was suspicious about the delivery man. I reassured them that yes, I had bought a new bookshelf, and the guy– who was admittedly a little unkempt– had dropped it off a short while ago. I was kind of wanting to hurry up the interrogation, so I could finally rid myself of the bag of crap.

Then, they went back to speak to the male and female police officers. I dashed out to the trash cans so I could throw away Noyzi’s poop. I was dressed in my nightgown, and it was still steadily raining. Nevertheless, the cops wanted to talk to me, too, and tried starting a conversation in the middle of our cul-de-sac. I looked up at the sky and suggested we talk on my stoop, which has benefit of a balcony for shelter from the rain.

The cops asked me to explain everything that happened, right down to showing them the label of my box, verifying that it was delivered by GLS. I described what I remembered of the man and his white van. Then they asked for my phone number, which I struggled to recall, since I don’t call myself or give that number out to too many people.

I noticed, as I was talking to the cops, that they were both VERY young looking. They looked like they were in their early 20s. The woman was quite pretty, too. Both of them spoke English, and they were very polite and even pleasant, and not in the typical “American” sense. Germans, as a rule, are more formal than Americans are.

Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of U.S. based police videos, and I’ve noticed a lot of the American cops are pretty horrible. In fairness, so are a lot of the people they have to deal with… so I guess it’s understandable that they’d be the way they are.

Still, I was quite impressed by the German cops I spoke to yesterday. They were very mature, thorough, and professional, even though they looked like they were barely adults. They took my neighbor’s complaint seriously, even though it was probably clear to them that the delivery was legit, and not some guy looking to break into their house while they’re gone. My non-existent hat is off to them!

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customs

Raising a glass to Arran…

Breckenheim had a wine stand last night. We decided to attend, so we could salute Arran in style. Noyzi came with us, because we’re hoping to get him more used to people. We’d like to be able to take him more places. Besides, he genuinely loves people, but he’s scared of those he doesn’t know. Taking him out in the village is a good way to help him get more socialized.

We enjoyed a few glasses of local wine and talked to some of our neighbors. We told them about Arran, and how we lost him yesterday morning. I wondered if they thought we were weird for going out… We ran into our landlady– or, the wife of our landlord. I think she’s the one who legally owns our house, since her brother built it. She asked where Arran was, and we told her what happened.

It struck me as kind of strange. When we lost Zane, our landlords didn’t know until over a year later. That’s how much privacy they give us, even though we’re next door neighbors. Our former landlady probably would have known within days, even though she didn’t live next door.

Anyway, we said we’d seen her artwork at the neighborhood art show in the fall. She laughed, and said that wasn’t her artwork. It seems there’s another woman in our village with the same name. She’s much older. The landlady said she’s always having to tell people she isn’t the same person! Either way, the artwork was beautiful. Our landlady has a nice sense of style, too. She was wearing a pretty scarf. Maybe that reveals a certain artistic bent.

We also met an English speaking guy who hailed from the Nagold area and moved to Breckenheim. He said he used to work as a waiter at a nightclub in Stuttgart. One night, the deejay was very late coming in, and he was flanked by two police officers when he finally did show up. I guess the show didn’t go on that night.

It was a pretty average wine stand, but I did get a nice video of the neighborhood horses passing, as well as a few photos…

I love this about our village… horses, wine, and dogs. Who could ask for more?

It was nice to get our and enjoy the onset of spring… and now we can make some travel plans. We’re long overdue for a trip. After three years of road trips, I might even be convinced to fly on a plane and go somewhere further afield.

Cheers to Arran, who is no longer suffering, and no longer has cancer or needs chemo… and doesn’t have to worry about trying to jump up on our too tall bed. I like to think of his soul finally free of his sick, but very strong body. The featured photo is the second to the last one we have of Arran. I took the last one in the vet’s office, just before we said goodbye. I don’t normally do that… but for some reason, I just felt like doing it. I’ll keep it private, because I don’t want people to remember him in that way. He was a majestic dog with a larger than life presence. We were blessed to know him.

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The first wine stand of 2023!

Earlier this week, Bill noticed the wine stand sign was up, advertising the return of our village’s reliable club fundraisers. I was excited to hear that the spring ritual was commencing because that means better weather is on its way. Breckenheim has impressed us a lot since we moved here at the end of November 2018. People are friendly, and there are a lot of community events.

Last fall, we finally got a weekly market, which has proven to be very popular. It went off so well that it continued even through the winter. Every Thursday, local fresh food vendors sell their products in our Dorfplatz. The wine kiosk is open, and someone usually cooks brats on the grill. However, the market only goes from 1pm until 6pm, so that makes it hard to go shop unless Bill gets home early.

The wine stands are different, as they are only about wine and socializing. Sometimes, there’s live entertainment, too. Last night’s wine stand was hosted by the local tennis club. Seems to me the last time they hosted, they also had a singing group. I remember it well, because it was during the summer and, because they were putting in the new public restroom, the stand was held in the parking area of the Rathaus/elementary school. That’s even closer to where we live than the Dorfplatz is. I also remember that particular wine stand because I got COVID-19 right after we attended.

I shared a couple of photos with the wine group I run on Facebook. A lady who lives down in Stuttgart asked about the wine stand, and I had to break it to her that I’ve never seen wine stands in Stuttgart or its environs. That area is more about beer, although they do have wineries in the Stuttgart area and their own wine culture. But Wiesbaden and the surrounding area is in the heart of the Rheingau, which is Germany’s wine country.

Stuttgart does have some other fun traditions, though, like pop up “Besen” (Swabian word for “broom”) restaurants. If that’s a Germany wide tradition, I have yet to run across it in the Wiesbaden area. But then, I don’t hang out in the local Facebook groups up here.

Anyway, last night’s wine stand was fun, albeit a bit chilly, and mostly uneventful… I did get some photos, and when we came home 90 minutes later, Arran gave us an enthusiastic welcome. Our old guy still has a big tumor on his side– I had thought it was a lymph node, but the vet says she thinks it’s a tumor. He seems a little more tired lately, too. But he’s still with us, and wanting to do all he can for as long as he has left.

I will spend the next week home alone, as Bill has another business trip this week and part of next week. Good vibes, please, that Arran hangs in there until the business trips stop for March. He had a treatment this week and will get one next week.

He’s sticking around for as long as he can.

Today, we have plans to go to a wine “messe” in Hofheim. If we actually make it, I’ll be writing a new post tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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