Thursday, July 30, 2009

gelato makes everything better

The only good thing about the immunizations is stopping for gelato / sorbet afterwards at Lorenzo Corno's. Today, he even had cheesecake gelato, which is perfect timing since it's National Cheesecake Day (at least in the US).

This time I was proud to not have any 'kreislauf' (circulation) issues or near fainting spells, although my arms certainly weren't this sore last time.

One more visit to the doctor's and then we'll be on our way!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

sunny road

Emilíana Torrini had a song a while back that I loved called 'Sunny Road' (great CD packaging, by the way).

Right now her newest single 'Jungle Drum' is really popular here in Germany. I especially love when Stefan sings it to me. We both end up in fits of laughter. I was surprised to find she's not really popular in the US (yet).

I really like her whimsical music, but I also have a slight bit of envy that she's Icelandic. Don't you also think she looks a little like Amy Sedaris?

She will be playing here in Munich at the Muffathalle on October 4th, for only 30€...but we'll be in a faraway land by that point.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Stefan and I have been anxiously awaiting blueberry season and finally it's here. Fortunately we also had the weather on our side, for once, and were able to go bright and early to pick some blueberries.

The fields seem to go and on - and there are certainly plenty of berries to be picked. We did our best to help with that, which is really rather effortless.

Stefan beat me in filling up his bowl since I was taking photos here and there and trying to avoid the random spider web. There were several small children who were also picking berries and they were having such a great time. It was so sweet.

Once again we probably picked too many (8 Lbs / 4 Kilos!), but they never go to waste at our house. I'm already considering all of the options of what I can make with them.

We had some for lunch and I was excited to also try our new ceramic knife. It's very sharp and cuts the most delicate slices, plus it never needs sharpening. Another interesting effect from using ceramic knives is that fruit doesn't oxidize as quickly.

If you live in Munich you can check out nearby fields that offer blueberry picking. (There are also locations for Strawberries and Raspberries as well).

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Blumen zum Selberschneiden

When I first came to Germany I was surprised to see so many fields of flowers. Even better is that you can deposit change in a box and pick your own flowers. I was delighted that people here were so honest and that the bright colors on the landscape were so striking.

I still get happy when I see these fields. Often they have gladiolus and an array of other beautiful blooms like ranunculus and sunflowers.

Here are a few photos from today. The storm clouds were starting to roll through, so there wasn't too much time to spend outside. Tomorrow should be a bit better.

At least there was a little bit of time for people to pick some flowers and brighten up their homes during this never ending rainy summer.

Friday, July 24, 2009

subway dress

My love of subways is no secret. I squealed with delight when I saw this Subway dress by Christian Francis Roth. It's based off the iconic 1970's Massimo Vignelli map and I think it's just absolutely adorable... a bit short, but adorable.

The unfortunate matter is that I'm going to be traveling. I can't exactly order it and have no idea if it fits. It's so tragic because I have the perfect place to wear it.

EDIT: I got the dress! Now I just hope it's the right size (as in I don't lose much weight traveling for 4 months) and that the weather cooperates. You'll see some pictures here around December / January at our special event. Thanks WendyB for the tip!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Geimpft (immunized)

Today we got our first of three rounds of vaccinations at the University. It's nice that they have a special clinic that deals especially with immunizations that are needed for travel.

The Fit for Travel website is also very useful - for both English and German speakers, as is the Center for Disease Control for up to date country specific information.

Something that I really love here in Germany is that they have a yellow passbook that holds all of their immunization records.

Stefan just filled his up, so we both got a new one. His has all of the shots he's been given from the day he was born until now.

I had to tell the doctor my last shots were in 8th grade, which earned me a bit of a scolding. We were both behind on our boosters, however we'll be nearly caught up by the time we leave in September- at least with the most important ones.

Unfortunately I have a history of passing out from shots and I could feel it coming on, so the doctor prepared a drink to get my blood pressure back up which seemed to do the trick.

Mothers also get a book while they are pregnant that they always carry and contains their health records. As the Germans would say, 'wirklich praktisch' (really practical). It certainly does make life easier.

Insurance here has claimed they will pay for all of our vaccinations, which would be very nice considering we went for round one and easily spent over 500€ just today.

After I was having blood pressure issues the doctor laughed as told us he had another women who went to pay and they told her how much she owed that she passed out (also due to low blood pressure).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

maps + map tacks

Part of the fun of a trip is the suspense before hand. Then again it gets slightly overwhelming knowing that we are leaving only 2 months from today and have quite a few necessities to take care of.

This weekend we stopped at Kaut-Bullinger, a stationery shop here in Munich, to pick up some map tacks. I'm a visual person, so it helps to mark where we've been and where we are heading.

Every time we think we have our route figured out we seem to change something. Now it appears Star Alliance has changed things. Fortunately their new website is much more user friendly, although curiously the price for our itinerary is now higher - by 400€. Thankfully we already have our quote reserved, so we can use that extra money for other things. Our last changes are going into effect and we'll be booking our tickets this week!!

We're thinking that we might keep our route a secret, although I will say that we will be visiting many of our dream destinations.

If you really enjoy maps and need specialty markers, check out Map Center. I'm already thinking of the myriad of uses for the large assortment they have.

In other map related news, I just illustrated some maps for a historical fiction book that will soon be for sale. I am very excited about that too.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


This month is national ice cream month in the US and the third Sunday is national ice cream day (today).

I think my search for the best sorbet/gelato in Munich may be coming to a close. A while back I stopped at Lorenzo Corno's on Hohenzollernstraße (right near Fredriechstraße) in Schwabing. I was excited to see lemon basil sorbet and then, between his 'pregos' and 'grazies', the sweet little Italian man asked if I would like to try something else.

After I declined he decided to give me a sample of the red fruit. Isn't that charming? Unfortunately I can only share it through my quintessential photo. I've since also had the dark chocolate, which is extremely rich and equally as delicious. I kind of can't stop thinking about it (isn't the 'cone' dish wonderful too?).

My love for ice cream is well noted (just click here to read more about that), so I was also extremely excited after purchasing an ice cream maker.

Sadly, and I am really a bit embarrassed to admit this, but my adorable red refrigerator finally has a fault. I knew full and well that you have to freeze the interior, however I didn't consider the fact my freezer space isn't that big and that it wouldn't fit.

It's a good thing after all that I can pay Lorenzo's a few visits now and then.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

animal crackers

I saw these cookie cutters and instantly loved them. Unfortunately they were only available at Williams Sonoma in the US.

My ever loving sister picked them up for me and I finally got to try them out. I made traditional animal crackers, which were another first for Stefan. My next mission will be making some that are savory.

The results are absolutely adorable.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Salzburg in the summer

We have had a dreadfully rainy summer here.

Even so, it's still nice to accompany tourists on their first visit to Salzburg. The city doesn't miss a beat, even when the weather isn't exactly cooperating.

Here are a few details from my most recent trips:

The cathedral is finally finished its facelift and the scaffolding is gone. The printed ads for the radio or of scantily clad women in swimsuits have made way for a refurbished 17th century Baroque façade and the angels crowning the Virgin Mary are once again visible.

Others are still searching for peace. There was an Iranian demonstration that brought tears to my eyes. Seeing the images of Neda Agha-Soltan and simply knowing how many people have been displaced breaks my heart. There's so much violence and struggle for the freedoms that many take for granted.

Fortunately there are small details that offer a bit of hope from the evils people put upon each other. Jaume Plensa has an interesting piece of work in the Residenz courtyard, which is aptly titled 'We'. You may be familiar with his Crown Fountain at the Millennium Park in Chicago.

'We' is made from powder coated steel and has letters and characters from various languages, which he says create building blocks for words and thoughts. I always appreciate how art can often transcend things that language barriers cannot.

I think this piece of work would have been better appreciated in a large open area, where many people would be sure to see it.

At the Residenzplatz were the ever present horses waiting to work. Horses always remind me of Austria, probably because they are present both in Salzburg and, of course, at the Spanish riding school in Vienna.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Last week I paid a visit to the US Consulate to get pages added to my passport. I'll take it as a good sign that I am running out of space and that our trip is quickly approaching. The consulate is such an interesting place. Believe it or not there weren't too many Americans there. The waiting room was filled with nervous energy of people who wanted visas to enter America for various reasons.

I eavesdropped on the conversation of two young German women as they discussed their interviews. While I know getting a visa into the US is no walk in the park, the interview was a lot of nervousness for nothing, which I realized after also overhearing that. Both of the women were going to work as au pairs. I could sense the excitement and only hope their fascination with America didn't quickly end with whiney over indulged kids. I'd really love to know what aspects of American culture will shock and intrigue them.

Of course no trip to the consulate is complete without checking out the nearby Eisbach surfers.

Soon I too will be waiting for visas for various countries. I also have a bit of nervous energy and excitement in not knowing what we will encounter.

I've been researching the different visa requirements for Germans and Americans to enter various countries. Next is getting to the doctor's office for the numerous vaccines we'll need. Hopefully we can finalize our route within the next week or two. We know where we'd like to go - both dates and routes, but we need the go ahead from the airlines. These are the somewhat straight forward issues.

I'm trying, in every way possible, to be educated on a variety of situations. For some reason I cannot stop watching 'I Shouldn't be Alive' on the Discovery channel. I'm sure there is a part of me that thinks if I were to end up in a situation like this, I want to know how people made it out.

Just the other night I was lying in bed and said to Stefan, "You know what else I should pack for our trip? A belt, because it could be used as a tourniquet if need be." There's nothing worse than not being prepared - although I hope there never is a need for a tourniquet or learning about another country's medical system.

Monday, July 6, 2009

SOUR '日々の音色 (Hibi no neiro)'

Mary Beth posted about this amazing video and I am just bewildered at the creativity and ingenuity behind it.

(video from Sour, via Mary Beth, via booooooom)

Oh how I can't wait to get to Japan in just a few short months on our around the world adventure. I'll update more about that soon!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Independence Day

Our day began with American spirit - both in clothing and in shopping.

We stopped at IKEA so I could get a frame for my new letterpress print, which is simple and inspiring.

I came prepared for their ice cream and brought my red, white, and blue sprinkles along to spruce things up. I can't think of a better breakfast.

At the grocery I needed to pick up a few last minute things for the weekend and I was beyond excited to find corn on the cob, which seems to be a rarity here.

Stefan kept commenting how delicious it was and I had to remind myself that there are quite a few foods that we both associate with family events or holidays that are entirely new and foreign to each other.

It's still unbelievable to me that he'd never had corn on the cob before.

Lunch, dinner, and left overs were, and still are, plenty. In addition to the corn on the cob, I made: baked potato salad, deviled eggs, fruit salad, wasabi crusted tuna, and an oreo dessert.

It was nice to talk to family celebrating at my Grandma's house. She sure was being the jokester and answered the phone saying, "city morgue, you stab `em we slab `em" as she hysterically laughed. It's good to see she was having such a great time and her sense of humor is alive and well.

Between serenading me with various patriotic songs, Stefan asked if people exchange gifts on the 4th. I gave him my smarmy response - the best gift of all, time together.

Hopefully your 4th of July was wonderful as well, even if you weren't celebrating the American way.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

233rd 4th of July

Happy 4th of July!

The United States seems so incredibly young, which I guess is due to the fact that it is.

Thanksgiving and the 4th of July are two holidays that always make me homesick. I think it's the American spirit, gatherings, and the non-exclusive nature of the two. They both just seem so uniting and celebratory.

This is a photo I took a while back, at a county fair in Ohio, that my roommate took me to. I loved walking through the barn and seeing the animals. All of the farmers were very proud of their livestock and there was a great feeling of community. The glowing light just seems like a ray of hope and the flags are the sweetest little detail that give it the ultra Americana vibe.

Tomorrow I'll post more about how we spent our day.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Preparing for the 4th

The Fourth of July is right around the corner and I am really excited. This year it even falls on a Saturday, which makes the festivities even better.

I'm still debating on what foods I will be making, because I love an excuse for a cook out and feeling a connection to home. Fortunately while I was in Ohio I was able to buy some of my favorite sprinkles and now I just need to decide on a menu.

I'd love if I could get out to pick some blueberries and enjoy some fresh summer foods.

What are your favorite things to eat on the 4th of July?