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Noyzi makes even more friends at the wine stand!

Here’s another quick post about Noyzi’s progress becoming more socialized. Since we lost Arran last month, Noyzi has become more insistent about coming with us when there are Friday night wine stands. I don’t know how he does it, but he always seems to know when it’s a wine stand versus us going out somewhere.

We were a little late getting there last night, because Bill is involved in a big project at work and was later getting home. Consequently, we ended up sitting on the other side of the Dorfplatz, on a bench, instead of at a table. That turned out to be a good thing, as we met another one of our neighbors for the first time. She lives in an old house right by the Dorfplatz and works at the local Kita (kindergarten). One of her students came up and gave her a hug while we chatted.

It turned out she has a dog, too. His name is Billy, and he was once an Italian truffle hunting dog. When he got too old to hunt, his former owners gave him away, and she wound up adopting him. She later brought him out, and he and Noyzi got along great.

Our next door neighbor was also at the wine stand, and she went to get Tommi, her labrador. Meanwhile, between dog company sessions, Noyzi met some of the attendees, many of whom were curious about him. More than one person asked if we’d had his tail docked. I was able to tell them that he was born with a bobbed tail. We had his DNA tested by Embark and the results indicated that he was born with a short tail.

Some of Noyzi’s DNA results. Regarding his little tail, he was “born that way”. I can also confirm that he sheds a LOT.

Most of the people we talked to were really nice. We did meet one fellow American who was a veteran and had married a local. When he found out Bill is a contractor, he seemed to get kind of bitter. He mentioned that contractors and government civilians are hired in the States and brought over to Germany. I sensed that he was kind of upset about that. However, Bill’s company does hire people locally, if they have skills they can use. They might not get the same local benefits or access to facilities that States based hires get, because they are local residents. But, if the company can use their skills, they will pay them a salary that is adjusted for the local tax rate. I don’t know the guy at all, or what his skills are, but it’s my guess that he might simply be unqualified for the jobs available on the US military installations here. That’s not our fault, and not really a valid reason to be pissy toward us.

As he broke off the conversation, he noticed that Noyzi is neutered and said, “Poor guy.” Well… that’s something else we had nothing to do with, as he was neutered before we adopted him. I thought that was kind of a strange comment to make. It’s true that a lot of locals don’t get their animals “fixed”, but Germany generally has much less of a problem with stray dogs than the United States does. Personally, I kind of agree that it would be better to do vasectomies or ovary sparing surgeries on animals than simply removing their sex parts. Those surgeries can be done. But they aren’t popular yet, so they aren’t widely known or done at this point in time.

At least the guy’s wife was really nice to us. She was enchanted by Noyzi, who was doing his best to charm everyone. Every time we take him to a wine stand, he gets more comfortable with meeting people. I’ve even noticed that he’s much less afraid of men, now. That’s a pretty awesome development. He used to be terrified of most men, even Bill.

We met another lady who had adopted a dog from Spain, but hadn’t brought her to the wine stand. Several people showed us pictures…

I think dogs are the very best social icebreakers in Germany. Recently, The Local: Germany ran an article about how to make friends in Germany and German attitudes toward English speakers. I noted that having dogs was a great way to meet and interact with locals. Many Germans LOVE dogs. However, some of them also act like they know best how to take care of them. Our neighbor has, for instance, occasionally commented about our departed beagles, Zane and Arran, barking when we weren’t home. But she also has a dog who barks. We don’t complain about him, because he’s very sweet and adorable. Noyzi loves him. But he’s not perfect, either.

Anyway, we had a good time last night, and Noyzi really obviously had fun meeting new people. It was gratifying seeing his little tail wag, and watching him happily meeting new people with increasing confidence. He really does love people. He just needs to learn that most of them love him back.

Below are some photos from yesterday. The top three are Noyzi saying good morning to me, and the rest are from the wine stand. We really enjoyed ourselves, although I woke up with quite a headache. I think I need to embrace drinking apple juice or Schorle instead of wine. ūüėČ

Bill found out his boss/co-worker/old Army buddy got a new job and will soon be moving on… It will be a sad farewell, because they work well together. But it’s also a new opportunity for both of them to work with others.

We might go out to dinner tonight. Bill had to go into work today. He has to go TDY next week, and will be gone for eight nights, I believe. I hate these work trips, but at least he has a good job, and at least this time, I don’t have to fret over Arran. And once he’s done, we can prepare for our vacation. It’s pretty much all set now. I just have to pay the bills we’ve run up so far. ūüėÄ

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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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Wine stand in the dark… and Arran burns some rubber in the house!

Last week, we changed the clocks in Germany. That means that when the wine stands start at 6:00pm, it’s already dark outside. For the past two years, the wine stands weren’t happening, anyway, due to COVID-19. In 2019, I seem to remember that the stands ended at the end of October. Since the weather is milder these days, I guess they decided to keep them going.

Bill and I went last night, noticing that there weren’t as many people attending. There was also rain yesterday afternoon, so most of the benches and tables were wet. Still, it wasn’t super cold outside, and going to the wine stand gave me the chance to wear my new NOVICA alpaca sweater. It’s a lovely dark greenish blue, and it fits very well, but it’s not the kind of thing I can comfortably wear when there isn’t a chill in the air. I didn’t even need a jacket last night, because the sweater was plenty warm!

We had a few glasses of local wine and enjoyed seeing some people. We even ate at the wine stand… Currywurst for Bill, and Brat with Brotchen for me. I didn’t like the mustard, though. It was a little too strong and bitter. Fortunately, it wasn’t as strong as Russian mustard, which will clean out your sinuses. I had neighbors in Armenia who took great delight in watching me react to Russian mustard. That stuff is nuclear!

Below are a few photos from last night, as well as a video of Arran and Noyzi, who were VERY happy to see us come home afterwards. Y’all can see how Arran is handling his chemo… basically, like a champion. He was loving Bill like old times last night. The first two photos of the first gallery are from a walk I took with the dogs the other day. I was enchanted by the bright purple berries and our own Klingenbach, which is full of water now. It’s crazy how fast droughts improve once summer ends. My hair matches the berries. Bill and I took advantage of the festive ambiance to get new photos. I’m not wearing makeup. The older I get, the more I look like a fat blonde version of my sister, Becky.

Arran was feeling fine last night! He’s such a scrapper!

Noyzi was very happy to see Bill. They’re finally buddies!

I’m not sure what we’ll do today. There’s an art exhibition going on in our neighborhood featuring art by local artists. We might visit that, especially since it’s free and close to home. Maybe we’ll go out to dinner, too, since we haven’t done that in ages… Bill is still recovering a bit from COVID– just annoying gunk and coughing. I, on the other hand, got a reminder last night that I’m not yet menopausal. SIGH…

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Friendly community relations!

This has been an unusually busy week in our little town of Breckenheim– as opposed to Bethlehem… ūüėČ Thursday, we had our weekly market, and Bill picked up some sliced cold cuts for me. We had a little wine and came home about 45 minutes later. Arran and Noyzi were delighted to see us.

Arran is still doing okay. We found out his lymphoma is B cell, which is the milder type. And because it’s B cell, and he seems to want to live, we’re hopefully going to get him on canine chemotherapy before it’s too late.

Last night, we had our wine stand, which happens every other Friday. We spent an hour there, too, enjoying the convivial atmosphere of our neighborhood. I swear, this is probably the most social neighborhood we’ve ever lived in, outside of college. I like to see everybody hanging out and having fun.

Tonight, we’re going to a whisky/whiskey tasting. Maybe I should spell it with the “e”, since I believe the whiskeys are from Ireland, rather than Scotland. That is taking place in the local church’s Gemeindehaus (I think that’s what it’s called). There will be food and music, and lots of talk in German. ūüėČ

Today, we’re also planning to go to Wiesbaden and pick up our new eyewear. New glasses lenses for Bill, and new multi-focal lenses for me. I look forward to being able to read things with corrected vision again. My next purchase for my eyes will probably be bifocals.

I got some photos from the last couple of nights. They aren’t super exciting, but they offer a glimpse of what life is like where I live. The first eight photos are from Thursday night. We didn’t buy a lot, because I will be home alone all week. Bill is going on a business trip. The rest are from the wine stand last night, hosted by the local Volleyball Club. I did hear one guy sound excited last night when he saw that they were serving Spundek√§s. I think they ran out, because not an hour later, I saw people eating the pretzels with some kind of white substance. Maybe it was quark? I don’t know.

One lady came up and asked if there was room at our table. We said yes, so she exclaimed “Endlich!” and her family sat with us. She reminded me of the lady who used to sit with me at church when I was growing up. Her husband was in the choir, with my dad. My mom was always playing organ, either at our church, or somewhere else.

I probably shouldn’t go to the whiskey tasting, but what the hell… My liver can recover while Bill is away.

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We stumbled upon a wine stand in Hochheim…

Because I run a food and wine group on Facebook, I often find wine fests, food fests, and other food and drink related stuff, which I share with people in my group. Last weekend, we went to Limburg, which we might not have done if not for that group and my realization that having it encourages me to go out and see Germany instead of sitting on my can at home. I was kind of hoping for a similar discovery today, as there are two wine fests going on that I know of, and probably more if I were to do a deep dive into the calendars of communities around us.

I knew that a couple of the wine fests looked like they would be open at 5:00, since that’s when they opened last night. However, this was not stated on Facebook, nor was it the rule last weekend. So Bill and I decided we’d go to nearby Fl√∂rsheim’s wine stand, mainly because it’s super close to us, but also because we had never been there before. I decided that because we’d never been to Fl√∂rsheim, I was curious to see if it was “cute”, especially since it’s on the Main River. Maybe we missed the cute part of town, but to me it looked boring and suburban, and aside from a few interesting looking churches, I saw no reason to hang out there, especially today. The weather today is PERFECT… almost no clouds, and about 77 degrees, with a pleasant breeze.

We ended up driving past where the fest was to be… and clearly later in the day, probably in about a half hour as I write this, they will open up and people can sit at a table overlooking beautiful vineyards and sip wines from the region. But we decided that it wasn’t absolutely imperative that we go to a wine fest, so we ended up in very cute Hochheim, which is a town just a few miles from where we live. We went there in late 2018, when Bill first arrived in Wiesbaden. His boss at the time lived in Hochheim, and had arranged a wine tasting and holiday dinner. The boss has since moved on, but the town is still adorable, as evidenced by today’s photos. We need to spend more time in adorable Hochheim, especially when they have wine stands. We stumbled on one today! Below are a few random shots of Fl√∂rsheim that I took from th

When I think of Fl√∂rsheim, I think of shoes. In the USA, that was a brand name of shoes, especially in the 70s and 80s. Google says Florsheim (no umlaut) is still around. I don’t know if there is a connection. If there is, I saw no obvious evidence of it.

Anyway, we went through Hochheim on our way home, and noticed there was a wine stand going on, so we decided to stop, walk around a bit, and later, try some wine… And now I know that we need to visit this town more often, since it’s very close to us, super cute, and full of wine tasting opportunities. Seriously… where has Hochheim been all my life? See below to see how cute the town is.

We spent probably a good 90 minutes or so, quaffing whatever. Bill was good, and had a schorle (wine and sparkling mineral water) and a glass of grape juice with sparkling water. I, on the other hand, decided to abuse my liver. I tried a lot of what they had. We left when it was getting closer to 4:00pm. The dogs needed to be fed, and it looked like things were winding down. Several people brought their dogs, and it was just a really pleasant day.

I got the sense that the people at the wine stand were locals who knew each other. I enjoyed how the biker ladies, all in matching t shirts, welcomed one later joiner. It was all fun, convivial, and I felt very safe and welcome there. Once again, I thanked Bill for bringing me to Germany to live. It really is a nice place to be, especially these days.

The Limoncello Spritz, by the way, is easy to make. One part limoncello, one part Sekt, finish with sparkling water, and rub lemon on the rim of the glass. Garnish with lemon. It was even served with ice, which is a rare thing here. Very nice!

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Who are the people in our neighborhood? Last night’s wine stand helped us find out more…

Although there were heavy clouds in the sky last night, and the air was decidedly muggy, Bill and I decided to attend last night’s wine stand in Breckenheim. It was the first one we’d been to in awhile, since the last one was scheduled due to dangerous weather, and the time before that, I didn’t feel like getting dressed. But we usually do like to attend the wine stands, because they are held for good causes– fundraisers for various local clubs, who host them. Also, it’s often a fun chance to meet new people who live in our little suburban burg.

Our local town square (the Dorfplatz) is usually where the wine stands are held. However, the stand was held at the town hall, because the square is currently undergoing renovation. They’re putting in a public toilet. I understand the toilet idea isn’t particularly popular, especially since the Dorfplatz has only existed for a short while– by German standards, anyway– and there’s a fountain that was only put in about ten years ago that might need to be removed. Prior to its becoming a Dorfplatz, the area was a parking lot.

I guess the toilet will be a good thing, though, since it will allow people at the wine stands to stay longer, rather than either going home, or using the toilets at the Rathaus. Also, there’s been talk about starting a weekly farmer’s market, which I’m pretty psyched about. I hope that happens before we have to move again.

Anyway, because a large portion of the square has been cordoned off for the construction of the toilets, the wine stand has been moved, and that’s a good thing for us, because we live even closer to the town hall than we do the Dorfplatz. So, even though Noyzi and Arran protested loudly, Bill and I walked down the street to have a couple of glasses of wine. It started to sprinkle, but we decided to let the locals have the tables under the shelter.

After about ten or fifteen minutes of sipping Riesling and telling jokes, we met two Americans who live very close to us… Actually, they live even closer to the town hall than we do, since their house is just behind the parsonage for the church. They heard our American accents and came over to introduce themselves. It turns out that the two women have two kids, and they’re living here as ordinary residents. I was really fascinated, as one did have ties to the military, but is in the Reserves and drills back in the States. The other is a lawyer and a pastor! She told us the combination isn’t as unusual as one might think! Right now, she works as a pastor, but will soon start a new job as an American lawyer for a bank. I’m assuming it’s an American bank with a branch nearby, but I didn’t ask about the details.

They told us about the process of getting new German driver’s licenses, and what is required for that. Unfortunately, they didn’t come from a state where they could simply exchange licenses. Some US states do have a reciprocity agreement with Germany. Texas is one of those states. And their kids go to the local schools, one of which is within sight of our house. Both speak German, too, even to their kids.

We really enjoyed talking to them… I do hope I didn’t come off as too forward, though. Not everyone knows what to make of me, especially when I’ve been socially distanced for two years. But I thought they were a nice couple, and I’m sure we’ll see them around.

We won’t be at the next wine stand, which will also be held at the Rathaus, because it will take place just before my 50th birthday. Bill has plans to whisk me off to Antwerp, Belgium for the weekend. I look forward to it, since I love Belgium. There’s great beer, delicious frites, exquisite chocolates, and dirty humor… Any place where one of the country’s symbols is a little boy peeing is alright with me. ūüėČ

Here are a few random photos from last night’s activities!

I think we’ll go out for awhile today… See if we can find anything fun to do.

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When the village comes together for WINE!

A few days ago, I noticed someone in our local Facebook group had posted that there would be a wine stand this week. I immediately told Bill, who was delighted by the news. He loves going to the wine stands. I like them, too. Our village used to have them every other week in the warmer months as a fundraiser for local clubs. But then we had COVID-19 to deal with, and for over a year, there were no wine stands. We did have one last fall at the very end of the season, but COVID restrictions were still pretty heavy at that time. They are now loosening somewhat, even though a lot of people in Germany are still getting the virus. We were supposed to have “freedom day” last weekend, but Hesse and a number of other states have decided to prolong the measures until at least April 2. Last night’s shindig was delightfully rule free. No one was checking for vaccines, and not many people bothered with masks. We’ll see if Bill and I get sick in the next few days (knock on wood). We stayed away from the crowded areas.

Nevertheless, we did manage to attend last night’s wine stand, in spite of Noyzi’s protests. I think he was just confused because I wore my blue Longwood sweatshirt, which I usually wear when I walk the dogs. He was insisting on trying to come with us. It’s not that he wouldn’t have been welcome, either. The wine stands are very kid and dog friendly. It’s just that he’s still so skittish around people he doesn’t know… and it’s not fun to drink wine while dealing with a restless dog his size. As for Arran, he just gets cranky when he’s around a lot of people, even though he’s friendly.

Noyzi is making some progress in the friend making department. We ran into the proprietor of the local Italian restaurant, pictured in the photos below. The guy likes dogs, and Bill later told me that he worked with a dog rescue. Noyzi could tell he was a friendly and kind man, so he let the guy pet him and even tried to engage in play with him. It was so cute! I love watching Noyzi turn into a confident, happy pooch.

Last night’s stand offered brats and lots of local wines from Hochheim am Main, located very close to Breckenheim. Everybody seemed to be in a good mood… the atmosphere was even friendlier and congenial than usual. I think it’s because the wine stands used to be so much more frequent than they are now. People were definitely ready to mingle. The sign for the stand went up early this week– earlier than usual. And, as you can see, it was well attended! We stayed for about 90 minutes or so… long enough to try all of the wines. Then we came home– it was about a five minute walk. The boys were very happy to see us.

I hope the wine stands are back to stay, even though I usually have a headache on the mornings after!

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We finally made it to another local wine stand!

Those of you who have been following this blog for awhile might remember that a couple of years ago, before the COVID-19 plague began, my currently adopted town of Breckenheim would have wine stands during the warmer months. Naturally, that tradition had to pause last year, as the threat of the coronavirus among unvaccinated people was too great. We didn’t have them for most of this year, either, and the local powers that be even dismantled the permanent kiosk that used to be set up in the Dorfplatz.

In August, the wine stands finally started again, although not with the same regularity that they were held in 2019. We had to miss the first one in August, because we were in the Black Forest visiting the dentist. ūüėČ They had another one two weeks ago, but I got sick with my cursed stomach bug and we couldn’t attend. Finally, last night, the stars aligned, and Bill and I managed to make it to the wine stand, located just down the hill from where we live.

I was wondering what the stand would be like in the COVID era. I brought my purse with me, just in case masks were required. As it turned out, they weren’t. I also thought to wear warmer shoes and a wrap, because I had a feeling it would get chilly as the sun set. Here are a few photos!