Sunday, September 14, 2014
This morning there was a lovely breeze blowing here in North Kurdistan and I lay in the hammock, working on a short story that has been percolating for a few days. I tend to drift away into a little world of my own, and memories of things unconnected to the story often rise up in the mist... Today I remembered Marle´s melody. Marle is my 2.5 year old granddaughter and Magdalena and Jannik´s daughter. Lena (organic farmer, naturopath and Greenpeace banner seamstress) is my oldest daughter.
Magdalena and Marle, Spring 2012
Alvina, one of Lena´s goats.
Then comes Laura, my second girl (nurse turned party organizer, part-time photographer´s model and cake designer)
Laura in the sand dunes.
A wedding cake Laura made last year.
and last, but not least Hannah, my youngest (potter in training, singer/songwriter and maker of structures).
Hannah at a festival One of the shell ornaments Hannah decorated my garden shed with.
When Lena was pregnant with Marle, Hannah wrote her a wordless lullaby to sing to her unborn child. She sung it sometimes in the evenings, when the baby was kicking into high gear and she wanted it to know that it was cherished and safe. Two days after Marle was born, DH and I travelled up to Lüneburg to see them and Lena hummed the lullaby to Marle who was lying on her chest. This tiny child looked up at her mother and a look of deep trust passed across her face before she calmly fell asleep. It was a moment of magical love.
Lena often sang the tune to her as a small baby, rocking her in the hanging cradle or carrying her on her back while working in the kitchen garden.
Even now, if Marle is upset, has hurt herself or has trouble dropping off to sleep, Lena sings her the little melody while stroking her cheek, and it seems to never fail to soothe them both.
Last month when I visited them on the farm, we sat on the grass drinking peppermint tea and I heard this little voice coming from the hammock - Marle warbling her song to tell herself that all was right with the world!
Friday, August 01, 2014
Hi, All You Brave Sparkies!
In the early morning or early evening I often cycle down along the river to a lovely playground on an embankment. It has been newly renovated and an adult corner is now installed with an outdoor elliptical, a hip and waist trimmer and a disc on a pole for arm and shoulder work. While on the elliptical I tend to look over towards the weir and watch other people passing by.
May I introduce my favorites?
The elegant couple:
They are tall and fine boned and they both walk with poles and have strong walking shoes. She always wears a dress with a fitting top and flared skirt usually in some shade of red - she sports a swishy grey pony tail. He is attired in a crisp white shirt and white jeans with a panama hat sitting firmly on his pepper ´n´ salt head. They move effortlessly like well tuned engines – in the motor world he would be a stylish cream Mercedes with a pagoda hardtop and she would be a delicious red Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
The man who never gives up:
He is in his early eighties and is very thin and fragile. He also walks with poles but moves very slowly and deliberately, his faded blue tracksuited frame bent slightly forward. He comes into the playground, carefully props his poles against a tree trunk and works out on the disc. He grips the two knobs and rotates the disc in slow motion, first to the left and then to the right, whistling softly. Automobile-wise he would definitely be a pale blue vintage Austin pick-up truck.
The hound dog runners:
Imagine three young ladies – lithesome and long-limbed, dressed from top to bottom in professional black sports-wear. They appear like a vision out of the mist behind the weir, running their dogs at high speed. The blond has a golden retriever, the brunette a black and white border collie and the redhead is followed closely by her russet setter. In terms of cars, I think they would be a yellow Chevrolet Super Sport Roadster, a black Aston Martin Vanquish and a crimson Ferrari 360 Spider.
Candy Floss Lady:
She is well past 60, has bouncy grey curls and a soft luscious body. She runs until she nearly drops, but is determined to enjoy every moment along the way. Her feet are clad in fuchsia trainers and she wears a cerise top to match her vermilion Capri bottoms and rose-colored retro shades. She is never without her oversize shocking pink earphones and she cheerfully waves and high-fives the air when she sees me, all decked out in turquoise, on the elliptical. She would have to be a Passionate Pink 1968 Mustang.
And which car would I be? I like to think of myself as a dark green Mini Cooper with 150,000 miles on the mileage counter, some worn velvet cushions on the back seat, but still going strong.
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Hi all you brave Sparkies,
living in Germany, I tend to use metric measurements for everything, which means I view weight loss or gain in kilos. As I am a slow loser but a fast gainer, I am constantly breaking the scales down into 100 gram increments (I think in terms of bars of Swiss chocolate...).
I started out at 68kg and my goal weight was 58kg. I got down to 58kg in April 2013 but re-gained 3 kgs by late Spring of this year - stress at work, too many celebration buffets, and an op on my achilles tendon zapped my motivation for a while.
Today for a change, I worked out my weight loss in pounds instead of kilos because I am raking around for facts and figures to motivate myself. This morning I weighed 132 lbs and have achieved a weight loss of 18 lbs. To get back to my goal weight I "only" have to lose another 4 lbs - I say "only" because I tend to lose and gain the same 2-3 lbs every couple of months.... At the moment I am firing up my desire to break through this invisible barrier and to reach my destination again.
With this in mind I joined the Emma Nutt Challenge in the "At goal or maintaining Team" here at SparkPeople a fortnight ago - the idea is to pinpoint a center-weight (in my case 60kg) and to not deviate more that 3% up or down from that for the next nine weeks. Of course if someone loses more that 3%, they won´t be among the winners, but that would be fine in my case as I am currently not at my goal weight! Being part of this challenge is definitely keeping my hands out of the cookie jar and motivates me to move more often and to try out new things.
This week I jumped on a trampoline for the first time in 40 years, tried out an outdoor elliptical trainer and trimmed my waistline on a piece of equipment where you sit on a disk and rotate at the waist. I also went for some lovely rides on Bella my Dutch bike.
Hope everyone is doing fine and finding new ways to stay motivated too!
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
I was away in Kurdistan for a fortnight recently and in spite of all the wonderful fruit and veg on offer,
I did succumb to more than my share of the local flat bread - the little bakeries use wood-burning ovens and the thinly rolled-out bread is thrown onto the sides of the adobe walls until it is baked - it looks, smells and tastes wonderful! But after all is said and done, unfortunately it is plain pure white bread.
Hard working bakers in Urfa
A baker`s supply of wood stored nearby....
So hot and crispy ......
On the exercise side of things we walked a lot most afternoons and in the morning I did a bit of gardening and some stretching and gymnastics so I kept on track there, thank goodness ....
At the end of the fortnight I looked and felt bloated and very flabby around my midriff. Anyhow, when I got back to Bremen I didnt dare go near the scales until I had cut out all bread and cookies for the last four days. This morning I looked hard in the full length mirror and saw that my arms and legs look more toned and tanned than before the holiday and that my blobby, wobbly tum was just its usual lumpy self. So I pulled myself together and hopped on the scales - and "Ta Da" - (drums rolling etc. please) - I had lost half a pound instead of the dreaded, imagined gain of a couple of kilos! Sometimes it is all in the eye of the beholder!
Just now my hubby (who is still in Kurdistan) gave my a Skype call to say he has discovered a local bakery that uses whole wheat flour in its flat bread dough - well now, it looks like that little problem is solved for my next trip!
Sunday, April 13, 2014
On our latest travels to North Kurdistan we went for a day to see the sights of Urfa. We got caught in a sandstorm blowing in from the east in the late afternoon, but managed to see most of the highlights! This is part of the waterways set out near Nimrod´s fortress Many pilgrims from the Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths come to Urfa as it is one of the cities where Abraham may have been born. The temperature was already about 28 degrees celcius and in summer 45-50 degrees is the norm!
We cooled our steaming feet at one of the shady tea-gardens beside the ornamental ponds full of sacred carp and watched all the fascinating people walking by.... Afterwards we explored the bazaar which has been in existence for hundreds of years - Urfa was an important oasis along the Silk Road where trading caravans rested and got new supplies. The region is famous in the Near East for it´s red hot paprika!
After a delicious lunch of salads, spicy beans, flat bread and yogurt we climbed up to the moat at the foot of Nimrod´s fortress .... Then we sat for a while in the gardens and watched a group of Kurdish villagers decked out in their finery having their photo taken. On the way home we went to "Gold", a shop specializing in sweetmeats made of nuts, raisins, grape-molasses and coconut - mouth-watering to say the least, but after 20,000 steps on my tracker we had earned a little treat!
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